So, it’s been about a week into my full-time positions work from home notice due to Covid-19. It’s like I’ve gone back to my self-employment days in 2010. I’ve decided to share some tips on how I dealt with working from home in the past.
Working from home is amazing, until your pet gets on the keyboard and your neighbour gets creative and decides to build a time machine, for which he will need all kinds of tools (the louder, the better).
For many modern professionals, working from home every few years is a privilege that companies grant, but what work environment allows us to be more productive, the home office or the real office?
Some people tend to think that there is a “balance” between work and personal life; however, the best way to balance it all is with a few barriers that can help maintain a good relationship at home and at the same time a productive working day.
Working from home does not have to become a titanic and challenging task to accomplish, but on the contrary, it should be a more comfortable experience that provides you with more freedom to develop your activities in an optimal and productive way.
Here are 21 tips for working from home I’ve prepared for you to help optimise your time:
1. Start early
Something that can certainly make a difference when working from home is that you can start at any time you want, however if you want a highly productive day, then start your work as early as possible. This way you can finish earlier too, which will result in you being able to spend time on other activities that may be important to you.
Even finishing early can give you time to share with your family, do something with your children (if you have any), play a sport or even do something simple like baking a cake or bread.
Also, the earlier you start, the less distracting noise you will find, especially if you live in the city and noise is part of your daily life.
2. Keep a schedule
Working from home offers you the excellent opportunity to work as long as you want; if you work too hard, it can backfire on you and your family.
Draw up a schedule for you, if possible, an office schedule that includes, of course, the respective time for taking your meals and about two or three 15- or 20-minute breaks in between.
This will allow you to have a much more productive day during the time you set, and at the same time it will allow you to have a less stressful pace of life since once the day is over you will have time to do other activities.
3. Plan as if you were at the office.
When you go out to work in your office, your brain generally associates the activities you are going to do with productivity, that is, you arrive at the office and prepare to spend a productive day.
Planning your activities serves to speed up the development of the working day and with working from home it can even be extended.
Planning your workday will allow you to stay focused and separate family life at home from your work.
To maintain an organization, divide up your day’s tasks and when you will carry them out. If you use an online calendar, set up personal events and reminders. With Google Calendar, you can do this easily.
4. Don’t work in your PJ’s or Workout Cloths
Ideally, you should prepare as if you were going out to the office, maybe in a lighter way but when you get ready you send a clear signal to your brain that tells both your body and your mind that you are working.
You have to follow the same pattern as if you were going out to the office.
If you get up, shower and get dressed, do the same. You save yourself the trip, but the rest should be the same because it helps you get into the routine
Get ready to face your tasks and try to pretend you are going to work.
Otherwise, you run the risk of spending the day in bed
5. Designate a place to work
Even if you are working from home, you should keep in mind that not just any place can become your desk, just as not just any corner can be a suitable workplace.
Also, select a work area that will keep you away from distractions
6. Take breaks between tasks
Taking short breaks of 10 to 15 minutes between tasks or every two hours is not only recommended but also healthy, even doing so can help you find answers you may not have had at the time.
Keep in mind that if you don’t take breaks, your performance may decrease, which can affect your productivity.
One recommendation may be to use the alarms on your mobile phone and take a short break every two hours or to do so at the end of a task.
7. Avoid social media
Just pretend you’re in the office, no Facebook, Twitter, or WhatsApp, and of course no Youtube videos, let alone Netflix.
You must pretend to be in the office and stay focused on it.
One recommendation you can take is to have two profiles on your computer, one where you only manage your work and one where you manage your personal life.
If you don’t, you run the great risk of opening your Facebook and spending up to an hour or more of your life slipping in at the beginning, having a profile where you don’t have your social networks, any distractions that have to do with it and you won’t attempt against your productivity.
8. Keep a schedule for your meals
One of the biggest problems with working from home is that you have the refrigerator at your disposal so it becomes a great temptation for you.
It has been observed that this results in people who work from home generally getting fat, as they tend to eat a little more than usual since there is no need to wait for food to be served at a specific time.
This problem is solved by establishing a schedule that allows you to take your meals on time, however, if in the middle of the morning or in the middle of the day you want to have a snack.
You can prepare some snacks, preferably something healthy low in sugar and fat, and even, a recommendation is that you have fruits, they are natural and can also keep you working with energy until it is time for the meal.
9. Set yourself goals
Structure your day to maximize efficiency.
When you’re at the office, do you spend the morning writing? Do the same at home.
Although you’ll probably work faster at home than at the office, this structure will help you maintain focus and productivity.
Work based on goals and objectives that you can accomplish in a given time or even take the time it takes to complete a series of activities and try to complete them in less time or more efficiently the next day, evaluate the results and move on.
10. Create a Morning Routine
Getting up early, taking a shower, getting dressed, having breakfast and a good cup of coffee can be the right routine start to a good day’s work from home.
Trying to maintain a routine with schedules can help you be more productive.
The ideal way to create a routine is to not waste your time on unnecessary tasks, such as spending two hours on updates on your cell phone or some phone conversation.
A routine keeps you on your toes and your goals clearly defined.
I’ve started my day with a walk, a coffee, bring the dog to the beach and
11. Let your family and friends know that you will not be available.
You have to make it clear to those around you that you are at home, but that you are working and that just as you are not disturbed at the office, you should not be disturbed or interrupted even if you are at home.
Just as you can’t mix work with other domestic chores, you should pretend you are at the office
12. Get out of the House
Sedentarism is not only a matter of those who work from home, but also of office employees.
You have to go out during the day to get a coffee, maybe walk from one office to another.
And at the end of the day, you have to dedicate yourself to a leisure activity
Being in the same environment 24 hours a day can be complicated.
For 8 hours, in the case of a full day, it is even recommended to do a routine of stretching exercises to avoid any contracture.
If you work from home, eat lunch at home, have a coffee at home and solve everything over the phone, give yourself a break and go out.
In this way of life, there is a high risk of going days without seeing the sun. Organize lunches with friends, have a coffee nearby, walk or ride your bike outdoors, solve problems personally.
13. Take time to Exercise
I’m doing a social experiment where I’m posting a picture to my instagram of my 10k steps before 9am every morning. It’s a part of my routine that helps with exercise.
Working from home can be counterproductive because you have all the comforts of sitting and not standing.
This sedentary lifestyle accompanied by a bad eating routine can make you tend to put on weight, ideally by taking a few minutes a day to go for a brisk walk or exercise at home.
If you want to stay at home you can easily take an online class of yoga or Pilates which are low impact exercises but will keep your body in optimal condition.
14. Keep a separate Phone Number.
If you are going to keep your distance from your family when working from home, you should also keep your work separate at the end of the day.
Keeping a phone exclusively for your work will make the boundary between your home life and your work day clear.
Even if you are at home and within reach of a message or a phone call, you must respect your own limits and attend to your work at the same time as you have already established.
15. Stay connected with Co-workers and Bosses.
Keeping in touch is a clear way to avoid loneliness. Ideally, when working from home, meetings and close contact with office colleagues should be maintained.
You can do Skype, Facetime or Zoom, or whatever technology your business uses.
Even, if possible, alternating with face-to-face activity which in one way or another is still essential especially when it comes to generating good feedback.
The possibility of making conferences by Skype and see the faces of colleagues while talking to them by different means also helps to combat loneliness.
The meetings should try to be maintained, even if they are not face to face, it is even advisable to have one day a week to hold them, you must have the ability to do it via webcam or telephone.
You should not go into isolation for lack of contact because in the long run it can be detrimental to good performance.
Your extra effort to stay in touch with colleagues ensures you’re highlighting dedication to the company.
16. Take an Online Course.
We spend too much time and energy correcting things that we are not usually good at. Why not spend that energy learning something new that we like or enhancing the talent we already have?
If you manage to keep a proper planning you can also have free time, working from home does not mean that you should only be focused on work, you can also take some time to take an online course or even learn to develop some task that you could not before, remember that you are saving time, you can invest it in you.
I’m saving 1.5 hours a day in travel time to my companies office. I’m dedicating 30 minutes of learning a day taking online courses through Linkedin Learning.
17. Make the most of Your Time at Home
Working from home, keeping a schedule and avoiding distractions doesn’t mean you can’t be flexible with your own rules. Being at home will allow you to do some chores like putting your clothes in the washing machine or putting your turkey in the oven.
These are activities that won’t take much time out of your day but that you can do precisely because you are at home.
Even as some measure their shower time with two or three songs, you can also measure your productivity with a wash cycle, set a goal that you can complete in that time and you’ll see the result.
18. Create a routine at the end of the day.
Just as it is necessary to create a routine in the mornings before the work day, it is also very necessary to establish a routine that allows you to end the day with peace of mind.
It’s a great way to separate yourself from work.
Remember that your schedule should be as similar as possible to that of the office and you should set an end time, if not it can be made very unbearable.
Once the day is over, you can take a bath to keep you fresh or carry out any other activity you have planned, or even prepare for the next day.
Working from home does not mean that you are going to spend 24 hours ready for work, you should do your best to maintain a routine that suits your needs.
19. Avoid Perfectionism.
Don’t push yourself too hard, stop looking for unrealistic goals while you’re working from home.
I find myself trying to make sure everything is perfect from my work produced at home so I’m perceived as an extra value employee.
It’s not a matter of conformity, but of remembering that perfection is too subjective an expectation that some may confuse with effort.
The true essence of living is to enjoy imperfect progress as long as you keep evolving, success is synonymous with perseverance, not perfection.
20. Listen to Music or White Noise.
During the week, music is your companion of emotions, to better develop your work you can have at your disposal, music lists that will keep you company in each project you work on and at the same time help you to stay energetic during the development of your work activities.
Some experts indicate that video game soundtracks are excellent for this. In games, this instrumental music is designed to keep you focused; it makes sense that it would also help you in your work.
On the other hand, keeping the TV on or some other kind of white noise with a low volume in the background can also help you avoid the feeling of loneliness.
21. Prepare your Meals the Night Before.
When you’re at home, it can be tempting to take time to prepare a good breakfast or lunch, with all that implies. Don’t waste valuable time preparing the day’s meal, take it as a bonus, cook the day before.
Cooking beforehand guarantees you time to enjoy your meal and prevents you from wasting energy on tasks that are not related to your work. You will also have free time to develop activities that will help you to distract yourself.