WORKING FROM HOME – EFFECTIVELY

Whether you are an entrepreneur, your company allows you to work remotely, or you’ve had no choice but to work from home during lockdown, more and more of us are working from home.

There are lots of positives. No stressful commutes, fewer interruptions, and often, more flexibility with less structured work hours.

But if there is one potential pitfall of working from home, it is overworking and never truly switching off from thinking about work. There’s just not the same closure of walking out of the office every evening and segueing into your home life.

So how do you keep a balance between work and “you” time?

 

  1. Work regular hours. Set a start time, a finish time and break times and try to stick to those.
  • Allow yourself a little flexibility, things can come up and let’s face it, this is one of the perks of home-working.
  • Schedule in breaks too, and make sure you take them.
  1. Establish a morning routine – this is probably one of the most important, for me anyway. If my morning routine slips, the whole day slips. I walk the dog, come back and shower, do some yoga, make a coffee, sit on the balcony and write my journal, then make another coffee and it’s time to sit down to work.
  1. Productivity: Work out when you’re most productive so you know when you’ll get most done and plan your more difficult tasks for the time of day when you know you’re in the right headspace for them.
  1. Get dressed for work. I’m not talking dresses, power suits and heels but get out of your PJs, get out of your slouchies and get into work appropriate gear. You’ll be glad of this when you get an unexpected Zoom call, you’ll always be camera ready. 
  1. Set boundaries or rules with other people in your home so that they respect your space and time during your working hours.
  1. Remove distractions and try to structure your day with blocks of time where you will be uninterrupted. 
  1. Write a realistic To-Do list and try to complete it every day. Try to avoid procrastinating and don’t carry it forward to the next day as that just leads to a daunting start with even more to do. 
  1. Eat The Frog. If you haven’t heard of this Brian Tracy book, it’s simple yet genius. If you have a row of frogs that you have to eat, then you’re best just eating the biggest, ugliest one first. Then your day can only get better. So do what you’re dreading most. Then enjoy the rest of your day.
  1. Have a dedicated work area. Not all of us are lucky enough to have a spare room we can use as an office. But work in a space that you can assign solely to work and walk away from at the end of the day. If you have to work at your kitchen table or dining table, then clear all the work away at the end of the day so that you’re not looking at it when you should be switching off. 
  1. Get fresh air. Whether it’s a walk in the morning, a bit of exercise in your lunch break or a run when you finish for the day, try to get outside, get some natural light, fresh air and breathe. 
  1. Go work in a local coffee shop and get exercise while walking there, some fresh air and a change of scenery. The background noise can simulate your normal work environment. It also removes the chance of you being distracted by any household chores. My apartment is never cleaner than when I’m procrastinating on a work task! Two hours in a coffee shop can really help get stuff done! 
  1. Get a proper chair. During lockdown, many people started working from home with little or no notice so didn’t have the chance to get the right furniture and equipment. You need a chair that provides lumbar support, preferably adjustable to fit it to support you. Many employers will provide these. And a proper monitor will save you back ache too so that you’re not crouching down over a little laptop screen. 
  1. You’re going to miss the social interaction from the workplace and it can feel isolated and lonely at times. You could use Zoom or Skype to stay connected for meetings. Working from a café occasionally can provide some human interaction, but maybe you could to arrange to meet friends more outside of work hours, exercise together or end your work day with a coffee and a chat. 
  1. Find a way to end your day so that you can switch off from work mode to home mode. 
  1. No fighting over what music to listen to. You get to choose your own music. I enjoy slower vibes for writing, funkier vibes for inspiration and sometimes I really enjoy pure silence. 
  1. If you’re anything like me, sometimes it’s difficult to get in the flow or concentration and there are so many things at home you could be doing, should be doing. My house is never cleaner than when I’m procrastinating on work I don’t like doing. I use the Pomodoro Technique to keep me focussed for short periods.
    Set a 25 minute timer.
    Work for 25 minutes, then take a 5 minute break away from your screen or work.
    Repeat this 4 times then take a longer break.
    It works!
  1. Plan your meals. I quite often find myself deciding to make a nice meal for lunch then spending a lot of time prepping, cooking and cleaning up. Prepare your meals the night before, just like you would do if you were going to the office.

18. Keep your weekends free. You need time off to recharge. You may need to work Saturdays and Sundays but try where possible to have 2 consecutive work free days to rest, reset and recharge.

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