Are you finding it difficult to work from home? Read this article for some tips on how to be productive while working from home while also not burning yourself out.
While many people must work from home due to the COVID 19 Virus, it is important that you maintain a productive work schedule even though you are no longer going into the office every day. The convenience of working from home often causes people to have difficulties concentrating on their work. There are many distractions at home that you don’t have to deal with when you work in an office. On the other hand, without clear boundaries of when work stops and self-care begins, some people might have the opposite problem. You want to make sure that you don’t burn yourself out by burying yourself in your work. Below are some tips to help you stay productive at home, while maintaining a balance between work life and home life.
PLAN YOUR DAY
The most important tip for having a balanced home and work life is to plan out your day. Planning out your day will help you establish boundaries for when it is the appropriate time to work and when it is the appropriate time for personal chores or down time. Having a plan will help you work smarter instead of harder. Remember that every new schedule has a trial period. You may go through several schedules that you find don’t fit with your job, chores, or other daily activities. It’s important to find a schedule that works right for you.
Start by setting long and short term goals for yourself. Establish three goals you would like to accomplish by the end of the year. Then create short term goals for each month, week, and day. Re-evaluate these goals often to make sure that they are obtainable. It’s important to set goals for both your work life and your personal life.
Assess where you spend most of your time. Make sure that you aren’t wasting time being distracted. For instance, make sure you don’t find yourself doing housework when you’re supposed to be working on a project for your job or vice versa. Your physical and mental health are also important. Make sure you make time to cook yourself a healthy meal and exercise. Also, build in time for relaxation, entertainment, and virtual socialization. Staying healthy and making sure that you aren’t staring at screen all day will help keep you focus when you are working. Keep track of how long it takes you to do different activities by keeping an activities log. Tracking your time will reveal when you are most and least productive so you can schedule all your important tasks for the most productive time of your day.
Create a routine that maximizes your efficiency. Try a routine that is similar to your normal workday so that you don’t have to make too many adjustments. When you find a routine that works for you make a habit out of it. Prioritize important tasks on your “To Do” list. This will help you avoid procrastination by “switch tasking” or wasting time making up your mind on what you want to work on first. It’s helpful to create a list of tasks that you can accomplish in about ten minutes or less between some of your loftier tasks.
It’s important to take regular breaks to help you refocus during your day. You don’t want to go too long without a break, or you’ll burn yourself out.
When it is time for work make sure you work. When your workday is over put your laptop and other work-related devices away. It’s important to separate your two worlds mentally even if you can’t physically. Learn to say “no” during work hours and vice versa. If it helps, while you’re working shut off some of the unnecessary app notifications on your phone or desktop to lessen distractions. When you finish work, shut down any work applications you might use like Slack or Zoom and close out of work-related documents. If you contact your work during off-office hours they may think that you’re available 24/7.
SETTING UP AN OFFICE AT HOME
If possible, set up an office at home to better define your workspace. Treat this space as if it is a real office that is miles away from your home. Do not enter this space when you’re not working and try not to leave this space when you are. This will help create some physical distance between you and your work. While you don’t want your workspace to be filled with distractions, you also don’t want the space to be uncomfortable. Your workspace should be some place you enjoy spending your time since you will likely spend eight hours or more in this space during the weekdays. Make your workspace comfortable by personalizing it with posters or pictures. Invest in a high-quality office chair. If you can, put your workspace in a place where you can either close a door or set up some other physically boundary to ward off distractions.
Once you have an office space set up, it’s important that you treat the space like you’re going to work. That means dressing up in office clothes, eating breakfast before you enter the space, and not entering your workspace once the workday is over.
It’s important that you communicate with your friends, family, and co-workers so that they know when you are and aren’t working. Tell your friends and family that during your work hours that you will not be able to answer your phone or respond to texts, but that you will be available once your shift is over. Make sure you have your company’s preferred telecommuting applications or software installed in your computer or phone. The company that you work for may want to stay connected through Zoom, Slack, Google Hangouts, or other communication applications. It’s important to stay in touch with your co-worker so that you can stay on the same page and divide up work tasks evenly. This will also help you and your co-workers understand how your work contributes to the bigger picture. It’s especially good to keep in contact with someone who has a similar position as you. Making regular check ins with co-workers will add structure to your day. Contact managers about specific questions you might have on a project. Make sure you know your manager’s expectations for how he or she would like to accomplish communication with all employees. Keep track of your progress on any work projects using software such as Clockwyz, Asana, and Monday.com. If you’re feeling lonely, reach out to your co-workers and ask if they’d like to participate in a virtual, afterwork happy hour via FaceTime, Facebook, or Skype.
THINGS TO DO WHILE QUARANTINED
It’s important that you allow yourself some down time. Relaxation is important for your mental health and over all wellbeing. Below are some ideas of ways to spend your down time while in quarantine. Don’t forget to get outside as often as possible in order to avoid cabin fever.
- Take a walk around the block
- Garden outside
- Watch a movie
- Binge a series
- Read a book
- Complete a puzzle
- Start a journal or blog
- Download a program to learn a language
- Write poetry
- Organize your pantry, bookshelf, etc.
- Knit or crochet
- Try out at home aerobics
- Play with clay or Play-doh
- Scrap book
- Complete an arts and crafts project