We are all experiencing challenges and changes in our routine right now. Some of us aren't able to work any longer, while other of us are blessed to be able to continue working but just not in our office anymore. Seeing more and more people being required to work from home, here are some tips that have helped me and my colleagues be productive, and efficient.
I have found that as a "work from home" employee I've always been self-conscious of the fear that "they might not think I'm working" so I initially didn't do a good job or taking breaks or calling up a co-worker to check on them. But the truth is, remote employees can have super productive days because we are often more in control of our distractions-- we don't have coworkers walking by our desk, it often feels like it takes too much effort to go out for lunch so we just make something yummy at home, and we have easy access to yummy coffee all day!
Here are some real life tips to make your work from home transition feel a little better:
BRUSH YOUR TEETH & WASH YOUR FACE
It may feel like everyday is Saturday right now... but how productive are we on a Saturday? Get up, brush your teeth and wash your face. That fresh breath and splash of water on your face not only wakes you up but gets you out of a "just lounging around" mode.
Working from home doesn't mean staying in your pajamas all day. Sure, it make take a few days to adjust and the pajamas may linger on a little longer, but eventually it may inhibit you feeling ready to start your day. I'm not saying working from home needs to be a fashion show, but put on something that you wouldn't be embarrassed to answer the door in. For me that's usually leggings or joggers and a top that matches. Mascara and a little lip gloss helps too.
MAKE A REASONABLE TO-DO LIST
Make a brain dump for what you need to do for the week and then each day pick a few priority tasks to complete. What are three things that would make you say "I feel accomplished" at the end of your workday?
GET UP & MOVE. TAKE BREAKS.
We aren't robots. We can't just sit for hours upon hours. Getting up a taking a break not only helps our immunity, but it also lifts the brain fog, circulates your energy and may even offer some new and fresh ideas. Maybe getting up and taking a break means you go to the kitchen and fill up on coffee, maybe you set a timer for 5 minutes do some squats and body weight exercises. Maybe you stop work for a few minutes, get up, step outside, look up to the sky & stretch your hands behind your back.
**I have a free "Make the Most of H.O.M.E." Challenge going on right now that includes short workouts you can do from home. Join here!
SET A TIMER
Set a timer for your productivity time. I find 25 minutes to be the sweet-spot of time for me... beyond that I may open a new tab, feel tempted to check my email, or peek at my phone to see texts or check on that rabit-hole of social media.
As you think about your to do list, you could label 25 minute chunks of time each day. What projects are on your list? Do you have emails to respond to? What other pressing priorities can you quickly accomplish?
Also, set a timer for your breaks. Before you know it, throwing in a load of laundry could turn into washing the dishes and your break may have gotten a little longer than planned.
CREATE A WORK ENVIRONMENT YOU CAN STEP AWAY FROM
Find or create a space in your home that you can designate as your work area, even if your only option is half of the dining room table. Create boundaries around that space so when you sit down you know you're in "work mode" and you are focused. If you have a room with a door you can close, that will help a ton too.
CREATE A WORK ENVIRONMENT YOU LIKE
Music helps. I love me a good playlist paired with a yummy smelling candle. Also, clean up your workspace as the end of the day. What loose papers do you have lying around. Maintaining organization will leave you feeling fresh and ready to start the next work day.
MAINTAIN YOUR ROUTINE
Just like you wouldn't go to work without brushing your teeth or getting dressed, also think about the time of day you need to be ready to work. How long will your "commute" take you? Is there a podcast you listen to on your commute? Listen to that while you get ready. How do you fuel your body before your work day? Do that. Maintain what has been working well for you. Do you get up from your desk everyday at 10:00 a.m. for a coffee refill? Do the same at home.
YOUR TIME NEEDS BOUNDARIES - TAKE A LUNCH BREAK AND STOP YOUR WORKDAY
Don't get so distracted that you forget to each some lunch. What do you normally pack for lunch each day? Have that at home.
Also, don't work until the wee hours. Stop. Stop your workday, step away, play with your kiddos, take a walk outside and then get back to work tomorrow. It can be tempting to go, and go, and go but that can also lead to burnout. Stop the workday and step away. It can get done tomorrow.
MAINTAIN WORK RELATIONSHIPS & CHECK IN ON A COLLEAGUE
Just like you drop by someone's desk as work, pick up the phone quick and check in to say hi. On your team calls, be flexible and allow some time for conversation to see how everyone is doing. We're human and we still need that informal interaction. A sense of humor can go a long way in the work day.
I hope these tips help you as you transition to unknown territory!