Over the last week, thousands of workers have been asked to stay home and work remotely as we try to practice social distancing. I’ve been working from home for well over a year and prior to that spent about 2 years working from home for another role. Needless to say, I’ve learned some of the do’s and don’ts of being productive from the comfort of your couch (Tip #1 – don’t work from your couch!). I provided some of these tips in an earlier post, but felt like this would be a great time to re-share and update some of that advice. If you’re working from home for the foreseeable future, here are my top 3 tips for staying on top of your game.
- Keep a Routine. Now that you no longer have to commute or even get dressed, it can be tempting to throw your morning routine out the window. But, I highly recommend that you try to keep as much of your routine in place as possible. It will not only make it less painful when you eventually have to get back to regularly scheduled programming, but it will also help you maintain a sense of normalcy in these times that are anything but normal. Use the time you’d normally use to commute to get ahead on projects so you can finish earlier. Or, you can do things you don’t ordinarily get to do in the mornings – take a quick walk, meditate, journal, read the news, have an extra cup of coffee or tea, or plan for the day/week ahead. And, while working in your pajamas can be fun every now and again, getting dressed can really affect your level of motivation. You can be comfortable, just don’t wear the same clothes you wore to bed the night before.
- Designate a Workspace. Nothing is more tempting that working from your bed or your couch while sitting in front of the TV. And honestly, I’ve done that a time or two (who hasn’t when given the option?). But, if you want to maintain productivity, you really should avoid being too comfortable. Because I work from home on a daily basis, I have an office set up with a desk, printer, and all of my office supplies. If you have a spare room to convert into a temporary office, great! Use that to do most of your work and take your calls. If you don’t have any extra space, you can set up a corner of your dining room table or set aside some other designated space that will operate as your office. Having a space that is solely for work can help you better concentrate and avoid napping on the job.
- Get outdoors. In the past, I’ve advised getting out to see people by working from a co-working space or coffee shop. And when things normalize, if you work from home on a regular basis, I always think it’s great to get out and connect with other humans. But for now, it’s probably wisest to avoid public, crowded spaces. That doesn’t mean, however, that you need to stay indoors 24/7. Make sure that you’re getting outside for some period of time during the day. Take a walk or go for a run, ride your bike, go for a swim (though, I would avoid community pools), or just sit outside in the sunshine for half an hour. Getting some Vitamin D is not only good for your body, but for your soul, especially when you’re cooped up at home most of the day.
What are you doing to stay on track while working from home?
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