In response to COVID-19, many people are now working from home. There are some pros and cons to this transition, and some are already pretty savvy with how to make it work for them. However, if this is totally new to you, here are seven tips to help you out:
Carve out a dedicated workstation.
Find a place in your home to dedicate to work. If you don’t have a room or a place in your house that you can transition into a home office, you can block off a section of the kitchen table, although that’s really not the most ideal. Likewise, taking your laptop and sitting down on the couch in front of the TV will allow for many temptations and distractions.
You’ll want to make sure that your “home office” has all that you’ll need. You might have to get an additional landline, unless you use your mobile for all your calls or your company has provided you with one. It’s also really important to get a good chair; you need to be comfortable, but not so comfortable so that your afternoon nap turns into an hourly nap.
Block out time for work.
Your hours can be much more flexible when working from home, which can be really nice. But if you’re constantly being interrupted by family or home duties, it is going to be much more difficult to accomplish work tasks. Make sure to block out hours to work and then stick to that routine. If you need to take care of other things, like running errands or helping your kids with their online school, plan for them. Get those tasks done outside the blocks you’ve set for your work. Some people find it helpful to dress up as if going to work as well.
Get out of the house every day.
This is a simple yet very effective practice; trust me, nothing will drive you more bonkers than being at home all day, every day. Set aside a time for a walk or to sit in the sun. Make sure to take breaks and clear your head. Maybe you only need five minutes a day; maybe you need five minutes every hour. Whatever it is, plan for it and make sure you get out of that house.
Create your to-do list.
You probably already do this at the office, but since it’s so easy to get distracted at home, you need to make sure you jot down a solid checklist every day of the tasks you need to accomplish for work. Not only will that help you focus, but writing things down will help you see your day from a macro perspective, which helps if you’re feeling overwhelmed. While working at home, the last thing you need is to feel overwhelmed.
Get rid of distractions and set limits.
If you’re now working from home, it’s more than likely that the bulk of what you do can be done on a computer. You’re probably aware of the distractions the internet can provide; it’s easy to fall into the social media and entertainment trap that’s so easily accessible. It may be a good idea to “clock-in” before work and “clock-out” on breaks. It requires a lot of self-control, but if you’re determined to make working from home work for you, you’ll set those limits. If you absolutely have to check your Instagram, give yourself an allotment of time, then cut it off after the time is up.
Do not procrastinate.
Make your to-do list sacred: don’t write one up and then toss it to the side. Stick to it, and make sure to do everything on it every day. Don’t do 80 percent of it and then promise yourself you’ll make it up the next day. Don’t tell yourself you’ll do it “tonight” when all the kids are in bed. If you do that, you will create a pattern of “kicking the can down the road.” And that’s a very hard habit to break. There will be times when something urgent interrupts your work, but that’s not an excuse to let things slide for days and weeks.
Please, take good care of yourself.
Working from home takes a lot of discipline. Eat right, sleep right, and exercise. There’s always that temptation to stay up all night to hit deadlines or quotas, and while you have to sometimes, you need to find balance as well. Yes, work is important, but when you’re working from home, it’s easy to run yourself ragged.
In short, working from home can be hard if you’re not used to it, but only if you let it be. It’s up to you to make the best out of this transition.