Under the current circumstances, an increasing number of office workers are now working at home. This is a major change for anyone who is used to working in an office and the transition can be challenging. I know, the idea of working at home is fascinating. However, the reality might be a bit different. There is a lot more freedom, but I've recently learned that with more freedom, comes more distractions. With everything that is going on around us, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and unproductive. I've been working at home for a little over two months, so I know I'm yet to master the art, however, I picked up a few techniques which make it a little more manageable. Which is why I wanted to share some tips that will make working at home a little easier for those who like me aren't used to doing that.
Establish a Routine
I am in no way saying you must wake up at 5 or 6 in the morning to start working at 8 because then where's the benefit of working at home if you can't sleep in. If that is what works for you then, by all means, proceed. However, it means you should have some uniformity in how you approach each day. Ensure that you create a plan and stick to it. This way you can sleep in, but still have enough time to get work done, prepare a meal or two, eat and complete any additional task you may have. Having a routine ensures that you will be in the right frame of mind for work during work time and you will know when to shut down at the end of the day.
Create a Workspace
Since most of us do not normally work from home it's unlikely that you have a home office ready and waiting to be used. It is good to have a designated workspace. Whether you sit on one end of the couch with your computer in your lap, or use your dining area, having a workspace lets your brain know that you are ready to get some work done when you get into that space. It will also help you stay focused when you do start working by giving you a sense that you're still in the office. Creating a workspace in your home shouldn't be a hard task, especially if you have the available space. Here's a helpful post about setting up your workspace at home.
Listen to Music
When working at home you want to be comfortable and one way to do this is by listening to music. I've come to realize that listening to music while working helps me to focus more. For one it can be used to drown out more distracting sounds such as dogs barking, motorcycles passing or loud neighbours. Listening to my favourite music while working keeps me calm whenever I get flustered. Music also helps to increase productivity. Research shows that classical music is the best genre to increase productivity while working. So, if you like classical music you're already on the track to increasing your productivity while you work at home. This tip may not work for everyone as music can also be a distraction from your work.
While working at home it's easy to become so engrossed in your work and completing tasks that you forget to take breaks. Taking breaks in between is essential. Working at home should be treated similarly to working in the office, this means you should take your bathroom breaks, lunch breaks or breaks just to stretch your legs and to rest your eyes away from the computer screen. It's a good idea to go outside and get some fresh air. Fortunately, my space has a few windows, so I can get fresh air and sunshine without going outside. My breaks tend to involve a few stretching and breathing exercises which help to clear my mind as well as leisurely reading. You can also use your breaks for self-care or be extra productive by cleaning or tidying up your space. Just ensure that you take your breaks.
Don't Be too Hard on Yourself
You may feel tempted to put in extra hours to make up for lost time. Trying to complete all your tasks in a shorter time is a guaranteed way to become overwhelmed or flustered. This will only make you less productive. It's normal to feel down for not doing enough but be reasonable. Remember that you are not alone in this situation and no one is expecting you to be as productive as you would be under normal circumstances. You are not required to work longer hours. Go easy on yourself and if everything else fails remember this, "You are not working from home; you are at your home during a crisis trying to work."
Working at home may not be as simple as you think. How you view the situation will determine the quality of work you put out while working at home. It is okay to not be on top of your game under the circumstances. You are not alone in this and no one is judging you for not handling everything perfectly. There are many ways to ensure that working at home is easier for you. You must not forget to take care of yourself. Your sanity at this time is of utmost importance and the onus is on you to protect it.
"You are not working from home; you are at your home during a crisis trying to work." - Anonymous
Tell me in the comments below how you're managing to work remotely.
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