Working From Home Made Simple!
Working from home has been my life for the past 30 years! I wouldn’t have it any other way! With all the recent craziness, many of you have been forced to work from home without much warning! It might even be something you not too keen on if you are energized by working in the company of others.
When you don’t have a choice about working from home, all you can do is adjust and make the most of it. Perhaps you will discover that there are some pretty sweet perks to working at home!
Here are 8 of my favorite work from home tips:
1. Create A Rhythm
This is not a rigid eat breakfast at 7:00am kind of rhythm, but rather an easy flow to your day that eliminates the need to start from scratch every day with how to run your day. In my experience, having a quality morning routine and evening routine significantly helps.
It may help you to break down your day into blocks: before work, during work, after work. For example, I work through my morning routine ending it with breakfast. That signals the start of my work day. When I wrap up my work, I begin my evening routine, starting with making dinner.
Having a rhythm doesn’t mean you have to follow it religiously every day. It’s a starting point that you can make adjustments to depending on the tasks for the day.
Having a flow to your day allows you to free up brain power – you already know what’s next!
So, what do you want your morning routine to look like? Your work day rhythm? Your evening routine?
2. Set Up A Work Space
If you attempt to work on the couch and catch up on the soap operas you’ve missed, it will take you longer to complete your work and the quality will suffer.
Create a space that is a designated work space and free of distractions. If there are others in the house with you, being able to shut a door is a bonus!
Make sure everything you need is easily accessible in your work space, even if it is temporary. Your work space should be comfortable – you will be spending a good bit of your time there. Equip your work space with everything you need to function. Don’t forget things like headphones, mics, and a working internet connection. And beyond the practical, surround yourself with things that bring you joy! Maybe that’s a candle, a photo, or a quote – something that will make you smile!
How will you make your work space conducive to getting work done?
3. Create & Communicate Boundaries
There are two types of boundaries you need when working from home:
You need boundaries to keep yourself focused that include things like…
- Setting business hours – and when you are done…you are really done!
- Restrictions on social media and phone during business hours.
- Doing one task at a time so you can focus.
- Responding to emails at specific times.
You also need boundaries for the other treasured folks in your home.
- A door shut means don’t interrupt me – at my house a ticking timer communicates the same message.
- Specific times when you can be interrupted – for example, I will answer all your questions at lunch time or 10:30am – whatever suits your rhythm best.
Be sure to communicate your boundaries to those who need to know what they are. Don’t expect them to automatically know them and cooperate with you.
4. Make A Plan!
Yes! Every day make a plan! You may wish to make your plan before you head to bed, or first thing in the morning as a part of your morning routine like I do. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. I create my “plan” or “to-do list” in a dot journal which I previously shared here. Following these steps helps me:
- Write down everything that needs to be done. It can be helpful to break larger tasks down into smaller pieces.
- Determine your “Top 3” that you want to complete today
- Prioritize your remaining items and write them in priority order on your to-do list. I include non-work items as well; tasks I can complete on my breaks.
- Tackle your “Top 3” tasks first! Then, work your way through your list as far as you can during your work hours. If you need to make adjustments along the way, that’s fine, but get in the habit of prioritizing.
- Check things off as you complete them so that you feel a sense of accomplishment.
- Be realistic about what you can accomplish in a day. Eliminate tasks that aren’t necessary and delegate tasks others can do so that you can focus on more important work.
5. Celebrate The Perks!
What I love most about working from home is the ability to get personal tasks done while I am working such as laundry, dishes, vacuuming, baking bread, or whipping up a batch of brownies. These are all great “break” activities. More on that later.
Another perk I enjoy is that on days I don’t have video meetings or in person meetings, I save time by not having to get “get cute” or public ready. This is a personal choice. If you work better by getting presentable for work, more power to you!
You know what else saves me tons of time? Not having to commute! That’s totally worth celebrating!
6. Take Breaks
I am the first to admit that I get lost in my work – It’s that fun to me. However, I know that sitting at a desk and working 8 hours straight is not healthy. In fact, it’s been described as the new smoking – that’s how unhealthy just sitting is for you! That’s one of the reasons that standing desks or treadmill desks are so popular.
Taking breaks is beneficial for health reasons and for productivity reasons. When you resume working, you return fresh and perhaps your mind has had some time to process and come up with new solutions as you switch gears.
It’s important to step away from your screen, move, and engage in an activity other than work such as taking a walk, talking to a friend on the phone. You may even wish to do both at the same time! As I mentioned before, I often tackle a chore or read a book, or begin my dinner prep.
7. Maintain Your Life Outside of Work
Perpetually working is a sure way to limit your productivity. You are not your work. Nurture the others areas of your life. Connect with friends and family. When we are able to again, meet a friend for lunch. Do something you love every day – an activity that fills you up and brings you joy. Practice healthy self-care. Spend time alone with God!
Remember, what you do outside of work are the activities that are going to enhance your ability to work.
It’s not about working more because you work is home, it’s about working less!
8. Train Your Kiddos!
For many of you, juggling kids and work is a new reality right now. Work is not going to look like what it did before. Accept that and proactively create a new (perhaps temporary) normal. Having homeschooled all three of my children all the way through high school, managing time with them and time to work was essential. Our rhythm was to work on school together in the morning, and then they accomplished solo assignments in the afternoon while I worked.
Recently we had two of my amazing grandchildren with us for several days while they welcomed a new sibling. Since my husband and I both work from home, we tag teamed.
As you establish a flow that works for your family, you just might find that…
- You are forced to focus and get work done in a shorter amount of time.
- Your children appreciate knowing what to expect, learn to respect boundaries, are able to help out more with chores.
- Being more independent and responsible is something your children actually like!
- Boredom soon translates into a surge of creativity for your kids.
- You become a more consistent parent.
- Being together is actually a whole lot of fun!
Being forced to work from home can actually be positive! It doesn’t mean that will automatically happen. It will require you to be intentional about creating a structure that serves all of you!
Working at home works best when you…
- Communicate clearly to your kids what to expect
- Set aside time to interact with them that they can count on
- Help them understand the importance of boundaries like a closed door
- Have a system for communicating what needs to be done for chores and school
- Provide some activities for them to engage in once their “work” is complete. Games, movies, crafts, books – something that interests your crew.
I trust this time is short for all of us. And there is a part of me that secretly hopes you’ll be able to work from home more after the dust settles with Covid-19!
What’s your favorite work from home tip?