This whole working from home thing is new for so many people. I personally have been working from home for about 8 years now and have learned many things over that time. While I certainly don’t have all the answers, I wanted to share 10 things that I have learned that might helpyou to be more productive, efficient and successful working from home.
Designate workspace or home office
This one might be the most important on one this list. Setting aside a space strictly for work is key. It can be a full office, a desk or simply a chair in front of a window, just make sure you designate a specific area. This not only helps you to be organized but it helps to get you into the right mindset when you enter that area.
Picking the area is also rather important. You don’t want to choose a spot that is surrounded by distractions such as tv, kids, bed, etc. Find an area as free from distractions as possible.
Define your working hours
It’s so easy to feel like you are always working when you work from home. Having separation between work and home life is important. One of the ways to do this is to set normal working hours and stick to them the best you can. Obviously situations will come up that you need to work later or start earlier, but having a good routine will make things go much more smooth.
Just because you are working from home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be communicating and interacting with others. If you are part of a team, stay in close contact with them via email, phone, video call, etc. Working from home by myself for the past 8 years, I’ve learned that it can get lonely at times. Thankfully I have a business partner that I communicate with on a daily basis. If you are a sole proprietor and don’t have anyone else in your business, reach out to your clients or business contacts consistently. Not only will it help to grow your business, it will also help your mental state and help you not to feel so isolated.
Invest in good technology
If you can, set your space up as if you were working from the office. This will help you be more productive but also help keep you in the working mindset. Some things to consider investing in are a good computer, monitor, internet, webcam and all sorts of different software. These can really go a long way in making your work from home experience more productive and enjoyable.
Develop a Morning Routine
My morning routine typically consists of a shower, get dressed, make coffee and breakfast, read my Bible and then open up my computer to start the work day. This has worked quite well for me. It’s so easy to get out of a routine at home where the distractions are endless. Having a good routine will keep you focused and ready to attack the day.
If you know me, you know I love being outside. I feel it is very important to step out from time to time during the day. Sometimes I will go out to take a phone call and others I will simple step out to get some fresh air. It rejuvenates me and allows me to regroup. If you can’t get outside, take a walk to another room, open a window and breath in some fresh air or simply stand up and stretch for a minute. Find what works for you but make it a priority to do this throughout the day. It is also not good for our bodies to be sitting all day so there are countless health benefits to keeping ourselves moving.
Set family rules when in office
Working from home with a family and/or kids can be a major challenge. If you can establish some ground rules, it will be a much better experience. Obviously this is never going to perfect, especially with young ones running around, but if you can establish some rules early, it can make things so much easier.
Shower and Change
Sounds simple, right? It’s very easy to roll out of bed in our pajamas and right onto the computer to start working. I would not recommend this. Taking a shower and putting on some decent clothes is also a mindset thing. I find a shower helps to wake me up and being clean makes me feel good. Putting on good clothes does the same. Being a little out of it and in pajamas is going to take some time to really get rolling with the day so I would try to steer clear from doing this unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Careful with Social Media
Social media seems to rule so many of our lives. Its so easy when you are working from home to pop open Facebook and start scrolling. Especially in these times when so much is going on, you can get lost and become very unproductive, very quickly. Find what works for you but it’s important to be self-aware if this is an issue for you. If it is, take the proper precautions throughout the day.
Careful with Snacking
I love snacks, I cannot lie. Working 20 feet from the kitchen is a dangerous thing. I can hop out of my seat and grab a snack any time during the day. Be careful how much you are snacking and the things you are putting in your body. This is especially important if you are sitting down all day and are not very active. Putting bad foods in your body will have an even more adverse effect if you are not being active. On the flipside, healthy snacks can have an incredibly positive effect on our mental state and attitude. Do your best to stick to those healthy snacks and your body/mind will thank you for it 10x over.
I hope some of the things above were helpful. I have been doing this for a long time and feel I have a rather good handle on what works and what doesn’t. That being said, everyone and every situation is different. You need to test things out and find out what works best for you. I would love to hear from you about some of your “best practices” regarding working from home. Drop a comment below and let’s keep this conversation going!