Make a Home Office
These are exceptional times, and it’s likely that you’re having to make do with whatever home office setup you can create. If you have a spare room, now’s the time to use it. It helps to have a room you can close the door on at the end of the day, and one which you can truly call an ‘office’ for a while. That being said, having a spare room you can turn into an office is a luxury. And I know it’s not one everyone has.
In fact, for many years I used to have my office desk and set up in a corner in my bedroom. If you’re leaning into more of a working corner, my advice is to still set up an area which is specfically for your work – no matter how big or small that may be.
If you can’t create a physical space, draw an imaginery line around your working nook. And try to think of stepping ‘into’ your workspace every day so that you can make that mental shift too.
WHEREVER YOU SET UP YOUR WORKSPACE, MY GENERAL ADVICE IS TO:
have everything you need within easy reach. So much time can be wasted trying to find stuff.
make it a space you like going to. Small things like using your favourite mug for your coffee, relocating a house plant to be near you, and having the comfiest chair you can find, make a huge difference. Plus – keep it clean!
set boundaries – for yourself and anyone else working alongside you.
By developing a space you want to go to, you’re half the way there in terms of motivation. Most people enjoy sitting on their couch, watching television, or snacking in the kitchen. But, let’s face it. If you try and combine working with your favourite home activities, you’re not going to be very motivated to get work done. In fact, you may find yourself deep in the latest episode of some sitcom while munching on a bowl of popcorn only to realize you haven’t looked at your computer once.
Create a Morning and evening practice
These are exceptional times. You need to allow fluidity. If you have never worked from home, you are going to have to learn to juggle various things like kids, their homeschooling, cooking, cleaning etc. Setting a rigid schedule which very often will be thrown off guard will leave you feeling frustrated. Hence just have a morning practice of when you need to start your work day and let everyone in the house know that. Even small children understand it if done regularly. My 4 year old knows when mummy needs to start work because he has seen it since he’s a baby. He may interrupt me multiple times in the day but atleast I know I am going to go in and start my work day at a good time.
Also important to have a closing evening practice. It can be easy when you’re working from home for your work life to seep into your home life, so having a ‘close down’ routine can really help.
I like to have a rough time I plan on finishing up for the day.
At that point I’ll close open tabs and programs on my computer, tidy up my desktop, and have a little refresh of my desk. It seems like a small thing but clearing your space of cups, mugs and rubbish helps you to finish one day, and prepare for the next.
Take regular breaks
Work can pile up and sometimes it seems the best thing to do is to work through breaks. However, nothing could be further from the truth. And, there is plenty of science to back up the claim that productivity increases when you take breaks. Here are some of the most interesting facts about why you need to schedule in some regular breaks:
Breaks, even just mental breaks to daydream, can help you make connections and improve brain function.
Taking brief breaks helps you stay focused
Breaks help you re-evaluate your goals and keeps you on track
Just make sure you take some time to relax.
If you never allow yourself time to recover, you’ll find your motivation in the workplace plummeting.
Get Dressed For Work
When you throw your sweat pants aside and dress up for work, reports indicate that you are more productive. Wearing nice clothing can help boost your confidence, make you feel more powerful, increase your ability for abstract thinking, help you earn more money, and enable you to see the big picture.
When you wear nice clothing, even at your home office, you feel better about yourself and are more productive.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
If you don’t usually work from home, chances are there will be some bumps in the road if you have to suddenly go fully remote. The key to steering through these bumps is communication—especially with your manager and direct reports. Come up with a plan that lays out expectations for how often you should check in and how you’ll convey any changes or new assignments to one another. Do the same with anyone you usually work collaboratively with throughout the day.
This plan is likely to change as you go. And that’s OK. This is a new situation for everyone. So make sure to circle back and change the plan if problems come up. You’ll also encounter unique challenges as you try to do your job remotely, which can vary greatly depending on the type of work you do. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the same people you would usually turn to for help—even if you’re not in the same building as them.
Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself
If you find yourself working one minute and daydreaming the next, don’t reprimand yourself harshly. Instead, ask yourself whether people in an office setting do the same thing. If the answer is yes, cut yourself some slack, then get back to work.
Have something you consciously do outside of work.
Here’s the funny thing about working from home: yes, you can get lazy if you’re not focused (hence why a schedule and to-do lists are so important), but the very opposite can happen too. Work can consume your thoughts and time.
It is so important to have something you consciously do outside of work. Outside of work but inside your own. Watch a movie, playtime with kids
Happy hour with your partner or spouse, anything to focus on outside of work