Most of us will find ourselves working from home at the moment and this can be a tough adjustment for anyone not used to it. I have been working from home since before it was mandatory and I learnt the hard way about some of the pitfalls but also uncovered the positives that come along with it. So this week we take you inside my daily routine and how I like to structure my day whilst working from home. Plus I share a few of my top tips along the way to help you be productive at home: from setting a good routine, putting on pants and warning you of the dangers of daytime television…
Whilst I have worked at home for a while now, it took me a while to find my groove. If working from home is new to you, then it’s all about creating a structure and routine that works for you! Some of my top tips to being productive at home are:
- Get a Head Start
Wake up at the same time you normally would if you were preparing to go to work. You won’t have to do your morning commute so chances are you’ll get to work early. Take advantage of this opportunity and get a head start on your work day.
- Establish a good routine
Routine is key to being productive at home. Structure a 9-5 work routine that works for you and your lifestyle. Everyone’s routine will be slightly different depending on your circumstances but make sure you bring regularity to it. This will make it easier for you to get into a rhythm again. Wake up, get to work and finish work at the same time each day.
- Complete High Priority Tasks First Thing
Complete your high priority tasks first thing in the morning – before anything else. Your attention is often most focused at the start of the day so dedicate this time to completing urgent or complex tasks. Set a challenge each morning to tick 2-3 tasks off your to do list, this will give you a head start on the rest of your day. If you’re not a morning person then identify which hours in the day you are most productive and be sure to dedicate this time to completing your challenging tasks.
- Put on Pants
It can be tempting to wear track pants all day every day when you’re working from home but showering and getting dressed is an important part to being productive at home. Make sure this continues to be a part of your morning routine. You can enjoy dressing more casually than you normally would in the office, however it all comes down to attitude. Take yourself seriously, just because you’re working from home doesn’t make you any less of a professional. I guarantee that you achieve far more during the day and will be less inclined to slouch around on the couch and watch Netflix. Trust me, I’ve tested the theory. So put on some pants already.
- Get in the zone
There can often be a lot of distractions when working from home, so do what you can to create an environment that allows you to be as productive as possible. Clean your workspace, clear your desk and remove any distractions, use noise cancelling headphones, position your desk in a quiet area of the home.
- Take regular breaks
It’s important to take regular breaks throughout the day. Make a cup of tea, go for a walk around the block or get on top of some household chores like washing. These breaks in your work day are important distractions, that will help clear your mind so you can be more ready to focus when you return to your desk. Allocate more time to really switch off over your lunch break and don’t take your food back to your desk! Lunch time = your time. Spend it doing something for yourself. Go for a walk. Sit in the sun. Exercise. Face Time a friend. Watch TV… which brings me to my next tip.
- Face Time
One of the biggest changes that I had to get used to when working from home is that you don’t have that human interaction you normally would working in an office. It’s important to have that connection with other people. Schedule team meetings via skype or zoom so you can chat to your work mates face to face. Otherwise pick up the phone and call someone whether it’s a client or a colleague. If I don’t have anyone work-related to chat to, I like to phone a friend or call my mum, she is always happy to hear from me.
- Identify your work pattern
Learn to identify when you are at your most productive and when you are not. Schedule your tasks accordingly. In the afternoon I tend to lose focus so I like to do tasks such as planning or creative brainstorming rather than tasks like writing articles or financials.
- Prepare for success
At the end of each day, review what you have done that day and what you have upcoming. Then prepare a to-do list for the next day, making sure that the most urgent or challenging tasks are at the top of the list. These are the tasks that you will complete first thing in the morning the following day, when you are most switched on.
- Log off
Once you’re done for the day, you’re done! Log off. Switch off. This can often be the hardest part but it’s important to set boundaries for yourself. When you work and when you don’t. Some days might require you to work longer hours, but do your best to create a routine and stick to it.
This video was presented by Suncorp and next week we share some of the ways we are maintaining our wellbeing whilst spending so much time from home! So stay tuned. In the mean time be sure to check out our Home Office Makeover to see how we created a Productive and Inspiring Space to Work from Home.