In the last couple of weeks we have all had our lives turned upside down. Our offices have shut down and if we were fortunate enough to have the ability to work from home, we have been sent home to perform our daily tasks. This can be an extremely difficult adjustment, but what choice do we have? It is time to learn how to have a fully productive workday from home and here are a few things that I have done and find helpful.
Set and keep regular “office hours”
When you work from home it is pretty common to work longer than you would if you were going to the office. This is why keeping a routine is helpful in keeping that work/life balance. You should be getting up and “going to work” every morning as usual, even if “going to work” means out of bed and into the next room. Then set a time of the day to “go home” for the evening.
Plan and structure your workday
Start every morning by making a to-do list for the day. Set achievable goals for yourself! Review yesterday’s list, and anything that may need more work or was not completed should move to the top of today’s list, then add to it in order to fill your day. Set a timeframe for each project. Example: 8 am review and respond to emails (35 min.)
Get out of your PJ’s and comb your hair!
It is important to still get up, shower, and dress as if you are going to work when working from home. Though it is tempting to roll out of bed and stay in your PJ’s all day, being in the habit of still dressing for the day will help your psychological mindset and you will be more productive throughout the day. The better you feel, the more productive you will be! Throwing on your favorite Alynn socks will add a little lighthearted fun to your wardrobe when you take your break and kick your feet up!
Dress for your conference call
You may think that since you are working from home it is not necessary to dress the part, but as I said above, it is so important to feel good. The best way to feel good is knowing that you look good, and how impressed would your boss or client be if you show up on that webcam with a crisp Shirt and Tie on? After all, you have a reputation to hold up. Be the guy that wants the deal so bad he shows up dressed to impress even when Social Distancing is not allowing him to be there in person.
Set aside a designated work area
Consistency is an important aspect to working from home. If you can, pick a place in your house to set up your desk, have it be the same place every day so it is like you are “just going to work”. Make sure your workspace is efficient for you, your tasks and your style. Make the space yours by surrounding yourself with things that make you happy or inspire you so you can focus and work at doing your best work.
It is very important to take breaks! Every couple hours get up, walk around, chat with the other quarantined people in the house, throw a ball with the dog, pet the cats, or play a game with the kids.. Normally it would be advised to go out to lunch with friends or family every now and then, especially if you live alone; however with current situations being as they are, if you have the need to be social during this quarantine, maybe schedule lunch with friends/family through facetime so you have the interaction you are missing.
This is by far the biggest challenge of working from home! It is easy to become distracted. There are always chores to do or shows to watch. Do your best to put off household tasks, like laundry or dishes until you are on a break or you have gone “home” for the evening, and save Netflix for when you are ready to chill. To maintain consistency and focus, avoid online distractions, limiting time spent on personal email, social media, and websites unrelated to work.
Set boundaries with others in the house or outside friends/family
During this time, the house is full so it is important to set boundaries with the family. If you have a house full, make it clear that daddy has to go to work and then during “work” you should expect from outside distractions the same as you would if you were going into the office, keeping personal calls short and sweet and limiting social medial and unrelated website breaks is important to have a productive day.
Get your daily exercise in
Now that the gyms are closed and we are not supposed to be around groups of people I suggest allotting some time to exercise from home. Go for a walk, find a yoga or aerobics YouTube channel, or hang up the clothes that are draped over that stationary bike put it back to use. Whatever it is just keep moving! This will help your mental clarity as well as your physical well-being.
Hopefully, as we navigate the new normal that we all face, some of these tips will help you to settle into your new routine and continue to have productive days. Good luck everyone! Now… Get to work!