During this past week, I have been working at home and learning how to be productive in a relaxed environment. I always thought that I would love to have a job where I would work from home but this past week has shown me that it’s a lot harder than I thought it was. My job as a retail assistant buyer is a lot of work and I am constantly running around the office with samples, going to advertising, and talking ideas with my co-workers. It was a hard adjustment to sit at my desk all day at home and having to text, call and have video conference calls all day long.
On the first day of working from home, I woke up early, set up my work station at my desk, organized all my folders and files and made sure that the area was a nice and positive area to get work done. I learned on the second day that it wasn’t as easy to just hop out of bed early and try to get personal tasks done before work starts. I got out of bed at 8:15 am when my workday starts at 8:30 am. It’s hard to stick to a motivate yourself to get out of bed when you don’t have set time constraints and you’re not rushing out the door at 7:45 AM to drive to work.
After working from home for two full days, I quickly learned the importance of having a routine throughout the day by scheduling time for meals, work, breaks, workouts, household chores, and time for getting outside for fresh air.
Whether you’re working from home temporarily (thanks, coronavirus), you work for one of those work-from-home companies, or you’ve chosen a career path where you work from home all the time, learning how to be more productive at home will give your career a boost and keep you happier at the same time. It’s about setting a few ground rules and firm boundaries will set you up for WFH success.
The most important thing I have found from other work from home blog posts is that you need to get dressed in the morning. Getting ready for work provides a structured routine that will help you get into the mindset of going to work. The simple act of getting up, showering, getting dressed doing your hair and makeup even will keep you from wanting to get back into bed. For me personally, I can’t be barefoot or just wearing socks. As soon as I put on my slippers with a bit of a sole just to feel like shoes and I automatically feel like I’m in ‘work mode’.
Getting ready for your workday at home is essential to feel and staying productive. Even if you’re just changing into leggings and a sweatshirt, the act of getting out of your “rest clothes” will signify a change in the day, from off-work to working hours.
When I sit down at my desk in the morning, I go through my emails that are most important and then I look at my schedule for the day. I go through my to-do list, block out time for each task and I set realistic goals for the day. The calendar that is a part of Microsoft Outlook is a savior for my schedule. I plan out exactly what I’m going to get done and when. I put in when I’m going to eat lunch, take a break, and when all my work calls will be.
While I’m working I like to listen to music or the radio so that there is some background noise while I’m working. Remind yourself to get up once every hour and enjoy something not work-related, whether that’s playing with a pet or even popping up to grab the mail. You may actually find yourself more productive and inspired when you do so.
An advantage of working from home is that you get to do the things that we could never do when we were at work all day. Between meetings and calls, throw a load of laundry in or run the dishwasher. You’ll feel more productive and get key chores done.
At work, I normally eat lunch at my desk because I don’t really have any other place to eat it beside my car, but at home, I take the opportunity to get away from my desk for an hour. Eat at the kitchen table, on your porch or take your lunch break out of the house. Even if you make food at home, pack it up and eat it outside for a change of scenery.
Another advantage of working from home is that you can actually cook nice meals for breakfast and lunch. You don’t have to quickly make instant coffee at work, eat a granola bar for breakfast and a packed sandwich for lunch. You can take your time to make a nice, healthy and tasty meal.
If the weather is nice I make it a goal to get outside and walk a lap around my neighborhood. A daily walk gets you out of your bunny slippers and in a better state of mind. Designate a set time to take a walk every day so you’ll be more likely to stick to the routine. If you have pets or kids at home with you, drag them along.
After my walk around the neighborhood, I find my self focused and ready to get more work done. We usually have a work conference call through Zoom with all of the office workers to catch up on what we’re all doing and to talk about any company news. I enjoy these calls every day because being social in an office setting is one of the things I miss about working in an office building. Offices are more than just a place for work. They’re also an important part of our daily dose of social interaction and a source of many friendships. I also text and call my co-workers frequently to catch up on their lives and to gossip!
Around 3:30 pm I take a break to step outside, talk to my family or just scroll Instagram. It’s unhealthy to stay at home all day and not get some fresh air. So get up every couple of hours to take a work break – make yourself some tea and scroll through social media.
One thing that I have been very strict about is when my workday is finished. When I see that it’s 5 pm on the clock, I close my laptop and am done for the day. A disadvantage of working from home is that people don’t set a specific cutoff time to stop their day. I know it can be hard for people to just stop what they are doing but it important to have a set schedule so that your work-life balance doesn’t suffer.
One thing that I have really taken advantage of while working from home is how I use the time I normally would’ve used to drive home from work. My commute is 45 minutes to an hour so now I have that extra time to do things! I have been using that time to work out. I’m not the type of person to go from work to working out but I found that it’s a nice transition between working all day and then relaxing all night when you’ve been home all day.
I would normally go to the gym that the apartment offers to residents but with being stuck at home due to the coronavirus, I have to work out in my living room. I have been taking advantage of workout classes that I can stream right to my TV. One free subscription trial that I love is from Daily Burn. They have a ton of different classes that require little to no equipment and I can easily follow along. I did a workout 3 days in a row this weekend and I am quite proud of myself!