By now you’ve likely been working from home for a while, possibly even a year which seems bewildering I’m sure. To some it feels as though it started yesterday and to others well, a lifetime ago. As a title, working from home sounds just brilliant and some of you may love it. Roll out of bed, throw whatever clothes on that are lying around and boom you’re ready to go. For others the dynamic of a workplace is an all important escape.
As a self proclaimed expert of being cooped up at home, as many of us have now become. Here’s some tips on retaining sanity whilst working from home.
1. Plan Your Days
First of all, nothing works without a plan. Just think of the government, they didn’t bother making plans and look where we are now! Without a plan, things go wrong, you drift from the focus and end up in all sorts of mess. SO, have a plan!
There’s a couple of ways to go about it. For the organised type you’ll likely have a diary, or a formal schedule of upcoming events. For the cooler, less organised folk a to do list will work just fine. Whether this is on your phone, your hand, a napkin, who really cares as long as it exists. Just make sure the tasks for the day, the week or the month are written down and ticked off as you do them.
A good little insider tip: If you’re a morning person (who in their right mind is?) do your important things in the morning. If you’re a normal person, do the opposite. If your brain never wakes up, well… you’re buggered really.
2. Lower Your Expectations
Working from home during a pandemic is something people had never had to do before, unless during the Spanish flu they had a work from home regime in place. You may have a partner, or children or housemates around whilst you work. Whether they are employed or otherwise this can be difficult and as a result your productivity may take a knock (don’t use this as an excuse to slack off though).
Your co-workers/employees are in exactly the same or possibly even more difficult positions so be wary of this too; extend them your gratitude, expect some distractions in zoom meetings whether this a dog bark, a child’s cry and hopefully nothing strange. Just bare in mind everybody is likely trying their best.
3. Start the day off RIGHT
You know those really energetic people who go out for runs at like 5am and seem to have the energy of a 7-year-old who’s eaten a tube of blue smarties? They may actually be onto something. Whilst going for a 5am run may seem far fetched, if you create a home routine for getting up and energised it should reap the rewards in your work. The ‘routine’ can be as simple as eating breakfast every day instead of skipping and maybe even squeeze that run in if you’re feeling wild.
4. Avoid Distraction
Distraction can come in many forms. The internet for one is a whirlwind of a place. You’ll find yourself watching a cat play piano in no time. You may have envisioned working from home as work minus colleagues equals no distractions, in turn equalling tonnes of work done. In reality, people have pets and pets are so cool. They’re enough to distract any human, any human with a heart that is.
Alas, there are some solutions to distractions. Very simple yet effective solutions.
- A good old fashioned timer. Set a timer for work-break shifts.
- Block sites on your laptop/computer. This one is for the naughty folks.
- Stick your phone in a draw. This one does not apply to pets too.
Simple, you are now focussed.
5. Create Space
If you have a work office (check you out), this may not apply to you. If you don’t you need to find a space that’s the following:
- Quiet – nobody needs outside distractions interfering every 5 seconds.
- Convenient – a table, desk or some kind of work surface is necessary.
- Comfortable – No this isn’t your bed. You need to sit up.
- Not your bed.
If you live with a partner, or somebody else working from home… try swapping shifts in different areas to keep it fresh.