On the surface, working from home seems like it would be a breeze, but current events have put this idea to the test. Recently, I was talking to a friend to see how she was doing during this pandemic. When I asked how she was enjoying her time working from home, I was surprised at her response: "It's a complete struggle! It's so hard for me to be productive."
I was taken aback at her response, since I’d assumed - like most of us would have pre-coronavirus - that it would be quite easy and enjoyable for her to work from home. No commute, no kids, no school work... Together, we broke down her day to find out where the challenge lay. Once she started describing her typical day, it was obvious: she lacked structure. I knew I could help her and after just a week of her implementing my simple tips, she told me she feels more productive, confident, and motivated during her day.
Are you struggling working from home? Try these same 4 tips and struggle no more!
Tip #1: Develop a Morning Routine
When my friend described her day, the first thing she said was, "I roll out of bed 10 minutes before I need to check in for work." This was her first mistake.
Although you aren’t leaving your home, your mornings still should be intentional and get you mentally prepared for a strong day. So plan it out and give yourself more time! It could be as simple as waking up 30 minutes early to grab breakfast, take a shower, get dressed, and then report to work. Setting and performing a morning routine prepares your mind to tackle the day on your terms.
Tip #2: Get Dressed
You've probably heard the phrases "dress for success," or "dress how you want to feel." Getting dressed for the day as if you were leaving for work is a huge factor in setting your tone for the day. If you dress in pajamas, your mind gets ready for comfort and lounging.
I'm not saying to dress all out in a suit or slacks and blouse (unless you need to be presentable for a video call!), but go for business casual. Choose something that makes you feel good about yourself and allows you to get things done. For the ladies - this means hair too! Remove your hair scarf and make your hair look presentable, even if it's just pulled back in a ponytail. The more effort you put into yourself in the morning, the more effort you’ll put into your work day.
Tip #3: Designate a Work Area
My friend also told me she kept dozing off when she worked from her couch. This is another mistake: do not select a spot where you cannot feel productive. Areas for relaxing or sleeping should not be where you work. Locate an area with a flat surface (countertop or desk) with a comfortable chair that you can designate as your "office space." It could be a spot at your kitchen or dining room table, but if it’s luring you to the fridge or TV, or is too close to other people living in the house, you might have too many distractions. Find the best spot you can for getting work done and then stick with it. Once you designate your spot, this will be the place you will “commute” to each morning, even if it's just a couple steps away.
Tip #4: Plan Out Your Day
Lastly, make sure to plan your schedule for the following day. When rising in the morning, you will already have a guideline to follow that’ll help you get things done. I like to determine my top 3 priorities for the day, then create a schedule or calendar to block my tasks starting from my morning routine all the way to the last activity of the day.
Prioritize work and leave times later in the day for chores or personal to-dos. Whenever possible, act like you would at work, like scheduling a lunch break. Don’t let distractions ruin your planning, either! Your best friend calling you for a long talk? Let them know you’ll call them back when you’re not working.
To help you ease into these productivity tips, I’ve created a downloadable Working from Home Template! Print it out or download the fillable file and use it for your own day-to-day work needs and see how quickly you can turn every day into a win!
I would also love to hear from others about how you’re staying productive at home. Do you have more tips? Or, if you’re struggling, what’s your biggest challenge? Comment below!
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