Working from home comes with many benefits. One of the most convenient benefits is the flexibility it offers, allowing a chance to improve on your work-life balance.
However, having a flexible schedule can also be a hindrance to your productivity. Switching to work mode in the morning can be a real struggle, especially knowing that you have the flexibility to work at your own convenient time. The opposite can also happen in the evening where you extend your working hours rather than wind down the day and step away from work.
If you are to be productive working in your home office, you need to be able to step into work at the beginning of your day, charge through your tasks and sign off at the end of the day.
Below are some tips to help you in this.
- Set specific times for work
As simple as it sounds, setting a specific time to start work prepares your mind in advance. You can struggle for a few days, but eventually it becomes natural to step into work when that time clocks. Likewise, set an alarm to remind you to switch off from work at a specific time. Make sure that you actually step out. Resist the temptation to start replying to mails or slipping to social media at this time. Assess your day to determine the time that you are most productive and schedule your day around it. If you are not a morning person, you will find yourself struggling through the hours if you set your time in the morning.
- Have a dedicated office space
At-home office could mean a corner in the living room or bedroom, especially if you have limited space. However, such spaces could be having distractions that are hindering you from working up your day. For instance, working near your bed could be calling you back to sleep in the middle of a workday. If your living room doubles up as a kids’ playroom, you have to deal with the noise. While you can find a workaround to make such workspaces work for you, having a separate room dedicated to work helps. It becomes easier to get geared for the day and remain productive through the day.
“To create a workspace that puts you in the mindset to be productive at home, it is ultimate that you invest in home additions that create the adequate ambiance” – say experts from Solid Construction & Design.
- Have a morning ritual
While you can work in your pajamas, taking a shower and changing into proper clothes gives your mind the perception that it is time for work. Additionally, have a morning ritual that boosts your motivation and morale. It could be something you love such as reading a book or taking a short walk. It could also be sharing something you have learnt with your colleagues.
- Set goals for the day
Just looking at the number of tasks you have remaining is a sure recipe to keep you working longer. However, overworking yourself can diminish your productivity the following day.
Set clear goals for the day and reward yourself when you achieve them. Additionally, plan for the next day and remember to prioritize the most important tasks. You will feel at ease knowing that you have a plan to accomplish your tasks, and you won’t feel guilty for ‘abandoning’ work.
- Ask for clear expectations
One of the worries that come with working from home is whether you are doing enough or whether your managers are pleased with your work. This, in a way, sends you more pressure to work beyond your limits, and find it hard to disconnect at the end of the day.
Ask for clear expectations from your managers. It would also not hurt to ask for feedback on your projects. That way, you will have a clear picture of what you are expected to do in a day, and an easier time disconnecting from once you have accomplished them.
- Plan the next day
Switching from office to home office working has been daunting for most people. Our dynamic daily routine has simply been ‘turned-off’ with the new governmental restrictions due to Covid19. Because of that, in order to have your day as smooth as possible, you need to start planning your day in advance so that you do as much as possible and don’t waste any precious moments. What you can do is, after you finish your work, take 10 minutes of break and simply plan what are you going yo do the next day. This, apart from allowing you to relax and contemplate on what you did during the day, will also give you peace of mind by knowing that you have accomplished something big today, and tomorrow it’s a new day with new projects.
- Treat Yourself
After a long and tiring day, of course, the best way to reward yourself would be will a nice treat. Make sure to take frequent and short breaks either for coffee or simply by going out on the balcony to stretch your legs. If you are allowed to go out, make sure to go down to your neighborhood coffee shop and take a coffee. This will be good for you because first, you will conduct some physical activity, and second you will be able to socialize with some of your neighbors who you probably haven’t seen in a while. Alternatively, if you like to stay at home and not go out, you can probably enjoy a webinar or video that is either a documentary or something funny that will put your mind at ease for a couple of minutes.
There is no one-size-fit-all strategy to work up or wind down your workday when working from home. Everyone has his or her own unique challenges depending on their type of work and circumstances. The above tips give you a place to start from. Keep assessing your situation to know what works for you. You will eventually be able to tailor-make your day in a way working up and winding down becomes easier for you.
Matt Kimberly is a business analyst with over 10 years of experience based in London. He enjoys using what he has learned from 10 years of different challenges in businesses to help different starters achieve business growth and also help them establish clear goals that take their business from where it is to where the business owner wants it to be.