Working from home can be quite the adjustment when you are used to physically going into the office. It can be easy to lose the motivation you normally have when going into the office. Use these tips for a successful and efficient workday at home.
Wake up Early —
When you don’t have somewhere to physically be in the mornings, sleeping in can seem intriguing. The thought of curling up in your bed all morning, in and out of sleep sounds like a dream. This mindset can put you in a rut for the entire workday. We suggest you get out of bed at the normal time you would, maybe earlier than if you had to go into the office and go far from your bed. The temptation of a comfortable bed can be strong, so take the time when you wake up to go grab some water from the kitchen and start a pot of coffee. You want to keep your routine the same as if you were still making the commute in.
Set a Start and Stop Time —
You should always have a set time that you begin work and a time that you stop working. This gives you an idea of how much time you have to get ready in the mornings and how much time you have to dedicate to work. Remember, this is a professional workday even though it may feel relaxed by being at home.
Get Ready for “The Office” —
This may sound crazy to some. Why would you get ready if you’re just going to be working from home? A productive morning routine is an important step to set the tone for the day. Your body is used to waking up early, getting ready for the office, dressing nice, drinking coffee, etc. This is how your body knows it’s time to get up and get going. Waking up and doing work in your pajamas, without getting ready at all can allow more temptation to go back to sleep. The routine you choose to follow can greatly affect your entire day.
A good morning routine could be:
- Set your alarm for an appropriate time
- Get up immediately — go grab a glass of water and start a pot of coffee
- Brush teeth
- Take a shower — a good shower in the mornings can wake you up even more
- Normal makeup/hair routine — just brushing your hair might suffice but make sure it looks as good as it would for the office
- Get Dressed for the Day — you don’t have to sit at home in jeans or slacks all day, but make yourself presentable as if you were going to be around others
Not everyone has the same morning routine, but if you’re looking for a productive way to begin your day this can be a guide. There’s no need to spend hours and hours getting ready for the day, so block out a specific time in your morning dedicated to this. The next step is the last one before actually getting started on the workday.
Eat a Good Breakfast —
Getting some food in your stomach is the last step you need to complete before diving into your work for the day. A nutritious breakfast is important to get you through the first portion of your day. Some good options might be — yogurt and granola, eggs and bacon, avocado toast, a breakfast smoothie, etc. Make your food and sit down at the table. This can be a good time to look over or create a to-do list. Either way, a to-do list is a key to achieving all your goals for the day.
Make a To-Do List —
Notebooks, physical planners or planning apps are all great places to make a to-do list. There is something satisfying about crossing off a task on a to-do list. Its also good to have a tangible list to hold you accountable to get things done. Once you get to “the office” (whether that is your kitchen table, desk, home office or couch) you should start work by creating a to-do list. You should write down all of the realistic expectations that you need to get done for the day. Write out everything, even small things. It’s important to give yourself credit for all the things you’re doing in a day. You can even make a to-do list at the beginning of the week for all the things you need to get done and then divide those tasks by importance throughout the different days of the week. You can never have too many lists.
Designate a Space to Work —
When working from home, your kitchen table, home office, desk, etc can easily become “the office.” Its very important to choose a spot and keep it the same daily. If possible, make sure the spot you choose to work has:
- Minimal distractions
- Comfortability (but not too comfy, you don’t want to fall asleep)
- Natural light
- All the tools you need for the whole workday
You want to make sure all your tools are in your workspace because you don’t want to get up and have to search for your computer charger or post-it notes in the middle of the workday. This could serve as another avoidable distraction. It’s all about making your workspace professional and desirable because you don’t want it to be a dreadful place to be.
Don’t be Distracted by Household Chores —
When you are working from home, household chores can begin to call your name, especially if your working near the kitchen or laundry room. Suddenly, it seems too easy to get all your household work done because you are home more than normal. Remember that although you are home, you are still working. Keep yourself focused on your work until you get to a designated break to help you avoid getting stuck in a rut when it comes to your work. Using a 15-minute break to load the dishes is fine, as long as you force yourself to come back to the computer when the time is up. As tempting as it may be, save the chores for later.
Communicate Work Hour Expectations to Others in your Home —
Working from home can be tricky when you’re living with others. It’s important to communicate with them your expectations for the workday. Some people don’t mind distractions and can jump directly back into work. However, others can get off track with their daily goals if there are too many distractions.
Coming up with systems can help you and the people you live with avoid conflict. It can be frustrating when you’re trying to focus as distractions are happening all around you. So it’s important to talk about boundaries during the working portion of your day. Designate specific times to have breaks and communicate when those are, so everyone is on the same page.
Try Moving Outside —
Working from home can feel isolating and dull. If you are feeling stuck and out of touch with your creativity, try moving outside to get a change of scenery. Something as simple as moving your work station to your porch or backyard can spark some new creativity.
Taking inspiration from the outdoors is a great way to break up the day-to-day of working from home. If you find it difficult to move your work station outside, spend one of your breaks going for a walk around the block or sitting out in the sun.
Take Breaks —
Taking breaks is a part of working. You would normally get a lunch break while in the office, so you should set aside time for this at home. Setting a specific block of time for a break is important so you don’t get carried away. It’s easy to do that when you have your couch, bed, kitchen, and electronics all around you. You can also take small breaks throughout the workday if you are struggling with staying focused.
Getting up to use the restroom, grab some water, or get a healthy snack could be beneficial in resetting your mind. Some other productive things you could do on breaks are: go for a 30-minute walk around the neighborhood if the weather permits or call a coworker to catch up on what’s going on with their workday. It’s important to stay connected with your office so you know how to properly do your job. See what others need from you, or just get the latest information from a coworker to stay involved. Just because you’re at home, doesn’t mean you have to isolate yourself from what’s going on at the company.
Prep your Lunch the Night Before —
In a physical office, you normally don’t have access to all the appliances you have in your house. People usually prep their lunch the night before, or bring an easy meal to assemble at the office during lunch. You should keep this mindset at home as well because cooking a whole meal for lunch can serve as another distraction. You don’t want to use your break preparing your meal and then going over your designated time for lunch. It’s best to prepare your food the night before or stick to easy food items for lunch.
Avoid Unnecessary Trips to the Kitchen —
While you have access to your kitchen and you don’t need to pack a lunch, it may be best to at least plan out your meals for each day. Planning out your meals saves you unnecessary trips to the kitchen because you already know what you’re going to eat for the day. Self-discipline is necessary, or your eating habits could become unhealthy.
Working from home can be a major adjustment when you aren’t used to it. Creating a routine for yourself will help you work from home successfully. Ordering all of your essential office products is made easy with Office360°’s free home delivery. For any of your office needs, set up an account here. Follow these tips and leave comments below if you have any other suggestions! We’re all in this together.