1. Start As You Wake Up
Not having to commute is nice, as it allows you a little bit more sleep. But for some people, the commute offers an opportunity to shake off the sleepiness and transition into a work mode. What prompts us to leave the house early is the urgency of making it on time - we have to act now or we’ll be late. Adopt the same approach to working from home. Wake up, make some coffee and just get started. It’ll help you get rid of that morning sluggishness the same way driving or catching a bus would have done.
2. Pretend You’re About to Leave
There is some lure in working in the same pajamas you’ve been wearing for three days straight. But it wears off. If it’s working for you, that’s great. But if you feel it gets you into a lazy zone, simply stop doing it. Wake up and get ready, as if you’re about to go to the office. You can shower, put on nice clothes and have your morning coffee once you’re ready.
Related Article: 9 Golden Rules For Higher Productivity
3. Have a Dedicated Work Space
Not everyone has an extra room they can make an office out of, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use the space you do have and make it prime for working. It can be the kitchen table, a desk in your bedroom, or even a table on the balcony or yard. Make this your allocated workspace, and keep your work-related essentials there.
4. Time the Big Tasks for Productive Hours
No one is productive for 8 hours straight. Our motivation naturally ebbs and flows, and for each person, peak hours of productivity differ. When working a certain position over time, you learn your brain’s ways. Outline a plan for your day, and time the bigger and more complex tasks for the period of the day when you know you’ll be in the right headspace for them. Leave the more logistical stuff for the slower hours. Managing to complete a few small things will give you a sense of accomplishment and readiness to tackle the heavier ones.
5. Take Clear Breaks
Don’t overdo it. ‘Taking a break’ in your home can cause some of us to feel guilty, as it’s so easy to fall into a trap of an endless halt. Try to change this way of thinking. Schedule as many breaks as you would have taken in the office, and try to have them away from your desk and without a screen involved.
6. Use Technology to Your Benefit
We live in quite amazing times. There is so much technology at our disposal, running a whole life from the comfort of our homes is easier than ever. Communicate with your colleagues as much as possible. You can use a document sharing platform like Dropbox or Google docs. Everyone can access it and share their work. Knowing where everyone stands in terms of work will make you feel connected, and will help shake off isolation or a sense of working in a void.
Speaking of feeling isolated, working from home is not always easy. There is no occasional chit-chat with colleagues or accidental run-ins. Technology can be a helpful tool against loneliness if you utilize it for your social needs. Check-in on your colleagues and work friends. Message the people you would usually talk to about non-work related things. Give video calls a chance even if you feel uncomfortable with it at first. Seeing people’s faces and hearing their voices makes all the difference sometimes.
7. And cut out the technology that distracts you
Of course, technology has a ‘dark side’, too. Without the peer-pressure of the office or communal work environment, no one is there to limit or scold you for getting distracted by social media, except for you. In order to stay productive with all these temptations, experts advise logging out of all your social media accounts during work hours. There are private browsers, like the ‘incognito’ option on Chrome that keep you logged out automatically.
8. Find the Right Music
Music works differently for everyone. For some, it can be a distraction, and for others - a helpful tool. Figure out what type of music is beneficial for you and at what time. More upbeat stuff can be good while you do admin or monotonous tasks, or during the morning hours when you need a kick. Try lyric-free background music at times when you need to concentrate. There are many ‘study beats’ playlists available on YouTube and other music streaming apps.
If you feel even that is too much, but you still need something to break the silence, there are also ‘white noise’ apps that some experienced home-workers find useful.
9. Communicate Expectations with Your Housemates
Whether you live with your family, significant other or housemates, you will need to be clear with them about your situation and your expectations from them. Let them know what your working hours are, and the kind of cooperation you will need from them. Make sure that your working station allows them to feel comfortable in the house as well while respecting your space.
10. Meal Prep
Working from home means you might not have the option to grab something quickly from outside, especially under the Coronavirus restrictions, when many restaurants and cafes are closed and leaving the house at all isn’t recommended. To be as efficient as possible, prepare lunch the day before, just like you would prepare a lunchbox to take to the office with you. You can even do it for a couple of days ahead. It will give you peace of mind, and you won’t have to hassle over food and waste your work energy.