Working from home sounds like a dream for many office goers – until you toss in a pandemic and it’s less exciting. No doubt the change in routine is enough to throw anyone off their productivity game. I searched high and low and threw in some personal experience to bring you the ultimate guide to working from home – successfully.
- Pretend you’re going out
A change in routine isn’t an opportunity to slack off. When you get up in the morning, start your day as if you would if you were going to the office. Take a shower, dress like you’re leaving and eat like you’re leaving. Doing this little task will set your day in motion and you’ll kick start your productivity. It’s a lot easier to get into work mode in a suit and tie than in sweatpants and pyjamas.
- Separate your workspace from your living space.
Bringing work home is never fun and taking home to work is forbidden. This especially applies when working remotely. Identify a space you’ll make your office during work-time and make sure it’s free of distractions. Most people opt for a dining table or a study. Separating your workspace from your living space is a necessary boundary to successfully work from home. By dividing your space you can easily rest when you need to and work when you’re supposed to. It takes as much discipline to ‘switch on’ as it does to ‘switch off’.
- Work when you’re most productive
This is undoubtedly the biggest perk you get when working from home. Naturally, our motivation levels ebb and flow. Learning when your productivity levels peak will allow you to schedule your harder tasks for when you’re most capable of doing them. Save the more routine and easier tasks like answering emails and making calls for when your productivity levels drop. Some people are early risers and can run a marathon first thing in the morning while some can write a thesis at 3am. Find your time and work with it.
- Get started early
While we’re not all early risers, getting a start on your work as soon as you wake up is a well-known secret for being productive. If your productivity doesn’t peak until later in the day, that’s fine. Tackle any tasks you can when you wake up – anything is better than nothing.
- Plan out your day ahead of time
We’re all guilty of wasting time planning out what we’re going to do – in the order we’re going to do them. It’s massively inefficient to start planning your day when it’s already begun. Ideally, after completing your work day you should spend an extra 15minutes planning where to start the next day. Don’t aim to plan more, aim to do more.
- Communicate expectations with anyone who will be home with you
Maximising productivity is all about minimising distractions. With lockdowns and mandatory curfews – you’re likely not the only one at home. Establishing boundaries early will save you a lot of heartache. Do this by scheduling your work time and making sure your family/roommates/kids respect your space when you’re working.
- Pick a definitive finishing time each day
You’re responsible for protecting your time. Being at home and working are exclusive concepts – you’re responsible for doing each at the right time. While it seems like working from home is the key to a healthy work-life balance – you’re bound to overindulge on one side. You have to be careful not to get caught up on either activity – work when you have to and rest when it’s time. Clear boundaries are the key to a healthy work-life balance.
Try out these tips and let us know how they work for you. Stay tuned for even more advice on working from home.