If there’s one thing I’ve had to force myself to get used to the past six months it’s working from home. By choice, unlike so many of us who have been affected by Corona Virus.
Working from home sounds like a luxurious holiday, doesn’t it? But when you do it, its actually really hard.
It’s hard to self motivate, it’s hard to stay committed and it’s even harder to have balance and this is something many others are going to experience over the next few weeks/months/who knows how long.
Now, there are a few perks to this work at home business. For one, if you don’t have kids (unlike me, booo), you get to wake up at whatever time you please, provided, of course, you have enough time to actually get the shit done.
Secondly, you don’t have to get dressed, pack a lunch, or go ANYWHERE AT ALL.
Besides these small, yet appealing benefits there’s a few other important points to consider that will help you be as efficient as possible.
1. Get dressed for the day
Let’s get one thing straight. One of the main perks of working form home is that you can wear anything you want. While, I wouldn’t suggest you wear your pyjamas, comfort is key; after all, it’s one of the great advantages to working from home. It’s important you get changed, wash your face, brush your teeth and do anything else you would normally do to prepare for a day in the office. This will put you in a different mindset so your body understands it’s not relax time, but in fact work time. Once I’ve done this, I pop on my Glamour Glasses and then I’m in boss mode. I find this works well and is a small differentiation between productive and non-productive, showing my family that I am working and not to be interrupted.
2. Plan of action
We’ve all heard of ‘to do lists’ and for good reason. There’s a reason we write down tasks to complete however you may have found yourself writing down every single thing you need to do, not achieving any of it and then feeling utterly defeated. I have and I’m sure I’m not alone. Instead of writing down every single thing you ever have to do to, choose a number of tasks per day and stick to it- no more than seven tasks. I’ve found it most helpful to write down my list the night before so that I'm not wasting time the morning of, trying to figure out what I need to do. A few extra tips:
- Order of importance: Write down your tasks in order of importance. If you have your own business, this is normally the tasks that actually make you money. If you’re an employee, get the hardest task over with first or alternatively anything that has a time limit. What this allows you to do is to spend the most productive time on what’s important.
- Time batching: Time batching allows you to focus on just one task at a time. You are not allowed to get distracted, not allowed to multitask, the purpose is to give your task full undivided attention in order to focus and be as productive as possible. Choose an allocated timeframe to complete the task and set a timer or use a time cube to get your task done. For example, you might allocate one hour, twice per day for emails, two hours to publish a blog or 30 minutes to respond to social media comments.
- Reward yourself: Allowing yourself to have that second coffee after you finish writing that report or having a yummy snack after finishing a meeting can work wonders on the mind for some of us. Completing bigger tasks may result in that pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing off for some time.
3. Create a dedicated work space
It’s extremely hard to remain focused, especially if we don’t have a designated work space that stops us from constantly looking around at things we need to do- “I see you over there, unfolded washing" and especially if we have young kids at home. If you’re lucky enough to have a spare room you can set up as a make-shift office, the house chores will be out of sight and out of mind, leaving your mind in work mode and not home mode.
4. Utilise your most productive work hours
I used to be a morning person. Big time. I could get so much work done in the A.M but as I’ve gotten older and perhaps the combination of kids, I find I am much more productive and my mind works so much better at night. One of the luxuries of working form home is choosing your work hours and if your workplace doesn’t mind, you may work better really early in the morning, with the rest of the day free or alternatively, really late at night with the majority of the day free. This could mean that instead of spending copious amounts of time simply trying to get your brain working, you are way more productive and get the work done quicker. Not really sure when you’re most productive? Take our quiz here.
Once you know when you want to work or when you work best set your work hours and stick to them.
5. Prepare lunch
I’ve found that when I’m working from home I sometimes spend way too much time cooking up a storm because, well, I can. As this is another perk of working from home, it’s ok to cook up a fresh lunch but, if you can, prep it beforehand or better yet, make extra dinner the night before. This will save you lost of time.
6. Don't do household chores during work hours
As mentioned above, if you can set up a makeshift office where you can't see the unfolded washing or the dishes in the sink it will work incredibly well for avoiding the need to get household chores done. If you don’t have a designated space to work form to keep it out of mind, I’ve found it extremely helpful to do a quick clean-over the night before or early morning when i’m getting the kids brekky ready.
7. Set boundaries with others
If you have a family or live with others, it’s important to let everyone know you’re working. Mum might be here, but she’s not actually here. I mean, obviously, if you’re like me and it’s only you and the kids at home, you still need to parent but if hubby is home also, it’s important to let him know that you need his help and you are actually working. For myself, if I’m at my computer and have my Glamour Glasses on, my daughter knows I’m working and in boss mode (aka. Do NOT INTERRUPT). You can try putting on a movie during this time and preparing some snacks to lessen the chance of interruption.
8. Communicate with your employer
I’m sure your workplace will give you instruction on what’s required of you when working from home but it could be important to keep up some extra communication at the end of the day detailing what you’ve completed or what you’re up to. If you’re workplace doesn’t require this, it could be a good idea to still keep your own personal record.
In times of stress like now, when gyms are closed and we aren’t leaving the house, we are vulnerable to feeling down and our mental health can be compromised. If you can do some workouts from home, that is great. I’ve found a quick meditation as short as 10 minutes per day can do wonders on my mindset. I use the Insight Timer app which has 30,000 free meditations of varying lengths and varieties. This is also great for kids- my daughter uses it both to sleep and during the day.