With working from home a new norm during the pandemic, it may be here to stay even after lockdown lifts. Or maybe you run a business from home. Working from home can be the answer to many people’s dreams. But it is not as easy as you think and can be stressful. Anxiety can set in if you are not as productive as you need to be. So you still need to look after yourself whether you work from home or the office.
Staying productive while working from home is a challenge. There are many distractions such as the laundry that needs doing or you may procrastinate by watching a movie before you start working. Then you may have kids home from school or roommates that distract you. Or maybe your partner yells from across the house asking incessant questions which causes you to lose focus. And if you are working from home because of forced isolation it can be a little depressing when you cannot socialise during the working day. Are you finding you spend too much time at the computer and forget to stop working for the day? This is not good for you.
It can be easy to slip into bad habits when working from home every day. So it is important you look after yourself. Whether it is taking a lunch break or setting a time to stop work, add these into your schedule as a part of each day.
Here are some tips to help you work from home productively.
Set yourself a morning routine
Set yourself up for a productive work day at home with a morning routine. Take your dog for a walk, go for a jog or listen to some music as you have breakfast. Even put on a load of washing while you vacuum the house before starting work. Being productive sets you up for the rest of the day.
Avoid sitting down at the computer screen as soon as you wake up. It is not the best way to be productive. You need time to wake up and clear your head.
Also dress for the office. While it can be comfortable working in your pyjamas, it does not give you the right mindset to get things done.
Have a dedicated workspace
Set up a dedicated workspace. When you do not have a spare room to set up as a home office, set up a desk in a spare corner anywhere there is space. Make sure it is comfortable and has good lighting so you do not strain your eyes. You need a space to work that is stress free, where you can concentrate. And try to keep where you are working away from the main activity of the house if others are home. A space that allows you to walk away from your work at the end of the day is ideal.
Avoid working in your bedroom as this should stay a place unrelated to work. It is where you relax and sleep.
Write a to do list to keep you motivated
When you are not working from the office you have to keep yourself motivated to achieve work goals. Start each day by writing a to do list to help your productivity. A to do list can be a great motivator as well as helping you to stay organised. Break down large tasks into the small steps you need to take to reach a big goal. As you complete each one on the list it helps you stay productive as you make progress. It is so much easier to complete a big project when you break it down. And it feels good ticking off each task as you complete it.
If you feel overwhelmed or there is too much to achieve in one day, prioritise what you have to do straight away and what can wait until tomorrow.
Minimise or block out distractions
When working from home there can be plenty of distractions. Things like you neighbour’s barking dog or a noisy lawn mower or excess noise from others at home. Use noise cancelling headphones to play your favourite music. You may even like to play the soothing sounds of a waterfall, waves crashing at a beach or even rain falling on a roof to activate the calming part of your brain. This will help you concentrate on what you need to achieve and stop you feeling frustrated by the distractions.
Set up boundaries while working to prevent other household members from invading your space. Ask others to consider you off limits when you are in your workspace (unless there is an emergency of course). Even set specific work hours and try to only use your workspace during that time. And set a time to finish work each day. This is very important.
Create a schedule for everything you need to achieve
You need to plan your time meticulously when working remotely or running a business from home. There is only you to hold you accountable but that does not mean you have to spend every minute of the day working. It is important to take breaks to take care of yourself mentally and physically. It is also important to schedule other activities unrelated to work so you get everything done.
Keeping your home clean is important to your work environment. Clutter, untidiness and dirty surfaces will distract you from what you need to achieve. Make keeping the house clean a part of your daily schedule. In an ideal world, you would do the dishes and laundry before you sit down to work for the day. This way these things do not distract you.
Create a schedule for everything you need to achieve. Add in all your commitments. If you are a mother, add in time to care for the kids into your schedule. Schedule in other activities such as playing sport and social activities into your daily or weekly routine.
Let your colleagues know your schedule if you are working for a company. Share your calendar so they know when you are available.
Discourage interruptions during work hours
When working from the office, friends and family do not interrupt your work by dropping in at any time for a coffee and a chat. Do they? Well, it is no different when working from home. Often friends, family and neighbours think that because you are home it is a free for all.
These sort of distractions can cost you a lot of time. You lose focus on what you are trying to achieve which can lead to procrastinating. Once you lose your focus it can take a lot of time to get it back again.
It is important to prevent interruptions to your working day. Working from home is no different than working in the office. Share your schedule with friends and family so they know not to call you or visit just at any time of the day. It is essential to set boundaries and expectations with people. This lets them know you are not freely available because you are working from home. Set strict boundaries. Let people know you are not available during working hours and cannot be interrupted. Also let them know when you are available after hours.
Working from home can make it easy to end up working all hours of the day. This is not good for your self-care. You need a work life balance. Make a clear distinction between what are your work hours and your free time. It is important to enjoy time out from work.
Take regular breaks
When you work from home it is easy to end up with cabin fever so it is important to take regular breaks. Take time out from in front of the computer screen. Go outside for some fresh air. It will clear your head and help you refocus. You will more motivated for the rest of the day.
Even take time for light exercise to boost your motivation and increase your productivity. A 10-minute jog or cardio workout in the loungeroom will give you the energy to keep working. Going for a walk around the block is another way to get some extra exercise so you feel better able to focus on what you need to achieve. Regular exercise helps alleviate any anxiety you are feeling with your new routine.
It is important to unwind after working all day. Take the time to socialise even if it is on Facebook or through Skype. Watch a movie, read a book or enjoy time cooking a healthy meal in the kitchen. Take time out to meditate after work. It gives you the head space to unwind. Download my free Mindfulness Audio Program to listen to while you meditate. It can help take your mind to a new dimension. It will also help you sleep soundly. A good night’s sleep is important for maintaining your mental and physical health.
Set time aside to collaborate
Working from home can be lonely so set some time aside to collaborate. It is not good for your mental health to spend the day not speaking to anyone. When working from the office you have you co-workers to collaborate with and talk to and bounce off as you work.
Set up a daily Skype meeting with a colleague or client or even a friend so you do not feel so isolated. And if you are working from home for your employer, have an open communications channel for team meetings, to receive work assignments, and to give and receive feedback. And, if you do feel lonely, set up a support group you can teleconference with. We are used to being in close proximity with others as we work. Interaction helps your mental wellbeing and inspires your creativity. It motivates you to do a good job which enhances your productivity. There is no reason why you cannot interact with others when you work from home.
We are here to help
Working from home can be daunting especially when you are not used to it or forced to because of isolation. Even though life is starting to go back to normal, if you are struggling, consider reaching out. When you are not coping, contact us to find out how we can help get your life back on track. But, if you reach crisis point, call us immediately. We are here to support you through a crisis and can help you quickly deal with things better.
We can work with you over the phone or via Skype and our Spas are now open again. Book in today for my Emotional Empowerment Program. I have an introductory offer for just $79 so you can start taking back control of your life. We can support and help you cope with mental health challenges that are the result of working from home, and COVID-19 and transitioning back into a more normal life. With our help, you can see life in a new light and soon look forward to a future filled with happiness and joy.
Let me help stop the effects of mental health issues
My Emotional Empowerment Program has helped many people like you deal with stress, anxiety and depression for more than a decade. We can help you move through and deal with stress, depression and anxiety which can be the root cause of mental health issues. I can help you replace these with happiness, peace and contentment in weeks not years so you can see a positive future. Listen to what Catherine has to say about my program after only a few sessions.