Is working from home new for you? Here are 5 tips to help you get productive FAST (I’ve been working at home since the 90’s…):
- Establish a routine
This can help setup the mindset for work in an unfamiliar place. For example, I get up and get ready like I’m going to go out to meet someone every work day. Even though I dress very casually, I do get dressed…no PJs and bunny slippers for me! I normally have a set start time, a lunch break and a planned end time. I even have a little routine I do when I sit down at my laptop.
- Let others in the house know when you’re on a conference call/webinar
When I have a webinar or call scheduled, I tell my husband AND I put a sign on my door that plainly says – “On a webinar, please stay out!” For little ones, you may want to get a picture of a stop sign and tape that to the door knob and be sure to explain to them what a stop sign means in this case. You can also use this approach when you really need to focus on something (e.g., a deadline, an update for your manager) and you need to minimize distractions.
- Use a headset or earbuds for your calls
I know this sounds a little silly, but trust me, you don’t want a crick in your neck because you’re trying to hold the phone between your shoulder and head. You may think holding the call using your speaker phone is fine. However, that means everyone in your home can hear your conversation AND the person on the phone will hear everything going on in your home (e.g., your dog barking, your neighbor’s lawn crew, your kids playing).
- Take SHORT breaks
Working at home without having your co-workers around can sometimes feel isolating. Checking your home email, Facebook, doing laundry, etc. is natural; however, these things can be huge time drains that will negatively affect your productivity. One tool I use all the time is the timer on my phone. For example, if I take a break to check FB, I’ll set my timer for 5 minutes. Then when the timer goes off, I can make a conscious decision about going back to work or not. This prevents me from looking up an hour later wondering where the time went.
- Do something physical
Sitting at your desk all day can take a toll on your body. Before work, during lunch or after work get your body moving. Even though we are practicing social distancing, there are still things you can do. For example, you can take a walk, take the kids outside to run around (and you run around with them!), or do some yoga using a YouTube video.
I love working from home! It may take a little time to figure out how to make it work for you. Be patient with yourself during this unprecedented time. Before you know it, you’ll have the “working at home” rhythm you need to be super productive!