Many of us are working from home more and more, as the technology for remote working improves and employers increasingly embrace the benefits of flexible working hours.
Whether you’re working for yourself or in an employed role, making the transition to working from home can sometimes be a difficult one, and you might initially find it a challenge to stay focused and switched on without your usual routines in place.
To help you out, we’ve put together a list of tips and tricks to keep you at your most productive without ruining your work-life balance. These small changes will help you achieve your goals whilst working in your own space.
1. Get dressed as if you’re going to the office
This is a trick that works on your psychology. Realistically, spending all day in your pajamas is unlikely to be constructive, even with the best mindset for getting things done. It won’t help you start the day in the right mindset for work, and you might find that you’re tempted to spend more time sitting on your sofa than doing meaningful work.
Instead, make a point of getting dressed as if you are going to work, whatever that means for you. It’ll simulate being in an office/work environment and help you feel mentally and physically prepared for the day ahead - and will help separate your work hours from rest time too.
2. Set up a designated work space
As we pointed out above, having work and rest distinctions is very important. It’s essential then that once you’re up and dressed, you can take yourself off to a space that you’ve created specifically for your work.
Ideally, this space wouldn't be in your bedroom, because it’s better for you mentally to associate your bedroom with rest and sleep and your desk with work.
Another piece of advice that’s worth remembering is to not take your breaks in your work space. For example, if you’ve having a 10-minute break to drink tea and look at social media, instead of sitting at your desk, maybe move to your living room. That way, when you move back to your desk, your brain associates this with starting work again.
3. Try to get outside on your breaks
Being in an office environment naturally gives you the opportunity to take breaks, such as chatting with coworkers or making a coffee. However, at home it can be easy to keep working non-stop.
Getting rest helps to keep your brain functioning and gives your eyes and body a rest. A great idea is to set a couple of timers throughout the day – maybe one at 10.30am and another at 3pm - and take these breaks outside if the weather permits! A coffee in the garden or a walk near your house can help you get some vitamin D and rejuvenate.
4. Get some exercise in
We all know by now that exercise is good for many things such as your brain function, mood, stress levels, and immunity. These are all factors that can majorly influence your productivity. Many people get some form of exercise during their commute, so if you work from home, it is especially important to make time for exercise.
Try to incorporate stretches into your routine, and make sure you’re not sitting all day – get up and wander around your house every so often to break up the day and keep yourself moving. Establish a workout routine if you can, and get a friend involved – exercising at set times with someone else will keep you accountable and help you establish a consistent schedule.
5. Disconnect from work at the end of the day
Set yourself working hours, and stick to them. Close down your emails and any other work messaging apps you use when you reach the end of your work day, and turn off your computer. It’s easy to work longer hours at home out of a sense of guilt, but having clear boundaries not only saves your sanity but can be much more effective.
One reason for this is Parkinson’s Law, which states that ‘work expands to fill the time available for its completion.’
In simple terms, if you had 3 tasks to complete between 12-4, you would likely get them all done in that time. If you had those same three tasks to do between 12-6, you would probably still take the whole time to complete them, because knowing that you have that time allows you to take longer and work less efficiently.
A good strategy therefore is to be goal focused rather than hour focused. Aim to get certain tasks completed in a day and allow yourself to stop when they are finished. This way you waste less time and are more motivated to work efficiently.
6. Use your commute time to relax
A big advantage of working from home is that it frees up valuable time – particularly the time you would typically spend travelling to and from the office.
It can be tempting to use this extra time to work, especially if it is for your own business, or to sleep in the morning - but it’s important to maintain a good work-life balance. Instead, use your commute time to read, listen to podcasts, or cook breakfast. It will likely keep you happier and keep your productivity levels high, plus it will ease your brain into starting work.
7. List your tasks in order of priority
It’s great to have a clear idea of which tasks absolutely must get done by the end of the day so that you aren’t tempted to procrastinate – the dishes can wait!
It can also be tempting to avoid difficult tasks we don’t want to do, but this method means you can’t ignore them.
One way of doing this is using the Ivy Lee method - write down your 6 most important tasks and then organise them in terms of priority. Work down the list, only moving onto the next task when the first is completely finished. Any tasks left at the end of the day get moved to the top of tomorrow’s list.
8. Be aware of your screen time
We live in a technological age where a lot of our work and rest time is spent looking at screens. While this is incredibly useful in many ways, too much time focusing on screens can take its toll on your eyes and sleep pattern.
Therefore, setting some boundaries is a good idea - such as resting your eyes every hour, limiting screen time before bed, or buying some blue-light-blocking glasses. This will ensure you’re able to maintain your focus whilst you work, without your eyes getting too tired. If you do work at a screen all day, you may also want to consider partaking in more rest activities that don’t involve screens, such as cooking or reading.
As you can see, there are many ways to make working from home work for you, and it’s likely that as time goes on, you’ll develop your own set of habits and processes that allow you to work efficiently and enthusiastically.
The key takeaway is that structure really is essential when working from home – but what that means will depend totally on you and the work that you’re doing. That said, a good Wi-Fi connection probably wouldn’t go amiss either!
While switching to a working from home mentality might be a challenge, establishing a professional online presence for your business needn’t be.
At TheMillCreek.net, we specialize in one of a kind websites designed for businesses of all shapes and sizes, and we offer ongoing support for all our clients.
If you’re looking for a professional website with all the trimmings, get in touch with us to find out more.