June 15, 2020
This guest blog post is courtesy of Elizabeth Shields. Read more freelance writer guest posts.
Elizabeth Shields is a small business owner and writer with a passion for home design, parenting, and healthy living. She also enjoys traveling when she can and is the mom of two boys.
There was a time when working from home was the dream of every worker. Today, because of the ongoing pandemic, most companies are either working remotely or have closed temporarily. If your working-from-home dream has come true during this period, then you’re in luck. You should, however, know that this way of life comes with its own rules on how to be productive. Office space enforces professionalism and efficiency. When you are in your familiar environment at home and doing the things that you enjoy without a supervisor watching over you, you have to be self-motivated and disciplined.
Organize your home office area.
When you’re working from a home office, you know there are a lot of things around they can distract you — pets, partners and kids, to name a few that can barge in whenever they want. One essential way to remain focused and productive when you’re working from home is to create and organize a space that is in line with being in an office. Remove toys, entertainment gadgets, books and other items that are critical for you to use during working hours. It’ll be easier to focus on your work you only see the things you need to use while working from home. As a mom of two, I
have my home office set up in a spare bedroom so that I can shut the door while I’m working to avoid any unnecessary distractions and my children know only to disturb me if it’s really important. (Here’s how you’ll save time and money by working from home.)
Light is so important to have in your home workspace when you want to maximize productivity. It reminds your body that it’s daytime and that you need to be awake. Allow natural light in from the windows without creating a glare on your screen. Having a well-lit working area also ensures that you are clearly visible during video conference calls and online webinars or meetings. If you don’t have natural light available in your home office space, consider buying floor lamps that will keep your work area well lit. Overhead lights are also helpful since they don’t usually cause a glare on your screen.
Working from home requires you to be at your best during work hours but it’s important to disconnect at the end of the day and during scheduled breaks. Take mini breaks for coffee to be enjoyed away from your computer, tackle simple household chores or do a 10-minute home workout.
You can also schedule coffee hours to catch up with colleagues so that you continue to feel like part of a community. It’s important to pace yourself with your workload, especially when you are having a productive day.
Get out of your pajamas when working from home.
It will be difficult to get yourself in the mindset for a productive day working from home if you spend the entire day in your pajamas. Change out of your pajamas and take a shower to mentally and physically prepare for the workday. Dress casually and make sure that your clothes are comfortable. You want to be able to move freely and not pants digging into you that will distract you as you work. Here are some of the top morning habits for a productive day.
Multitask with low-concentration tasks.
Working from home doesn’t make you exempt from everything happening at home. You will sometimes have chores that you will need to complete. Try to schedule video conference calls or interviews when your kids are sleeping if possible. If you have to join Zoom calls or web conferences and can listen in silently, tune in while you’re on a walk, gardening, or folding laundry. Use short breaks at the end of high-concentration activities—like writing articles or work briefs—to empty the dishwasher, throw in a load of laundry or tackle a quick task that will help free up your weekends.
Set a time to “clock out.”
It’s easier to create boundaries when you’re at work. You might have a commute that allows you to mentally shift from work mode into “home” mode when you’re finished for the day. You might find it’s more difficult to maintain a work-life balance when your work and home are in the same location. At the end of your day, log off from your laptop and program your mind to “be at home.” There is a part of you that will be tempted to work all hours of the day because you have access to work 24/7. Let yourself come down from the work high every day and be present at home. If you need to lock away your computer at the end of your workday, do that and pick up smaller tasks from your mobile phone if necessary. (Related: Morning Routines of Freelance Writers and Freelancers Who Work from Home)
You might find that you enjoy working from home and don’t miss being in the office, but remember to leave your home for a break occasionally, watch what you eat so that you stay healthy and find creative ways to keep in shape. This could mean taking a walk to grab groceries instead of driving or taking a bike ride and listening to podcasts, phone call recaps and other activities.
If you’re new to working from home, are you enjoying it?
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