Working from home can be a blessing and a curse. Unfortunately, It is a true joy that many never get the chance to experience, as well as a test of your focus and will power. Working from home erases that line between your personal life and your professional life, which can have many unexpected side effects. In this article, I will try to provide useful tips to remain productive throughout your day as well as tips on how to enjoy the benefits of working from home.
- Take breaks: Some people will find it difficult to work hard enough, but just as many of us find it just as hard to step away. When you work from home, it can be all too easy to skip meals or stare a problem down until your head explodes. When you need to, take a 15-minute break. Check on the kids, do some pushups, go for a walk, do what you need to clear your head and come back refreshed.
- Exercise: When you have the freedom to work from home, it is very easy to adopt unhealthy habits that can interfere with physical activities. On more than one occasion, my Apple Watch has notified me that I had only walked ~1000 steps that day. Combine that with increased snacking I found a few extra pounds to keep me company.
- Make a list: There is no feeling quite like accomplishing a task. The harder the task, the more satisfying it can be to cross it off your list. Don’t let working from home deprive you of this feeling. Start your days/week by making a list of items that need to be accomplished, prioritize and work through them one at a time.
- Talk to your co-workers: Don’t isolate yourself from friends and co-workers. Take some time out of your day to catch up and maintain relationships. Virtual happy hours, team meetings, or a good old-fashioned phone call are all great ways to keep connected.
- Work from a desk or table: This may be the most important piece of advice in this article. Working from your couch, recliner or bed can be extremely tempting but it will have a plethora of adverse side effects; from poor posture, back pain and other discomforts. If you are sitting with your legs extended in front of you for long periods of time you will decrease blood flow. Find a desk or a table that is isolated from as many distractions as possible, a comfortable chair, and follow steps 1 and 2 every couple hours.
- Spend time with your kids: I found this to be especially true once I became a father. I never wanted to be the type of parent that neglected his child for work, there is plenty of time for both. I have found more often than not that I can work my child into my day without disrupting my productivity. If she wants to read a book, I take 10 minutes to read a book with her and usually this gives me the break I need to get refocused.
- Start your day with purpose: Wake up two hours before you need to start work. Take a walk, make a healthy breakfast, organize your schedule and make/update your list for the day. Be ready to go 15 minutes early. Beginning your day with purpose and a list of tasks to accomplish is the key to making the most out of your day. Furthermore, it makes it easier to look back on your day with a sense of pride.
- When you’re done, be done: I feel like some version of this appears in every article about working from home, but it is something I believe in wholeheartedly so it has earned a place of honor in my list. Knowing when to stop for the day is one of the hardest parts of working from home. Not having a commute, long or short, to divide your work life from your home life is a real problem. When your day is over, shut down your computer, take a few minutes to gather yourself, and be home.
There are many ways to make the most of working from home. There isn’t a one size fits all solution nor are there any right or wrong answers. The tips in this article have made me maintain focus and become a more productive individual. The important thing is that you take the time to be focused, organized, and engaged with your work while also enjoying all the benefits that being home with your family has to offer.