With the start of the new school year and the end of summer near, many of us are having to hunker down to a new era of working from home. Even for those fortunate enough to have this opportunity, working from home can have its own challenges and hurdles to overcome, which many newcomers to the system may discover. But coming from someone who has luckily been able to work from home for most of my career, there are a number of ways to ensure you achieve ultimate productivity in work at home.
Stick to a schedule
The number one tip for working from home is establishing a routine and keeping your schedule. If you are free to choose the hours you work then figure out what schedule works for you. Discover whether you work best in the morning or afternoon and evening and schedule the majority of your work day during those hours. Let people know when you will be working and unavailable and if you are sharing your space with others then establish the necessary boundaries to be able to work exclusively and not be unnecessarily interrupted during that time.
Establish a dedicated office space
One of the most important parts of working from home is creating a “home office.” Now whether or not this is a separate or shared room, you should always be able to easily access your “office,” which ideally would include a desk, ergonomic seating, ample light and whatever else you enjoy in the working environment, such as a plant, pictures, books and maybe even a tea or coffee setup. For most, having the television on in the background and even music can be distracting. The bottom line is you will want to mimic as much as possible the work environments you most thrived in by recreating them at home
Have a morning routine
Even though you are not heading out to the office, it is still important to establish a series of morning rituals to get you revved up for the day. If possible, try to schedule in exercise, after all, you are shaving off time from what would have been spent commuting to work. Whether it’s a brisk walk or run, or yoga and stretching, it is wise to get your circulation going as your workday still most likely involves multiple hours spent bent over a computer. Getting properly dressed for the workday and even taking a shower are all great methods to feel more motivated on tackling a new workday.
You are what you eat
Having a healthy breakfast that will not weigh you down in the hours that follow is also critical for ensuring an energetic start to the day. Plan healthy snacks and a satisfying lunch and refrain from mindless nibbling. The food you consume will directly dictate how you feel and as a result how productive you are for the remainder of the day. Try to have fruits, nuts and herbal teas as small snacks through your working hours.
Give yourself a break
In order to keep motivation and productivity high throughout the workday, it is not only important to have goals to work toward throughout the day, but it is also crucial to schedule in a number of breaks throughout the day. Ideally, you will want to do something physical such as maybe a take a walk or complete a house chore or you could treat yourself to a tea or coffee outdoors. It is important to both reward and recharge yourself with breaks and then return with even more positive energy to put into your work.
Socialize at the right time
Once you have established your work schedule and boundaries with your loved ones it's then time to make sure you socialize with people in the hours you have free. Working from home can get lonely and so it is important to make sure you are still making connections with friends and family after work. As we have embarked on months of social distancing many of us have become glued to the screens on our phones and connecting through social media. It is important to limit the time spent overall in such avenues and to make sure you never surf the web during the time when you should be working because it can be extremely distracting and demoralizing and is just not time wisely spent.
Stick to deadlines
Nothing is more important than or as rewarding as meeting a deadline. Don’t let the lack of external pressure waiver your resilience in finishing a project. Make sure you get things done on time not only for your own satisfaction and for the work to flow but to also prove that you have the self-discipline to be able to successfully work from home. Commend yourself when you successfully complete tasks on time and then right after take a well-deserved break and celebrate as you relish in that satisfactory feeling of achievement.