10 Tips To Effectively Work From Home
“Make each day your masterpiece” – John Wooden.
With everything that’s been happening in the world right now, it’s suffice to say that it is a time of unease and uncertainty. Feelings of stress and anxiety have reached an all time high, and many individuals have been faced with more challenges than ever before. We have had to adjust to a new way of being. Like any change, it is hard at first, messy in the middle, and gorgeous at the end.
For many of us, this change has resulted in us having to self-isolate. For some, solitude and the change in pace is welcome. However for those who thrive in social interactions, the change has been more challenging. Irrespective of your personal preferences, the reality is that many of us are having to spend more time, living and working from home.
I have prepared this guide because like many of you, have made the shift to work from home full time. I love my job and the interaction of being in the office, but equally am enjoying my time working from home. My days at home are positive and productive, and I’m able to achieve a lot more. Here are some of my strategies to adjust to work from home, and to create a space which you enjoy.
One of the first things I do each day, is to write down three things I feel grateful for. It could be as simple as saying:
1. I’m grateful for my job.
2. I’m grateful for my health.
3. I’m grateful for my family.
This simple act of putting pen to paper and writing the things I feel grateful for, has an enormous impact on my mental state. My heart goes out to all of those whose health has been impacted, or who have lost their jobs. I am extremely fortunate to be in the position I am in, and it is not something I take lightly. When you focus on the good and are grateful for what you have, you invite more goodness to come into your life.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make the space around you beautiful. If you are going to be spending all of your time at home, and 8 + hours each day at your workstation, why not create a space that you love? I know that not everyone has a home office or even a desk, and that you have to work with what you have. Some simple tips include:
One of the biggest contributing factors when it comes to productivity, is setting a schedule. My days are so much more productive when I have a routine and a set time for everything. I use my iPhone and Outlook calendars (they are synched) to schedule in my day. Here is an example of what a work from home day looks like for me:
6am: Wake up & make the bed.
6:05am: Meditate using the headspace app.
6:15am: Gratitude practice: Write 3 things I feel grateful for in my journal.
6:20am: Morning walk whilst listening to a podcast.
7:00am: Shower & get ready.
7:30am: Eat breakfast.
8:00am: Get organised for the day.
8:30am: Work day begins.
9:30am: Conference call via Microsoft Teams.
10:30am: Morning Coffee.
10:45am: Blocked out time to work.
1:00pm: Lunch (I try and get outside or even just sit in the sun on my balcony for some fresh air).
1:30pm: Work and emails.
2:00pm: Conference call via Skype.
3:00pm: Make a tea and have a snack.
3:10pm: Blocked out time to work.
4:00pm: Conference call via Microsoft Teams.
5:00pm: Blocked out time to work.
6:20pm: Evening walk whilst listening to a podcast.
9:00pm: Shower & get ready for bed.
10:00pm: Lights out.
I find writing lists to be incredibly helpful. When I write things down instead of keeping them in my head, it means I don’t forget what I need to get done. It also frees up bandwidth to focus on making decisions and other challenging tasks throughout the day.
My work to-do list goes into a notebook which I use every day. My personal to-do list is just in the notes section of my iPhone. Find a system that works for you, and create a to-do list for everything you want to achieve in the day and week.
Since my gym has closed and I am no longer driving to the office, one of the rituals I have created is to start and end each work day with a walk. Where it is safe to do so, I love getting outdoors for some fresh air and sunshine. It is a really calming way to begin and end each day, and also acts as a clear boundary so that my work and personal life don’t all morph into one. If you are not able to go outside, then do some other workout or activity that works for you, such as at home yoga.
Creating clear boundaries is incredibly important when it comes to working from home. Create clear physical boundaries as to where in your home you will work, for example on your dining table and not in your bedroom.
It’s also important to create boundaries when it comes to your time. Ensure you work during the work hours you are scheduled to do, and put your laptop away when you have completed your work for the day.
Schedule in regular breaks throughout your work day. I like to have a coffee mid morning, take a lunch break and then have a mid-afternoon tea. Make sure you get up from your workstation to stretch and move around. Sitting down all day and not moving isn’t great for your productivity. It’s also not good for your health in the long term. Make a conscious effort to take breaks and plug them into your calendar so you stick to them.
Whilst it is tempting to roll out of bed and hit your workstation in your pyjamas, make a conscious effort to get ready and get dressed every day. Get out of bed, take a shower and get changed into something that is not your pyjamas. I am not saying you should get dressed as if you were going into the office, but staying in your pyjamas all day can make you feel sluggish and impact your productivity. I opt for comfy loungewear and athleisure when I’m at home.
Health professionals continually talk to the countless benefits of staying hydrated. Drinking plenty of water will boost your productivity and help to prevent you from feeling fatigued. Ensure whilst you are working from home, you keep a large, refillable drink bottle next to you throughout the day.
Social distancing and working from home can be quite isolating, particularly for those of us who are accustomed to being around lots of people every day. Make a conscious effort to keep communication open with your team, and should you require support with a project or task, you should reach out. The last thing that you want is for people to start questioning what you’re doing when you should be working. Trust is so important when it comes to your relationships and reputation in the workplace, and now is not the time to drop the ball.
There are so many ways to keep in touch with your team while you are working from home and some of these include:
If you’re currently working from home, how have you handled the shift? I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas and experiences – please leave your comments below!