Whether it’s running a business or just having a remote working job, people make some serious assumptions about working from home. When you tell people you work from home, they’ll tell you how easy it is and how lucky you are. You are lucky, indeed. But that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. For some, making that jump from home-to-work in the same space can be downright tricky. Whether you’re doing it for the first time or you’re finding it hard to adjust, the tips below should help you.
Have a morning routine
One of the real benefits of working from home is having a lot more time in your mornings. A lot of people don’t get a healthy morning routine because they have to rush out the door. Setting aside time to have breakfast, to have a quick run or walk, even to meditate, is important. It gives you home time to yourself, so you’re not waking up then immediately jumping into work. Some people feel like having to get up and work at home is almost invasive on their home life. Taking some quality time to yourself will help you with those feelings.
Treat every working day as a proper working day
When you first start working from home, there’s a certain novelty to being able to work in your sweatpants and a comfy robe. That novelty quickly wears off. There’s a certain spike in productivity we feel from simply getting dressed appropriately for work. Getting prepared for a proper work day also means you can take it out with you. For instance, take day working in a coffee shop for a change.
Make a real office
Designating some real, physical office space is vital. You need a desk. You need a real chair. You need some organizational materials like a notepad or a cork board. Most importantly, you need a space that doesn’t entirely feel like home. Whether you have a whole room to yourself or just a corner of a room, design it like the best office you possibly can. Keep it organized, keep it motivating. Everything in your office needs to have a place. Your office should also not have a place for any distractions. The means no kids and no TVs in there.
Comfort is a concern
An office has to be more than functional, of course. It has to be healthy and comfortable. We’re not suggesting you get on a couch. Working there for hours can be just as uncomfortable. No, we’re thinking more in terms of proper ergonomic furniture. Chairs that support your back and line your sight with the top of the computer. A desk that gives your legs room to stretch out and move around a little. A mixture of a lamp and good access for natural light are also important. Eyestrain and migraines can be a real concern for people who spend their days working at a computer screen.
Treat your office as you would any other professional space. Tidy as you work. Don’t let any clutter lie around. Spend the start of the day looking through the mail and the documents you’re accruing. File away those you will need in future. Pin up those you need now. Then shred the rest. Take the same approach to any other clutter that builds up. Clutter hurts motivation and can lead to stress. So you want it kept well out of the way through the whole day.
Make sure your tech is good to go
Your computer and the apps you have might be good for personal use, but with professional needs, that’s going to change. You might have to invest in equipment that is less prone to freezing up or having trouble running several programs at once. Similarly, you need a second look at your internet. Slower broadband options might work for the regular household. Given that you might have a family, as well as a business that demands to be online, it’s no longer enough. High Speed choices like the options at Suddenlink may soon become a necessity. Otherwise, you could be dealing with a lot of slow speeds and downtime that harms your productivity.
Establish goals every day
Your tech and office aren’t the only things affecting productivity. How you tackle the working day mentally is just as important. This is even more important if you’re running a business from home. Without someone directing you, it’s easy to slip into a lull where very little actually gets accomplished. It’s time to learn a few goal setting exercises. Instead of a to-do list, combine two different tools. A to-don’t list, for example, helps you set aside tasks that are low priority and will only take up your time. Otherwise, you should set out three Most Important Tasks every day. Don’t give yourself piles of work to tackle all at once. Take the time to prioritize.
Work to your strengths
You might have deadlines and other constraints to work around. However, on an average day, you should pay attention to when you get the most work done. Finding those most productive hours helps you focus. Set those Most Important Tasks during those hours and you’ll find them significantly easier to get done. Outside of those hours, take on some of the less important stuff you should get done.
Set some ground rules
First, make sure you have actual working hours. Don’t keep going back to check on your work and emails an hour after you’re supposed to have stopped. Second, make sure you’re actually working during those working hours. Make it clear to the family that you’re not to be disturbed during them. Make sure you take breaks during the day as well to say ‘hi’ to them. Knowing the rules and working within them is going to make it so much easier to stay focused during a working day.
Remember, while you’re at home, you are still at work. Make sure you treat it that way or you can find your days flying by with little getting done.