A lot of us have been thrown into working from home without any prior warning.
You might fully embrace it and love working from home. Alternatively, you’ve got your set up ready, you’re 5 minutes in thinking you’ve cracked it, then suddenly have the urge to put a wash on, grab a cup of tea and sit on the sofa watching Phil and Holly on This Morning.
Working from home can be tough, and a struggle to be as productive as you would be in an office.
It doesn’t come naturally to me to sit down without any thought and start working from home. I’ve worked from home quite a bit over the years so thought I would share some tips on how I navigate it. I’m definitely more on the extraverted side too and thrive in an office environment, so if like me it’s a struggle, I really hope this is useful during what is a pretty scary time.
Find a routine that works best for you
Routine is everything. I was tempted to share my routine but it’s going to look so different for everyone, and it’s all about finding what works best for you. Without a routine the days can feel long and impossible to get into work mode. I’m starting my working day slightly earlier at 8am because I know I’m more productive in the mornings. Honestly I have to be super disciplined, I can’t have my phone next to me because I’m easily distracted and I work well in 40-1 hour bursts. Recognising what works best for you and building a routine around that works really well.
Take self care up a notch
I’ve spoken about what self care means to me before, but I feel like now more than ever it’s important to step it up. Believe me, I’m one of the first to eat the cake if it’s someones birthday in the office, but I’m going to be consciously eating well and drinking more to feel good through the day. I’m also going to try and spend less time on social media, it’s a great way to stay intouch with others but can lead to hours of scrolling through Tiktok if I’m not careful (yep, jumped on the Tiktok bangwagon).
Take note of what distracts you
For some working in silence is best, or having the tv on as background noise works well. I fall somewhere in the middle, in the office I can work well in silence, but at home I need the radio as background noise. I find that podcasts and the TV are just too distracting and I end up focusing on those instead of work.
Get dressed and ready for the day
This is a big one for me. I know some people actually feel good in pyjamas and can still work productively from home, but having a shower and getting ready for the day like normal really sets me up. I definitely dress for casually and just try to go for something that’s comfortable, but that I still feel put together in.
Have a designated space to work
Hopefully your employer haven’t sent you home to work if you don’t have access to some sort of desk or dining room table. The temptation to work from bed/ the sofa is there, especially if you have a laptop. It goes without saying that having a designated work space helps keep your work and home life a little more separate and hopefully easier to switch off at the end of the day.
Keep your space clean
Before I start working I make sure not only my table is clear but the area around me too. This is how I avoid the urge to clean when I should be working, I make sure it’s all done before I actually start work so I can focus on that. Lighting a candle and making the space feel cosy with lots of natural light also really helps.
Stay in contact with others if you can
Having your phone out of arms reach when you’re trying to work is a good idea (if you can, I know every job won’t allow for this). But video calling a friend or a colleague on your lunch break if you’re missing company can give you that little boost to get through the afternoon. I always speak to my mum on the drive to work usually, so I’ll check in with her in the mornings as usual then start my working day.
Be organised and plan the night before if you can
Like you would have to if you were commuting to work, plan your food the night before so you don’t spend your breaks making lunch. This also goes for planning your work, get as organised as you would in the office.
Set out 3 clear things you want to achieve
Linking to being organised, try and have 3 achievable things you want to get done noted so you have clear goals to work towards. There’s nothing better than knowing you’re getting things done and it’s a good way to keep on top of workload.
Be kind to yourself
Keep a note of the achievements you’ve made in the day and focus on that. It’s really not easy to adapt to working from home for everyone, but take stock of the amazing things you’re getting right and take extra care!
When I stick to these things I find that I actually get more done at home and can be more productive. Finding what works for you can take a few days, but have self compassion and try to avoid too much news/ social media.
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