With the mass panic that has stirred up from COVID-19, thousands of people have to work from home, students of all ages need to finish the school year online, and small children are now home with parents that need to get work done. Sounds like a great time, unless you’re not sure how to be productive while working from home.
Create a happy place for yourself to get work done.
Working from home poses some challenges and doesn’t work for everyone. If you have small children that need to be tended to while you try to get work done, it can be very easy to get distracted and forget that you’re still working. For others, working from home could mean that deadlines are missed because there is no real sense of urgency to get things done on time. The hardest part of all of this is somehow making your escape from work into a place to get work done.
When I found out that I was going to be working from home, I was ecstatic. Don’t get me wrong, I love the company I work for and my coworkers, but I also love working in the comfort of my own home. My original plan was to get set up in the basement, bring home an extra monitor from work, and extend the displays in order to have two monitors going. However, with everyone being home, that wasn’t as easy as I thought. That’s when I decided that I wanted to make my room into my full time work space. I’ve been working in my room with my laptop here and there but nothing too serious. Today, I decided to purchase a monitor and begin my desktop set-up and this was the best decision I’ve made in a while. I can get up every morning and feel like I’m at work in the comfort of my own home.
Something I always make sure of when I’m working is to sit at a table, counter, or desk. I always end up getting distracted while sitting on my bed because that’s where I spend most, if not all my time scrolling through social media. Working from my desk or the kitchen table provides a sense of normalcy. I can also spread out books, my planner, and some pens.
You are not your work. Do your work during work hours and have a life during non-working hours.
Another thing I like to do in order to be successful while working from home is to only work during the allocated hours. At home, I have access to everything I would need to work at any hour of the day. If I did that, I would drive myself crazy and not have balance between work and a personal life. Once the clock strikes 6:30 and I’ve finished everything for the day, I’ll be disconnecting from the VPN and setting my status as unavailable until 8:30 the next morning. Also, it’s important to take a lunch break and step away from the phone and computer. It’s very easy to work through a lunch break without even thinking about it because food is so easily accessible from home. Stepping away between calls or assignments to get a snack or a quick meal is convenient, but leads to forgetting to have an actual meal. I know my lunch breaks will be spent going for a walk, stepping away from the computer, and hanging out with my family.
The last, and probably most important tip for working from home is to stay on a schedule. Working from home can easily turn into one big pajama party if you don’t stick to a routine. It’s important to get up and go through a routine every morning. Without that routine, laziness settles in. Starting Monday, I’ll be returning to my old routine from before the COVID-19 craziness. I’ll get up each morning to work out, eat, and shower before work. What’s nice is I’ll be able to sleep in a little bit since I no longer have an hour commute. My thought process here is that I’m still “going” to work, just moving from my bed to my desk.You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
Working from home can be enjoyable when you have the right supplies and the right environment to make everything run smoothly. Without the proper tools, it’s a recipe for disaster. Leave your tips and tricks for working from home in the comments below!