How To Work From Home: 10 Tips From People Who Do It Successfully

Working from home is awesome… right up until the cat throws up on your computer. And your neighbour, who you can only assume is building a time machine, starts firing up all sorts of power tools at the exact time you were about to call your boss. Right until the deadly virus had attacked the human race all over the globe… wait no!, it’s not the first line of some over cooked apocalyptic script, it’s actually our reality now! Working from home every once in a while was a luxury that only some of us enjoyed. Today it’s a necessity. Question is how to make WFH more productive. Of course, given one day we go back to ‘normal’ (or as some call it ‘the new normal’) and reinstate full-on office hours, you might find this read a complete waste of your time. But for now let us ponder. As we know, in the office office, your coworkers often pose the greatest threat to getting some real, heads-down work done. They drop by your desk, engage in a conversation on how to grow tomatoes and then convince you to have lunch that extends to nearly 2 hours. The social benefits of a workplace are definitely nice to have, but they can become a challenge if you’re easily distracted. At the home office, however, I find that it’s easy for you to become your own worst enemy. Because when you’re not surrounded by coworkers, you’re free to drop the act of ‘being busy’. When you work from home, no one’s watching. You don’t necessarily feel that same peer pressure or obligation to get stuff done. (Also, you don’t have to wear pants.) Below, a carefully compiled list of work-at-home tips and tricks for some of you living a new virus struck reality… 1. Get started early When working in an office, your morning commute can help you wake up and feel ready to work by the time you get to your desk. At home, the transition might feel like a herculean task especially for all those night owls. Believe it or not, one way to work from home productively is to dive into your to-do list as soon as you wake up. Simply getting a project started first thing in the morning can be the key to making progress. Otherwise, you’ll prolong breakfast and let the morning sluggishness wear away your motivation. You know it’s true! 2. Pretend like you are going into the office Sitting on your sofa in your pyjamas might prove challenging to simply feel motivated. When WFH, simply do all the things you’d do to prepare for an office role: set your alarm, make (or go get) coffee, and wear nice clothes. A number of widely available calendar tools allow you to set different reminder and note settings for both work and you–time to avoid being… you know… big time distracted. 3. Structure your day like you would in the office It’s easy to lose focus without face-to-face meetings or co-worker team lunches and easily spend 99.9% of your time in front of your computer. Just like an average teenage boy! Remember eating and typing an email while on a 3-hour long conference call can be called ‘master multitasking’ or simply a dumb ass, but sure road to a ’burn out’. Create a schedule where you take an actual break for lunch or take an online meeting exactly like you would in the good old times i.e. before Covid-19. 4. Choose a dedicated work space. It is a tricky one… given a lot of us are in a lockdown while occupying small spaces or even sharing your limited work space with a partner or a flatmate. But just because your name is not Jeff Bezos or Jeff Bridges with mansions located on acres of land, with multiple reception rooms (surely one reception room should be enough for any house!), it doesn’t mean you can’t be as inventive. Ideally, dedicate a specific room or space to work and work only. Even if it’s just a chair and a cutting board miraculously transformed into your new desk, just make sure you keep that set up a consistent one. 5. Make it harder for yourself to mess around on social media Not checking the latest news on your social media sucks. Social media is designed to make it easy for you to open and browse quickly. At work, though, it can ruin your productivity. To kick the need of checking your ‘socials’ every 10 min, just turn notifications off and check only during selected down-time slots. And stick to it! Otherwise, you’ll find yourself searching for the best GOT memes all day long. 6. Work when you’re at your most productive Nobody sprints through their work from morning to evening – your motivation will naturally dip throughout the day. When you’re working from home you need to plan your schedule around your best and worst times for taking meetings or doing some ‘thinking’. Jeff Bezos takes all important calls or meetings after 10am as he believes he is most productive between 10am and noon. Think ‘Jeff’ and plan your time in line with your natural body clock. That doesn’t mean booking work calls for 2am given you’re an extreme case of a night owl. Simply, to capitalize on your most productive periods, save your harder tasks for when you know you’ll be in the right headspace for them. Use slower points of the day to knock out the easier, logistical tasks that are also on your plate. 7. Plan out what you’ll be working on ahead of time Get yourself organised and spend some time planning your tomorrow’s tasks. It may feel mundane and unnecessary, but you will really benefit from having an organised schedule. It’s important to let your agenda change if necessary, but it’s equally as important to commit to an agenda that outlines every assignment before you begin. Try solidifying your schedule the day before, making it feel more official when you wake up the next day to get started on it. 8. Match your music to the task at hand Music can help to focus or distract. The best playlists are diverse, where you can listen to music that matches the energy of the project you’re working on. Also, video games soundtracks are excellent at this. In the game itself, this lyric-free music is designed to help you focus to play so why not to work! Want some other genres? Just think what one funky tune rocks your boat. 9. Exercise the body not just the mind Being stuck at home, in small spaces and all day can drive anyone crazy. So… go for a walk, a run or find an online yoga class or a HIIT challenge to add to your daily routine. It’s up to you when, how long for and how often you want to exercise. As a rule of thumb, light exercise can be done daily, whereas more intense sessions should be planned around an assumption that a specific muscle group you should rest for at least a day after an intensive work-out. Fit your workout routine around your daily schedule. Early risers like exercising first thing in the morning, others prefer a lunch or early evening slot. But let me tell you… your lungs need it and your brain needs it. A regular 15 min to 1 hour break can do miracles to both productivity and motivation. 10. Pick a definitive finishing time each day A lot of people struggle with finding that life-work balance. Either too much ‘life’ or too much ‘work’. I guess, the ‘too much life’ should be the dream. Well… maybe not always. After 9 months of non-stop travelling around the globe while caring for nothing but my bohemian need to connect, discover and learn about new cultures and people… I got bored! My backpacking lifestyle wasn’t as exciting anymore and it suddenly hit me: I needed to go back home and get an actual job. Working from home can also feel like being at a casino – you can get so caught up in your activity, in a relaxing environment, that you lose complete track of time. Set an alarm at the end of the day to indicate your normal work day is coming to an end. You don’t have to stop at exactly that time, but knowing the work day is technically over can help you start the process of saving your work and calling it quits for the evening. That is all lovely peeps! Hope these few tips will help you establish a better daily routine and increase your productivity. Keep safe and sane xxx article by Ada Babiuch