Working from home definitely has its perks - However, It can also be quite challenging if you're not prepared. It's a great way to improve your work-life balance, but it takes some adjustment. No more commuting, no need for business clothes, and best of all – you can take breaks whenever you want! But that also means it's up to you to set up a productive routine and stick to it.
Here are 10 tips to help you have a productive and balanced day while working from home.
- Set Your Goals
- Have A Routine
- Have A Dedicated Workspace
- Eat Well
- Get Dressed
- Set The Tone
- Get Active
- Connect With Your Co-workers
- Celebrate The Wins
- Communicate Your Schedules
#1 Set Your Goals
The first step in having a productive day while working from home is to set your goals. Before jumping into tasks, take time to define your objectives and prioritize the ones that need to be addressed right away. Working with an outline of what needs to be done can help you stay focused on the bigger picture and avoid getting distracted by non-essential tasks.
Some Of Our Favorite Ways To Do This Are:
- Time Blocking
- Top Three Goals
- Sorting Tasks Into Important or Not, and Urgent or Not Urgent
- Identifying Your High Productivity Times
Time Blocking is when you schedule events in your calendar to block out and dedicate certain times of your day to work on specific tasks. This can be really helpful for planning around meetings and scheduling out your whole week. It's also a great way to see how long different tasks/projects take you, which in turn helps you set more realistic goals for yourself. You can read more about time blocking here.
Top Three Goals
If you're not a fan of scheduling your entire day, focusing on your top three goals can be a good alternative for you. Essentially you just start every day by figuring out what your top three goals for the day are going to be and then do your best to focus on those and try to complete them. Just remember to be compassionate with yourself if you weren't able to get them all done. Maybe they took longer than you thought they would, or you were missing an element you needed!
Sorting Tasks Into Important or Not, and Urgent or Not Urgent
Whether you are time blocking or focusing on your top three goals, knowing how to sort out your to-do's is very important. This is helpful for both work tasks and home tasks like chores. After you create your to-do list or have your to-do list ready, run each item on your list through the chart above, then handle them accordingly.
Identifying Your High Productivity Times
Let's face it your whole day is not going to be you at your peak productivity, that just doesn't happen and is an unrealistic goal. However, there are parts of the day where you'll have an hour to a few hour chunks that you'll find you do tend to be the most productive! This will vary from person to person, for some it'll be first thing in the morning, some in the afternoon, and some in the early evening. The important thing is to identify when that chunk of time is for you and use that time as your "big project that needs to get done" time. The rest of your day, when your energy levels are lower and you maybe find it a little harder to stay focused, work on the simpler or repetitive tasks.
#2 Have A Routine
Having a routine is key when it comes to staying productive and balanced while working from home. The structure can help you stay focused, organized and on task for the day. It's also important to keep in mind that everyone's routine looks different, and there is no "right" way to do things. Having a good morning routine can help start your day off on the right track, and is not always something you can always do in a traditional office environment.
One to keep in mind when creating your routine is to keep regular work hours, this will help you keep a consistent workflow. As well as making sure you are taking breaks and moving your body throughout the day. Make sure to include time for meals, snacks, exercise, and other activities that help you stay energized and productive.
Finally, remember to be flexible with your routine. Distractions happen, and while we'd like to avoid distractions completely sometimes that's not always possible. If you find yourself scrolling social media apps and are having a hard time staying focused, instead of trying to remove social media from your day entirely, try to make it a part of your routine. Take a scheduled 10-15 minute break to scroll social media and then get back to work. Just be sure to keep yourself to that 10-15 minute limit and try not to scroll outside of that time.
A bonus to working remotely is that you can also accommodate personal priorities into your routine. Breaks can be spending time with a pet, reading a book, or doing some stretching. Since you are working from home this can really help your work-life-home-life balance.
#3 Have A Dedicated Workspace
One of the hardest things about remote work can be trying to keep work and home separate. The best thing you can do to try and combat this is to have a dedicated workspace. It would be a spot where your computer is set up and that's only used for working. This can be a really good way for your mindset to shift and realize now it's work time vs now it's home time. While you may not always want to work at your desk every day, it's still a good idea to have one.
For the days when the creative juices just aren't flowing there, move! You don't have to work at your desk every day. Maybe the kitchen counter, or on the sofa will be better for you, you can even go to a nearby coffee shop. Switching things up can help keep things interesting and can help with productivity.
Lastly, take time to set up your workspace for the day. Set up your computer, and tidy up any paperwork or notes you may have left out from the previous day. A clean work environment helps for a distraction-free, focused day.
#4 Eat Well
One of the most important things you can do for yourself when working from home is to make sure to eat well. Since you're home you'll have more time to make yourself a good breakfast with coffee or tea to start your day, as well as take the time to eat lunch. So take the time to make yourself something good and filling, and remember to drink plenty of water.
#5 Get Dressed
Don’t stay in your pajamas all day. You don't need to get dressed like you were going to the office, but you should switch out of your pj's into something different for the day. This is another good indicator and mental shift that it's time to work. Working from home can still mean comfy clothes just give them a bit more effort, they can be matching sweat sets, or a nice cozy sweater, and some leggings.
For the colder months investing in a good pair of slippers, or having a shawl or blanket at your desk, can also be a good addition to your wardrobe. Some people find that wearing shoes when they work from home can help them stay focused and on task too.
#6 Set The Tone
Along with taking the time to set your goals for the day, and preparing your desk, you should also take some time to set the tone for your day. Find or make a playlist with good music to keep you focused and motivated! Additionally, light a candle or turn on a wax melt or an essential oil infuser. Smells and scents can help boost your mood and help you focus. Scents are also linked to your memory and help your brain remember what it should be doing! And so can music.
Some Of Our Favorite Playlists:
#7 Get Active
Go for a walk, go to the gym, do some stretching, play with your dog or cat. Anything that gets you up, moving, and out of your chair. Throw on your favorite tunes and have a little dance party!
Make good use of standing while working with a sit/stand riser or desk. Sitting all day does a number on your body so help it out by staying active.
Most importantly, don't forget to get some fresh air! Working from home it can be really easy to not step outside for a few days since you don't have to travel anywhere. However, fresh air is good for you, so take some time and step outside, grab the mail, throw some snowballs for your dog, or just take a deep breath.
#8 Connect With Your Co-workers
Stay connected with your team – Schedule a video chat or have phone calls and just talk! Catch up! Having those interactions and conversations will help you feel more connected while working from home. Try to make them a regular part of your week. One of the main drawbacks for remote workers is that they don't get those face-to-face interactions with other remote employees on a daily basis and virtual meetings and conference calls are one of the ways you can still get those interactions.
#9 Celebrate The Wins
Celebrate the wins, big or small! You can do this with your team, by yourself with a simple checklist where you can cross off items, or with a friend/partner. Whether it’s finally sending that email or completing the project you’ve been working on for the last week/month, every victory is worth celebrating!
#10 Communicate Your Schedules
If you work from home with other people like family members or friends – communicate your schedules! Communicate when you’re in meetings and when you're supposed to be working. Set your expectations together, and be each other's accountability partners. By sharing your calendars and communicating with them, you'll help keep stress levels low. Plus, with fewer distractions you'll be able to stay focused and stay productive. Build that support network. Set boundaries. Have some ground rules.
Whether you're just starting out working from home or you've been doing it for a while, hopefully, these tips will help make your days a bit more productive and balanced. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out – we're always happy to help!