I remember days when I didn’t have the opportunity to work from home and the hours in the office were passing so slowly. I was always thinking how many things I could do if I just worked from home … I would do so many things of course working all the time. No long time after, I had the opportunity to test it. The company where I started working gave me flexible hours and a place of work, so I just had to learn all this work from home thing.
How to organize yourself again, when your schedule depends on you, far from the office routine? How to work efficiently and effectively so that you really feel the pros of working from home? Here are my ways I’ve been able to work out over the years.
WORK LIFE BALANCE
This is the most difficult and also the most important when working from home – that is, the balance between work and private life. How to make it work? First of all, planning and writing. It helps to set the plan in the simplest way, i.e. a piece of paper divided into two parts, for tasks related to and not related to work. It is best to determine this in the evening or at the end of the work or the evening of the previous day and add more tasks and even more importantly delete what we have already done. Crossing out helps a lot. Working at home it’s very easy to feel that time has passed through and we haven’t done anything at all. And so we look at the crossed items from the list and see that we have done something. Another trap that you can easily fall into while working from home is to do everything at home so you don’t just sit at your desk and work. Therefore, when planning our list, it is worth keeping a balance in it and determining, above all, the real number of tasks. Set not only the time, e.g. half an hour, to hang the laundry, but the specific time at which you will do it, so that you don’t think about it while sitting at the desk. It helps 😉 I checked. It is said that planning is a valve for the head and there is something to it. Another point is that sometimes you just have to force yourself to work. The worst thing is to sit down and think about how much work needs to be done that you don’t even know where to start. Then it helps to shed these swirling thoughts and tasks on paper. It is worth adding one more line to our plan from the card and dividing activities into what is important and what is important but also urgent. And take them as a priority.
SET TIME BLOCKS FOR PARTICULAR TASKS
It will be a time when you focus on a given task without checking your e-mail, fb or other things. After this time, take a short break, go out on the balcony or at least look through the window, drink something, or just stand up and stretch your body. Such system gives the feeling that we are actually working on what we had to do and we do not feel guilty when we take a break. For example, for the next hour I deal with e-mails, you can even set a timer on your phone at least at the beginning to help yourself. Over time, you can extend these time blocks, they do not always have to be the same. The most important thing is to really work at this set time. It is also worth determining the time for household activities. How long should these time blocks be? At first it is better to start with the short ones but they should last no less than 25-50 minutes and this time should be a time of intense work and focus for us. Working from home is not difficult with distractions, it is very easy to take care of something else: family members, children, laundry, etc. Especially when at work we have to do something that we do not quite want. Then even window cleaning seems more attractive. That is why such a work system helps a lot.
It doesn’t have to be super early but it’s worth to allow yourself some extra time in the morning for something we like or for something that we need to do outside of work. Then, sitting down at the desk, we have the feeling that we have already done few things that, for example, after a whole day of work, we will not always feel like doing. Sleeps in sometimes are needed but it is better to get into the habit of getting up at about the same time, e.g. between 6 and 6:30. If the evening before we stayed a little longer, or just feel tired and sleep a little longer, nothing will happen but it should not be our everyday life. It is better to use the morning just for yourself, add new morning exercises that will help us wake up and give energy. Having our very own morning routine will help and set up properly for the rest of the day. Our days are not always successful. A well spent morning helps a lot to face the challenges of the rest of the day. What activities we add to the standard in the morning really depends on us. Some like to exercise, others choose yoga or meditation, others prefer a longer walk with the dog, others prefer to slowly sip their coffee by reading or listening to podcasts. One thing is sure, our well-being and stress resistance will be much greater if we prepare ourselves for the coming day without a rush and morning stress.
YOUR MORNING CAN SET UP YOUR WHOLE DAY
This point refers to the previous point. Again, it’s about getting ready for the day, but more externally. It’s about such basic activities as clothing or light makeup. Try to prepare yourself as if you were going to work. It definitely affects our day, and also helps maintain a daily routine. It doesn’t have to be full business code or full make-up, but it’s more about the habit of dressing. When working from home, it’s very easy to skip these activities, because why jump out of your pajamas, since we will spend the next hours at home anyway. It is also necessary to make the bed, this not only brings order, but prevents us from returning to it in the morning. If you make your bed you will also be more organized in other activities and responsibilities during the day. In addition, it is a very easy thing to tick on the list in the morning and to create the feeling that we have already been able to do something from the very morning.
CHOOSE SPACE FOR YOUR NEW OFFICE
Although this may seem very comfortable, working from bed or kitchen counter is not the best option. As far as possible, it is worth finding a place that will become our office. It is best to have a separate room with lockable doors, but we do not always have such a possibility. It can simply be part of a room or other room that will become our office space. The point is that every time we start work we don’t have to set up everything from the beginning. But not only this. Separating work space helps our brain to distinguish at least a little bit what is home mode and what is work mode. I think that it also helps keep boundaries and unnecessary stress that work and home are somehow combined. It is also a sign for other house members when we work and when not.
BEGIN WITH THE MOST DIFFICULT THINGS
If you have the opportunity, choose the most difficult things or the ones you like the least at the very beginning. Then you will avoid procrastination and in such cases it is not difficult to procrastinate and you will not think while doing other things that yes you are doing them, but this or that is still ahead of you. This is not an easy task to enter, so you need to approach it calmly, gradually. We tend to postpone what is difficult or what we do not want. That’s why we won’t change it right away, it takes time.
FIND TIME TO REST AND RELAX
Working from home is very easy to work all day and lose balance between private life and work. That is why time for rest or relax is so important. We can’t think that since we work from home, we shouldn’t be tired. Nothing could be more wrong. Finding at least half an hour a day to turn off or do something that relaxes us or makes us happy. And let’s not forget that doing nothing is also ok and also very important.
PLAN YOUR MEALS AND FOOD PREP
While working from home is so easy to have a walk to the kitchen and overeat and snack all the time. It is worth planning meals for several days or even setting time for cooking and eating. A good solution is to prepare your meal ingredients, e.g. bake vegetables, which we will later use in several ways. I highly recommend this method because after, for example, a whole day of sitting in front of the computer, the last thing we want to do is cooking and when we hungry is very easy to eat anything and it is very easy to throw yourself at something unhealthy. Therefore, such preparation of ingredients and planning meals in advance helps a lot.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT MOVEMENT
When working from home, we often forget about the right level of moving our body. Our movement is often limited to walking to the kitchen and the bathroom. 🙂 It’s good to get up from time to time or go for a walk during the day when it is still sunny to catch some fresh air and vitamin D. When it is raining outside the window or when you do not really feel like going outside, you can always work out at home alone or look for a training video online.
KEEP CONTACT WITH YOUR COWORKERS AND FAMILY
Inappropriate work from home combined with poor habits can easily lead to feelings of isolation, burnout, overwork and it is very easy to lose this balance between work and home. This can quickly affect our mental and physical health. And when this condition is prolonged it can lead to anxiety and a sense of loneliness. It also significantly changes the ability to contact other people or just have a normal conversation. Then it is worth maintaining virtual contact. Make a video call or chat. It’s good to talk about something positive and see how someone is doing.
PLAN UP THE WEEK
Life can often surprises us. We have no influence on many situations and they do not depend on us, so at least is worth to plan those that do depend on us. Good moment for this is Sunday evening, or Monday as the beginning of the week, or depending on our schedules, every other day. It is worth planning a week to look a little further into the future, whether we have any upcoming meetings, which will require us to leave the house for a longer time, when we are shopping, what will we cook, whether we have any family even or party coming. And write it all down. Such a week schedule gives a sense of control and fulfillment. And after such week, it’s good to look back and think about what we’ve done. Get ready and plan the upcoming week. Try to arrange the calendar so that during the week nothing surprises you. Plan your meals and workouts menu. Plan attractions for children. Watch something motivating to properly focus on the upcoming, maybe difficult or tough week.
END YOUR DAY IN THE BEST WAY
It is worth having a proper routine, which indicates that we are changing the mode from working to home mode. Clean up the desk, log out the computer, get ready for the next day. Save the list of things for tomorrow. Stretch out. And maybe in the evening after dinner, make yourself a mask or even a home SPA.
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE A MORNING PERSON, BUT PROPER SLEEP ROUTINE IS IMPORTANT
This is a bit tricky one, on one point the healthiest sleep in which our body and mind regenerate best is the sleep before midnight. But often the best ideas or inspiration come in the evening. Therefore, when we sit longer at night from time to time and sleep in the morning, nothing will happen. The most important thing is this not to become our everyday life and to provide our body with the right amount of sleep. If, for example, our work does not require talks at 9 am, you do not have to stick to the belief that work is only from 9 to 17. The point is that lack of sleep translates into efficiency during the day and it is not worth saving yourself with a 5 cup of coffee .
I hope that the points I presented in this post and which I have learned for several years of working remotely will be helpful for you. It has not always been easy but with lots of practice and experimenting with different habits but also with myself. Checking and listening to yourself. The most important thing to remember is that developing habits or daily routine requires time, consistency and patience. In this case, the method of small steps and starting from maybe one or two points to start with is the best option from which you should start. Working from home has many advantages but it is not easy either. It really doesn’t take much to blur the boundaries between work and home. But once it starts working out, the sense of satisfaction is really great.