With the unfortunate coronavirus situation upon us and quarantine being in place, many of us must stay put and work from home. And we are already 4th week into this! It is very possible that many of you are getting frustrated by now, so I wanted to share my little advice with you and give you a few tips on what helps me stay productive while working from home. You may not believe this, but as a business owner and an entrepreneur I get to work from home quite often. Especially when I have a ton of work to do. And I love it! Working from home saves me time that I would usually spend traveling to the office and back, while also allowing me to manage my work hours more freely. So there we go:
#1 Find yourself a proper working space at home
It may be difficult to disconnect yourself from all the surrounding household chores while working from home. That’s why finding a proper working space is extremely important. This way you can set all your necessary work equipment in one place and separate yourself from all the noise surrounding you. I’ve chosen a convenient, compact space right in my living room corner, where I was able to set a desk by the window, a comfortable chair and a book shelf that helps me separate my work area from the rest of the room. Now I feel disconnected from the rest of the living room and I can just picture myself sitting in my little office.
#2 Make a „do it today” list and stay on schedule
Discipline and structure of your work schedule are very important when it comes to working from home. I like to start my workday off with a to do list of tasks that I have to complete during the day. That list always stays in front of me throughout the day.
If I didn’t get a chance to finish all my tasks, as the workday comes to a conclusion, I make sure to properly mark it, so the next day I can pick up right where I left off. That saves me precious time on having to remember things the next day.
So, I recommend that you spend 5 to 15 minutes to put everything down on paper right before you start work and check that list throughout the day. And if I have a big project on hand, I find it easier to break it up into little parts, while setting up a proper plan on putting those parts together. This way the task doesn’t look as gigantic and unbeatable.
The best thing about working from home is that you are the master of your own time. But for workaholics such as myself, I have one piece of advice - try to finish all your work by 8 PM, so you can get a good night’s sleep. I’ve noticed that if I stay up working late, then I have trouble falling asleep till 2 AM. And in that case, I don’t get my the much needed 8 hours of sleep and I feel very exhausted the next day.
#3 Communicate and stay in touch with people
Coffee breaks with your colleagues, chats about absolutely nothing and the discussion about who did what during the weekend are the best parts of being in the office. And since you are currently not working from there, you are probably missing all of that. You must find a way to try and maintain that tradition while working from home, so you don’t feel as lonely. Plus, it’s great to have a pulse on all the things that are currently going on in the company, be able to share your thoughts with others and to make sure that you are trending towards the right direction with all your work. With the technology available to us nowadays, distance is not a problem and you can make things fun even with online chatting. My team and I use platforms such as Skype or Messenger for our daily chats and if we want to do a group meeting – ZOOM is the way to go for us.
#4 Have some faith in yourself and trust your process
Working from home means that you don’t have a boss nearby to monitor you and give you advice. Now you must take more responsibility for your work. Without your boss being there to track on how well you are doing, you will face decision making situations without immediate help available to you. On one hand it’s a great challenge for you, while on the other – it’s an opportunity to prove yourself to the employer that you can cope well with the task in front of you. If you love what you are doing, I have no doubt that you will make great decisions, but if you feel as if you still need some guidance and advice, make sure to write down all your questions and ideas, and reach out to your boss by phone or live chat to discuss everything all at once.
#5 A few tips on working from home while your kids are around
Here is some advice from one of my employees, who is working from home all the time while raising two twin boys. This way she can always be there for them when they need her the most!
Few of her tips for you, moms and dads:
- Make sure to wake up earlier than your kids to make them breakfast and prepare something for lunch.
- It is very important to manage all your household chores ahead, so it will not take up your time during the day and you can stay 100 % productive.
- Keep some board games on the breakfast table, so after your kids eat, they will be occupied for a bit.
- Have some healthy snacks easily available for your kids throughout the day, such as fruit or snacks, so when they get hungry, they can help themselves.
- Keep them busy! Kids need to have their little “to do list” during the day to keep them occupied as well. Things that you could include are reading a book, riding a bicycle and doing their homework. If they finish everything, they get a reward – video games on the computer or a smart phone.
- Have a separate room for your own work! So, if you are very busy, you can close the door. Kids should know that if your door is closed, they can’t disturb you. They should know, understand and obey this house rule.
- ALWAYS make a “to do list” on what you have to accomplish during the day.
So, keep up all the good work while working from home, be positive and stay connected!