We know it’s not always easy to work from home.
Working from home has its pros and cons. Whether you’ve been working from home for years or you’re just beginning, we want to share with you 8 tips to work from home successfully and productively.
1. Create a morning and evening routine
When you work in an office, you’re pretty much forced into having some sort of routine. At the very least, you have to wake up on time to get dressed and ready and drive to work. Working from home makes it possible to wake up 5 minutes before your workday starts, splash some water on your face, and sit down at your computer. Avoid the urge to do this! A morning routine will get you moving and ready for your day. Start off by making your bed, and you’ll benefit from a sense of accomplishment right away. As US Navy Admiral, William H. McRaven said, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”
Other morning routines could include taking a walk, enjoying a cup of coffee, or doing some stretches. Be sure to eat breakfast, too!
An evening routine is another helpful way to keep a clear mind and a consistent daily pattern. After logging off from work and before going to bed, eat a healthy dinner, enjoy a cup of tea, read a chapter, or weed the garden.
2. Get dressed
Speaking of routines, include getting dressed for the day in yours. The ability to stay in your sweatpants all day may seem like a major work-from-home perk, but for most people, it’s actually less than helpful. What you wear contributes to your emotional state. Getting dressed for the day makes you feel confident and prepared, and it signals to your brain that it’s time to be productive. Staying in your pajamas contributes to an overall feeling of reduced productivity and reduced positivity. Give your mental health a boost by getting ready for the day.
3. Plan specified work hours
If you work full-time, try to keep the same work hours every day. Even if you have the flexibility to start at 6 a.m. some days and 10 a.m. other days, try choosing a time, say 8-5, and sticking with it. This will allow your body to establish a rhythm and prepare itself for what’s coming each day. If there are others in the house while you are working, it will also be easier for them to know when you are available and when you’re not.
4. Take scheduled breaks
Though it might be tempting to rush through your workday without taking any breaks, avoid the temptation to do this. It’s important to take scheduled breaks throughout the day to eat lunch, take your eyes off the screen, and move your body. Choose your break times and keep them consistent each day. Take advantage of these times by doing activities that clear your head and prepare you to work even better. Use your lunch break to eat some healthy food, and maybe even run a quick errand if you have time. Even on 15-minute breaks in the morning and afternoon, try getting outside, taking the dog for a walk, or finding some other way to move your body and give yourself a break from sitting.
5. Find the best space for you to work
If you have the ability to work remotely, take advantage of it! It may be best to split up your days by spending some work days at home and some at a local coffee shop. Find an environment that helps you focus. At Lifedge, we love taking advantage of the opportunity to work remotely! Here’s a recent picture from Luci, our project manager, who enjoys working from Starbucks in Costa Rica.
If you need your home setup in order to work, take time to create a workspace that works for you. Find a quiet room in your house if you can. If you’re just beginning to work remotely and your employer is willing to help, be sure to ask for the tools you need in order to work properly (such as a printer, keyboard, etc.). Find a comfortable, ergonomic chair. Spruce your area up by adding some creative touches or your favorite pieces of art. Make it an enjoyable place to be. Taking the time to set your space up well can make a huge difference.
6. Eat and sleep well
When you work in close proximity to your kitchen all day, it’s tempting to snack constantly, or to make subpar food choices. Instead, take advantage of your kitchen access, and use it to fuel your body with healthy foods. Eat plenty of protein, veggies, fruits, and other whole foods. Nuts, seeds, and cheese make great brain-fueling snacks. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, too. Aim to get a healthy amount of sleep, and go to bed around the same time every evening. Most adults need at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Taking care of your body will make all the difference in how you feel during the day.
7. Create a to-do list
You may find it very helpful to create weekly and/or daily to-do lists. Knowing exactly what you need to work on each day can help your brain to feel more organized. Then, you can better focus on the tasks at hand. If you feel overwhelmed by how much you have to do, creating a list can help you make a plan for how and when you will accomplish it all. Just be sure to be flexible if things change or take more or less time than you think, especially if you’re working with other people on specific projects.
8. Be wary of social media
If you find social media to be a constant distraction, you may need to put some boundaries in place that make it more difficult for you to access your social accounts. If your phone is a distraction and you don’t need to use it for your job, try putting it in a different room for awhile.
Even if you need your phone near you in order to work or for emergencies, there are plenty of other options for eliminating distractions. Logging off of your social media accounts on your phone and computer can at least discourage you from getting on too easily. Deleting apps on your phone may help as well. You can also set your phone to limit the amount of time you spend on specific apps. Ironically, there are even apps that help you manage your screen time. Offtime is one popular option that allows you to choose specific modes such as “work”, “family”, or “me time” to limit your access to unneeded apps.
Enjoy your work from home!
We hope these tips help you make the most of your opportunity to work remotely. With the right tools and strategies, you can enjoy many benefits of working from home.