Contrary to popular opinion, working from home can be difficult. It takes a lot of purposeful planning and requires diligent time-management skills. Many people are suddenly finding themselves working remotely, often in close quarters with their children, partners, and family. How can you stay focused when you’ve been displaced from a professional environment?
1. Start Work as Early as Possible
Rising before the sun is a habit shared by most successful people, but this can be an unrealistic expectation for most. Try to start your at-home workday at the same time to simulate your office schedule. Starting your day earlier also provides you with fewer distractions, so you have a fixed time to work on your own projects with no one to bother you.
2. Dedicate Your Mornings to ‘High-Value’ Work
After that initial cup of coffee, you’re at your most productive! Try to focus on accomplishing what are called ‘High Value’ tasks. According to LinkedIn, these are tasks that move you toward achieving your bigger goals. It can be tempting to spend your morning planning out your day, but don’t waste your productivity on trying to wrangle in your every-changing schedule. It pays to spend your morning focusing on your essential tasks.
3. Prepare For a Successful Morning in Advance
Plan your day the night before! While you’re brushing your teeth, in the shower, right before bed, it doesn’t matter; at the end of your day is the best time to identify tomorrow’s high-value tasks. This is when you will give you back a lot of wasted hours in the morning and lower your stress levels. The first quiet hour of the morning can be an ideal time to focus on meaningful work without being interrupted.
4. Separate Your Work Zone From Your Relaxing Zone
Working from home can make it difficult to separate workspace from your relaxing space. Set boundaries mentally (or physically if the urge to ‘work from your bed’ is too strong) to prevent yourself from mixing the two spaces. This will help keep you in work mode during the day and allow you to unwind easily at night!
Some of us are lucky to have a separate desk to work from at home, but not everyone. Our answer to that predicament is: Put your unused dining room table to use! Since no one is hosting dinner parties any time soon, your dining room table is the perfect makeshift work desk. Set up your workstation there where you know you won’t be bothered so your brain gets spatially wired to think of your dining room as the place where work happens.
This is something every is struggling to do right now with the enforced social distancing. The fact is, we need human interaction to stay healthy, productive, happy, and SANE! Virtual meetings can help fill the holes in our social lives. Reach out to your friends via Zoom, facetime, or other video conferencing apps. Make sure to check in with your loved one regularly, and prioritize laughing and light-hearted conversation!
Working from home is turning out to be more challenging than most of us realized. Get yourself in the right mindset by following these tips, and your productivity and mental health will thank you for it!