Working from home...the ultimate freedom, right? Actually, it can be quite the opposite if you are not prepared for it.
While the thought of spending all day in our pajamas and working from the sofa sounds great, chances are, you aren't going to get much done if this is your plan.
Staying focused, sticking to schedules, and managing our time is extremely important with any job, but it becomes absolutely crucial when we make the decision to work from.
I've put together a few tips to help keep you focused, productive, and make the most of your work-from-home experience.
Wake up early
Unfortunately, this is not a vacation and you are still working, wake up the same time that you normally would for work (less commuting time), shower, eat breakfast, and get yourself prepared for the day. Also, begin your workday at the regularly scheduled office hours, this will keep you on your normal routine and be easier for clients to reach you and know your availability.
Schedule your breaks
When you're in the office, you likely have a couple of 15-minute breaks and a lunch break that are scheduled at certain times throughout the day. Keep the same schedule at home! Your body and mind are attuned to this cycle and you'll find that you will be much more productive if you remain on the same schedule.
Your calendar will be just as, if not more, important now that you're working from home. Follow your calendar, check it regularly, and reschedule/reprioritize things that need adjusting. It's extremely easy to get distracted working at home, the laundry needs to be done, dishes need to be washed, the dog wants to play, etc. so sticking to your calendar and regularly updating it will assist in keeping you focused and ensure your tasks are being completed accordingly.
Prepare for video calls in advance
Unfortunately, pajamas are not acceptable for work-related video calls. Be sure to make yourself presentable, a video call is just as important as an in-person meeting, so you need to bring your best self. Also, be prepared with a notepad and pen, have your coffee ready or a glass of water, whatever you may need during the meeting so that you're not distracted or leaving your desk unless absolutely necessary.
Get up at least once every hour and move your body. Do a quick walk around the house, do some squats, stretches, anything to keep the blood flowing. We spend a lot of time sitting in the office as well, however, we tend to get up to grab something off the printer, ask a colleague a question, walk to the boardroom for a meeting, so when working from home, we need to remember to keep our body moving, even if it's just in short burst every hour or so.
Mornings vs afternoons
You're likely going to be a lot more motivated in the morning, so I strongly suggest scheduling your high priority tasks for the morning and working on things that are less urgent in the afternoons.
Pro tip: Don't save the "boring" tasks for the afternoons, it may seem like a good idea but when you've lost your daily motivation and focus, it's going to be extremely hard to concentrate on these tasks.
Social media and news
Unless Facebook is your employer, I strongly suggest avoiding this website during working hours. If you enjoy reading the news or catching up on social media, do this first thing in the morning, spend no more than 30 minutes and then get on with your regularly scheduled workday.
Working from home is an adjustment for all of us, it's not something that we are accustomed to and it can be hard to settle into. I hope these tips will assist you in making the best of your work-from-home experience!