Due to the current events, many people find themselves suddenly working from home for the first time in their lives. The transition is not a simple one. Working from home can sound peachy-keen on paper, but along with the pros come a whole new and perhaps unexpected set of challenges.
I’ve had brief spiffs working from home over the years. I completed two years of my bachelor’s degree entirely online. This has allowed me a certain degree of flexibility in my life as well as a level of preparation for the current predicament in our state and country’s mandated quarantine.
I’ve been asked how I have stayed motivated and made effective use of my time with all of the distractions readily available. Now that so many are experiencing this right now, I wanted to share some of the most important and overlooked tips to finding success in the ‘WFH’ world.
*I am not a working parent and I cannot imagine the stress working mothers & fathers must be feeling right now with having their kids at home as well. While some of these tips and tricks might not be as simple to accomplish with children at your heels, I hope that you are able to modify them in order to best suit your needs. *
Set your alarm for your normal wake-up time.
While it may be tempting to sleep in, it’s key to treat your mornings as if you are having a normal workday heading into a brick-and-mortar office. Being an early bird myself, there’s a lot to be said for joining the 5/5:30am club – but that’s a blog for another day. Set your alarm, brush your teeth, shower, wash your face, and get dressed. (even if that means switching from your pajama bottoms into some loungewear!)
Block-schedule your day.
The night before, I like to open up my calendar app on my phone (or go old school with my daily planner) and use the block-scheduling method for my workday. For example, make a two-hour time slot to focus on nothing but answering emails. (this obviously can vary depending on what you do for work.) Reserve your mornings for the most important tasks of your day. I figure out the top four items of importance and try to nail them out by 11am. Prepare properly for meetings, especially for Video Calls. I always make sure the top half of myself is presentable in case of a surprise Zoom meeting.
Design a designated work space in your home.
Even if it’s just a small table and chair in a quiet corner, your work environment plays a huge part in how effective you are in your work. There’s a reason why offices exist in the first place. Your workspace doesn’t need to be fancy and filled with expensive decor, but make sure it’s somewhere other than where you sleep or where you would sit down to eat a meal with someone you love. I like to work near a window so that I have some natural light. My desk always has a coaster (for my coffee), a plant (real or fake), and my blue-light glasses.
Take a short break, frequently.
By frequently, I would recommend every hour. Working from home means you’re standing and walking even less than usual – get off your tush and walk around your house for five minutes if that’s what it takes to regroup. Get fresh air, top off your tea, or do some mountain climbers.
Plan your snacks & lunches ahead of time.
There is nothing easier than grabbing a bag of salt & vinegar chips and munching on them all day. Those hourly breaks can include lots of romantic dates with the fridge, so make sure you’ve prepped for your hunger pangs with some healthy choices. I like to drink tea or sparkling water and have a set plan for lunch so I’m not tempted to UberEats every day.