This is a continuation of the earlier article – What the Advantages of Working from Home?
I’m currently on Day 32 of quarantine. While the first week was tedious for me, I’ve gotten sort of used to it by now.
I’ve worked out a system that helps me continue maintaining a work/life balance while working from home.
Today, I will be sharing my best work from home tips that will help you survive the quarantine period as it looks like it’s not going to end anytime soon.
These tips will also help you maximize your efficiency, maintain focus and prioritize accordingly.
Best Tips for Working from Home
1. Have a Designated Work Space
While it’s nice moving from the couch to the dining table to your bed for work, it helps to still have a designated workspace.
This is an area or room that’s set up as your home office and has the basic equipment there. There shouldn’t be any distracting things in this workspace such as a TV or a refrigerator.
2. Set a Schedule
Don’t wake up and go to bed when you feel like it. Have a set time for work hours such as 8 – 4, 9 – 5 or 12 – 8. Set a time that works for you and stick to it every day.
If you live by yourself, this should be easy but if you have kids, it will be more of a challenge to set a schedule.
However, this is imperative if you want to succeed at working from home. Find activities for kids to do or split the time between you and your partner to care for the kids.
3. Take Breaks When Needed
You don’t have to stare at the computer the entire time you are working. Take breaks as needed even if it’s a few minutes every hour.
That’s one of the perks of working from home. No one is monitoring your break time so take advantage of it.
4. Engage Headphones and Music
Headphones are a godsend especially if you live in a place that isn’t too quiet. Headphones can help you concentrate better.
My headphones are the first thing I slap on when I sit at my desk every day. They’re wireless too so I can move about with them on.
5. Don’t Leave Out the To-Do List
It’s very easy to fritter away the whole day when working from home but a to-do list will help keep you on track.
I use a handy planner like this one to note down my to-dos every day including how much time it will take me to complete everything.
If you don’t want to write it down, there are many apps that make it easier such as:-
6. Do Not Skimp on Exercise
One of the things that will save your sanity in this trying time is exercise. It doesn’t have to be rigorous.
Every morning, the first thing I do is jump into my 30 – 45 minutes workout, shower, eat then get to work. I work out in my bedroom.
Regular exercise will stimulate your mind, keep you motivated and activate endorphins. It also helps with posture.
7. Don’t Eat All the Things
Working from home can turn you into a mindless snacker. You won’t even realize you’re reaching out and snacking all the time.
This is why the designated workspace is important. In the designated workspace, you’re less likely to snack mindlessly.
8. Leave Social Media Alone
This is another massive time waster when working from home. Been there, done that. Minimise use of social media during your work hours.
It’ll be hard the first few days but once you make it a habit, it’ll be second nature. Engage apps that block access to social media at designated times if you have no willpower.
9. Try a Vision Board
That might seem pointless right now but I say it’s very important to have one anyway to keep you motivated and prevent lethargy from setting in.
We don’t know what is going to happen over the next year but you can still have a vision for yourself beyond staying healthy.
I created my 2020 vision board before the lockdown but it still keeps me going now. You can check out the vision board archives for inspiration.
10. Check-in With Your Colleagues
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you should get lost in yourself. You can still check-in with your colleagues every few days depending on the kind of work you do.
Catch up with each other and share how you’re making the best of working from home. You can also encourage one another.
11. Stay Hydrated
Keep a water bottle on your desk and sip on it throughout the day. This is so simple and yet so important.
12. Go Out At Least Once a Week
I don’t mean flaunt the rules and go partying or something. I go grocery shopping every Saturday. I walk to and fro the store.
Walking plus shopping time takes me about 1.5 – 2 hours. That’s all the out of home time I need to stay rejuvenated during the week.
One of my friends goes out for a 45-minute walk every evening but that’s a little too much for me.
However, if you’re ok with it and can maintain 2 meters between you and other people, go for it.
Do not stay cooped up in your house/apartment/room permanently. Even the most introverted person cannot spend 24/7/365 inside the house.
13. Keep Your Colleagues in the Loop
If you’re not used to working from home, you might find keeping colleagues updated and in the loop a bit of a challenge.
How do you countermand this? Keep on communicating with colleagues the same way you would in the office.
You may also be required to communicate in new ways such as via apps like Zoom, texts or WhatsApp group messages. Adapt as you go along.
14. Don’t Focus on the News
When all of this started, I made myself crazy checking on COVID-19 worldwide infection and recovery stats in addition to all the people postulating conspiracy theories online.
Eventually, I learned to step back from the information overload. It was distracting and very hard to get anything done.
Nowadays, I check the news online at the end of my workday. Not having a TV also helps.
When it’s all said and done, at the end of the workday, turn off your computer and go be with your family or do whatever you do in your downtime.