Working from home is one of those things that can often sound more fun than it is. People often think that “working from home” is code for “cushy number”. It’s easy to assume that without a boss watching your every move you live the life of Riley, doing as you please and not working much.
However, with the pandemic and changes in the way we work, the majority of us who do work from home now know that the reality is very different! With no set hours to start and finish work, we can end up working more hours. But without that structure of working in an office with co-workers and a boss, it can also be very hard to stay productive. It’s easy to become distracted, and to get carried away with the idea that you don’t need to do this right now. Maybe you can do some housework or shopping, and catch up on your work this evening.
Working from home is great, but with a teetering pile of washing up and an overflowing laundry basket, it can be hard to concentrate!
Here are some ways to make working from home productive for you:
Working From Home – Top Tips
1. Keep a to-do list! It sounds so simple, but how many of us get up in the morning and think, “er, what needs to be done today?” With a list of priorities, you can plan out your day and make sure you get everything done. Plus it feels good to be able to tick things off!
2. Keep to strict office hours. It can be so easy to put things off until later, and then find yourself working on through the evening – not a great idea. Set yourself office hours, and aim to always complete your work within these times, and then “clock out” and enjoy your evening. This is a great idea for combatting work stress too; we all need down time. Similarly, you should still allow yourself a weekend. It doesn’t have to be on Saturday and Sunday, but two days out of work to be you can work wonders for your creativity and focus.
3. Dress for work. This might sound a bit silly, since one of the major benefits of working from home is not needing to “look the part” in smart office clothes! But getting dressed for work can have a positive effect; it’s a ritual that tells us: Now it’s time to work. Try it out, and see if what you’re wearing affects how you work.
4. Set boundaries with friends and family. When we’re working from home, others can see this as code for “I’m free any time; pop round or call when you feel like it.” Communicate to friends and family alike that you are working from home and as such not available during the day. This can be hard to enforce to start with, but if you stick to your boundaries people will soon get the message.
5. Get out of the house. It can feel quite stifling to get up, have breakfast and sit straight down at your desk without getting any fresh air. And even the most introverted of souls will need some contact with the outside world at some point! Taking a brief morning walk can be great to get your creative mind going.
6. Make a packed lunch Another tip that might feel a little silly, but working from home can be a nightmare for your diet! This can often go to one of two extremes. Either you are so engrossed in your work you don’t want to be distracted by preparing a healthy meal. Or you’re looking for any excuse for a distraction, and can spend an hour creating an Instagram-worthy lunch rather than concentrate on your work. Meal prep either the night before or in batches at the weekend to make things easier, and it helps to ensure you are still eating a healthy, balanced diet. It also removes the need to decide what to have for lunch which can take up valuable headspace if you’re in the middle of a project.
Like anything, working from home has its high points and its challenges. With a few small tweaks it’s easy to make it a productive and fulfilling way to work.