Working from Home Tips
As working from home seems to becoming the new normal AGAIN and the country is, as I write, still in Lockdown 3.0, I thought you may find it useful if I shared my top tips for working from home.
Just to give you some background, I have been on home based worked prior to all the COVID chaos for the best part of two years. Lockdown has bought it's own challenges, I agree, with the kids being at home and occasionally my husband (not entirely sure who was more distracting, my 2 kids or him to be honest) but we have worked through it and succeeded to balance a productive work and home-schooling day! For some people it's not going to be easy, in fact you may find yourself rocking in the corner of the kitchen rummaging for the last of Christmas's chocolate haul and clutching that expensive bottle of gin you swore would be for special occasions only (I was very nearly this person in the early days of 2021, when I realised how unwilling my 8year old was to working independently) but what you have to remember is it's a huge adjustment for you, it takes time to set new routines, it takes motivation and discipline.
There is no magic wand or set formula to make you a productive homeworker however by implementing the following tips I have found they have helped me get to achieve just that.
HAVE A SET START AND FINISH TIME.
As tempting as it is to have that lie in and working that extra hour in the evening... DON'T. By setting out your working day from the start to the end, you know when you will need to be in work mode. Taking that extra hour in bed or just catching up on the last episode of the Masked Singer (someone needs to tell me who Sausage is as it's driving me mad!!), Will only serve to make it more difficult to get into work. In the same respect don't try to make-up the time at the end of the day as this eats into your "you" time, the time you need to unwind and relax or going on that daily walk if you haven't already done so. It's a slippery slope, trust me, by just allowing yourself to do that extra 30 mins because the kids aren't home yet, or starting early because the kids got dropped off earlier than usual, chances are you are probably not being the most productive you anyway, just get up and walk away at the end of your day. Set the times you are going to work and stick to it.
Taking a break seems like an obvious one and actually something I still struggle with myself. If you were sat in an office all day with your colleagues you would likely take an hour for lunch or have a tea break at some point, so schedule this into your day. Schedule a lunch break for a set time, tell Alexa (other Smart speakers are available) to set an alarm at the time you would take a break in the office. To stay productive you need to eat healthy, we all know that don't we!
DON'T GET DISTRACTED BY HOUSEHOLD JOBS
The Pile of washing up from last night can wait, so can the ever growing mound of laundry! It may only be a quick 2 min chore but it will take you at least 20mins to get back into the swing of working again! Just think would you load the washing machine if you were in the office? Probably not, just saying!
Tell people at home of your schedule, in fact tell your friends or family that might be tempted to face time you during the day and ask them to avoid disturbing you if possible (another great reason to have set working hours). My 8year old now understands that during the hours of X &Y mummy is not free to just watch that you-tube video of kids opening toys or to help her decided what clothes to buy your Roblox character!
Getting dressed for the work day helps you get ready in your mind. As tempting as working in your pj's all day is... Your mind & body won't feel awake and you'll be less productive because of it. I'm not saying get suited and booted for a day at the office but brush your hair, put on something comfy and if you have planned video calls during the working day something a little on the smarter side. (BTW Slippers are still appropriate footwear in this scenario).
GO FOR A WALK
This is my favourite tip. I like to go for a quick 5 min walk around the block as my commute to work (come rain, shine or even snow this week), it seems to get me into the correct frame of mind for working. When the kids are FINALLY back at school I like to use this quiet time to turn off mummy mode and engage work mode. I seem to close the door behind me on "home" me and open it again as "work" me!
MAKE A PLAN /TIME BLOCK YOUR DAY.
This one is especially useful with fitting in home schooling. I set the first 3 hours of my day to sit next to my daughter and help her with her school work (we all know they are completely unable to work by themselves even though they would at school ). Plan your day or week even and time block out sections of your day for certain tasks. Don't forget to EAT THE FROG this means get the task your dreading most done and out of the way first! Equally don't compare yourself to what you perceive others WTH are doing either, they are just finding what works best for them just as you are. This is also great if you are struggling with overwhelm. (Watch this space for a day planner coming soon)
HAVE A DEDICATED WORK SPACE
Whether this is the kitchen table or a luxurious home office (So going to get me one of those when we eventually sell the flat), create a space just for work. In our house the dining table is our new "school" and my desk is set up next to it so I can still help if needed.
ENJOY THE BENEFITS YOU GET FROM WORKING FROM HOME!
No one says working from home is a jail sentence and you shouldn't treat it as such. We have enough of that in our lives as it is thanks to COVID. Enjoy the little things that you probably wouldn't getaway with in the office such as belting out your favourite tune at the top of your lungs when it comes on the radio (for me I've been revisiting the Greatest Showman Soundtrack ....shhh that's between you and me, and probably my neighbours)! Buy one of those stupidly large Enter buttons to smash if your having a particularly rubbish day, or listen to that Podcast while you send those emails.
So there you have it, my TOP TIPS for surviving working from home. These are by no means the be all and end all, what works for me may not work for you, and that's OK. Some people prefer the radio on, others don't. Some people like to work later in the day, others are in the 5am club (me personally, I'll never be in the 5am club). Find out what works for you, it's all trial and error at the end of the day.