Many of us are transitioning to working from home and tackling the challenges presented by our new work environments. It can be easy to experience frustration as you learn to navigate the difficulties of creating a workspace at home, but it can be done! Use these tips to increase your productivity and avoid burn out:
Set and maintain a routine. Schedule your day so that you can work during your most productive part of the day when you have the least distractions. Sticking to a schedule not only helps you to perform better. It also lets those you live with know when you should not be disturbed. It’s also important to start and stop work at a clearly defined time every day to avoid burnout.
Designate a space that is ONLY for work. Create an area in your apartment that is specifically for work. Whether it’s a corner of your bedroom or a desk in the living room, devote an area intended solely for work to help you stay organized and focused.
Get your tech in order. The hardest part of working from home for many of us is the use of modern communication technology like webcams and online meetings. Learn to use your technology and iron out any issues before your first day “at work”.
Prepare for your workday as if you are going to the office. Those who work from home often complain that they feel like they are always at work. You can combat this feeling by acting like you’re working at the office even when you work at home. Shower and dress for work as you normally would, make your lunch in the morning or the night before rather than just wandering into the kitchen when you get hungry, and plan what you’ll be doing in the office just as you would at the office.
Schedule and take advantage of breaks. Rather than ignoring or being distracted by the dog, the laundry, or the kids, plan breaks in your workday and use the full break time allotted. Plan a ten minute break at the end of each hour to play with the dog or fold laundry, and take a complete hour for lunch AWAY from your desk or computer.
Set rules for those you live with. Communicate clearly your expectations and needs for work. It can be helpful for kids and roommates for you to set up a write board on your office door or on the refrigerator that states your work hours and what you expect during that time.
Create the right atmosphere. Most of us don’t work in a quiet room with no one else around. Working in your quiet apartment with no coworkers can actually make it more difficult to focus and stay productive. Turn on the TV or play music to create some background noise while you work.
Make your workspace “off limits” when you aren’t working. Try to avoid eating meals at your desk or checking emails just before bed. After your work is done for the day, put a sheet over your desk or close the door to your office to help you separate “work” from “home” and allow you to engage in home life without distraction.
Working from home can actually give you more time and increase your productivity if you know how to successfully set and maintain boundaries. Allow yourself the time to figure out what works for you. You may be surprised by how much you can actually enjoy working where you live!