Working from whether it is a temporary or permanent situation can be a strange transition from traditional office working.
It involves different types of focus and self-motivation.
Thankfully there are steps and processes you can take to improve your days while working from home.
And to ensure that you are able to get as much, if not more, done while working from home.
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Tip 1 ~ Maintain a daily schedule
The first and arguable most important tip for a successful work from home day is to create and maintain a daily schedule.
What the daily schedule truly entails is going to be different from person to person and from industry to industry but the basic concepts are universal.
If your job doesn’t already set a start and end time for your work day then determining those times should be the first part of creating a daily schedule.
From there you can start blocking your day into different time intervals. Figure out if 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or hour intervals work the best for you. Or a combination of those intervals.
Then you’ll fill in those intervals with things like answer emails, work on new proposal, finish xyz project… make sure that you are being realistic with the time blocks you are assigning items.
The last part of this is to also schedule your lunch break and small breaks throughout the day!
Tip 2 ~ Wake up at a regular time
This aligns with the first tip but waking up at the same time and an appropriate time is incredibly important for correctly working from home.
It can be tempting to roll out of bed 10 minutes before you need to log on but that is not the most productive or efficient way to start your day.
Set your alarm for the same time each day that you are working in the week and try to set it for 45-60 minutes before you start work. This will give you time to make breakfast, coffee, walk the dog, eat breakfast, etc.
For more tips on waking up earlier here is a whole guide: Learn To Get Up Early Every Day.
Tip 3 ~ Set up a proper work space
Having a correct and proper work space will help working at home feel more like “work”.
If this is a permanent change for you then it is incredibly important to ensure you have a desk that is ideally in a pretty isolated part of your house.
If this is temporary it may not be logical to buy a desk if you don’t have one but if you can convert a table into a work space that you don’t have to tear down and re-set every day that will help you a lot.
Keep your work area as clean and organized as you can. If you have the means then get some supplies to make the work area stay organized!
If you can’t get a work space on a desk or on your table then get a lap desk for your laptop so you can work on the couch in a better way.
Tip 4 ~ Use a weekly planner
Weekly planners are helpful whether you are working from home or not but when you are working from home you will have less reminders about deadlines and due dates.
So at the start of your work week make sure that you go through your email and look at all your important projects/assignments and make sure you have all your deadlines written down.
Then go through and give yourself mini-deadlines before the big deadlines in your weekly planner. It will help guide you through your work week and help keep you on top of your work! Staying organized is totally on you during this time.
My favorite planners are from Me and My Big Ideas.
Tip 5 ~ Stay on top of deadlines
Deadlines can quickly become your biggest enemy when working from home. You may not have as many meetings or casual mentions of deadlines while working at home. Which means it is totally up to YOU to make sure you know every deadline.
Following the tip above will help but just having a planner won’t help you if you aren’t staying informed on deadlines. This means being detail oriented when reading and sending emails to make sure you have all the most updated and correct information!
Tip 6 ~ Do not multitask
Multitasking seems like a great idea – listen to your boss talk in a meeting while working on your new project? Right?
No! Multitasking actually significantly decreases your focus and productivity. This is because your brain is forced to rapidly switch in between the tasks you are focusing on. Meaning you are losing time when your brain is switching and your brain has to re-focus on the new activity.
This leads to decreased productivity and an increase in errors in your work. Stop multitasking and focus on one task at a time.
Tip 7 ~ Correctly utilize breaks
Breaks are not something to ignore and pretend you don’t need but they are also not something that you should take advantage of. Especially when you are working from home. It is so easy to end up with a 15 minute break becoming a 45 minute break when you feel unsupervised and unmotivated.
I have a guide on when to take breaks and how long each break should be. Check it out before your first day of working from home. It will help – Learn to Prioritize: Art of Breaks.
Tip 8 ~ Dress for success
Dressing for success does not necessarily mean putting on a full suit even if you normally do for the office.
However, it does mean putting on clean and respectable clothes. Don’t just chill in your pajamas all day. It will keep you from getting into the correct working mood.
Also, make sure that you are ready for any last minute video calls. If that means making sure your hair and makeup are presentable then make sure to add that into your morning routine.
Get a few nice tops that are comfortable and presentable! Like these:
Tip 9 ~ Carefully choose background noise
This means to be logical and reasonable with any background noise.
Music as long as it is pretty calm and doesn’t distract you is perfect. There are tons of playlists already made for this on Spotify if you search “for work” you will find them all.
In general it is best to avoid background noise from a TV. It will distract you and interrupt your focus even if it’s a show you are uninterested in or have seen before. Best to stick to music.
Tip 10 ~ Minimize distractions
Distractions come in a lot of different ways.
And addressing how to best minimize them is going to depend on what distractions impact you the most.
I have a guide on this that is especially important if you try to decide on your distractions and eliminate them on your own and that doesn’t work! Here it is – How To Minimize Distractions.
Tip 11 ~ Work on your procrastinating habits
Procrastinating can end up being the biggest thing that will hold you back from successfully working from home.
Working towards getting rid of your procrastination habits is a difficult process but it is totally manageable! For a bunch of tips and tricks for on how to work towards this goal of less procrastination then check out Pushing Past Procrastination.
Once you can overcome your procrastination habits you will find that you are able to accomplish a lot more while you are working from home.
Best of luck working from home! Drop any questions in the comments!