How to Organise Your Day When Working from Home
SummaryIf you are new to telecommuting, it may feel like someone dropped you in the deep forest without a compass. Many of the routines that tell you what to do when in the office go out the window. While it’s natural to feel unsettled, you need structure to work at your productive best.
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If you are new to telecommuting, it may feel like someone dropped you in the deep forest without a compass. Many of the routines that tell you what to do when in the office go out the window. While it’s natural to feel unsettled, you need structure to work at your productive best.
Once you master the art of working from home, you’ll likely find that you accomplish more than ever. Follow the tips below to develop a routine that lets you produce your best work.
Make a Schedule
When you work in an office, you plan your day around your arrival and departure, but when you work from home, you can find yourself wondering where and when to start. A schedule acts like a roadmap through your week, identifying your priorities and ensuring you accomplish your most vital tasks.
If you want to reduce stress levels while making Monday mornings more productive, make your schedule on Sunday evening. That way, when your alarm rings, you know what you need to tackle first. Schedule your most demanding tasks early — that way, the remainder of your day feels like smooth sailing.
Stay in Touch with Supervisors and Colleagues
One of the top tips for new telecommuters is to brush up on your virtual communication skills. Without some form of regular human interaction, many end up feeling isolated. You may start to feel lonely and insecure about your standing within your company.
Embrace any tools, such as Slack or Mango, that your employer provides for communication. Participate in online group chats and use emoticons to interact with content that other people post. Attend events like virtual happy hours to get to know the folks on your team.
Create a Harmonious Workspace
When you work from home, you get to be the boss when designing your workspace. You’ll find tons of articles online about how to make this space more ergonomic for peak productivity. The bottom line, though, is that whatever environment makes you most comfortable will lead to your best work.
That said, there are several factors to consider when designing your workspace:
· Think ergonomics: If you have back pain, a variable-height desk that adjusts from sitting to standing can bring considerable relief. Replacing your traditional chair with an exercise ball is another option. At the very least, spring for a high-quality office chair.
· Upgrade your lighting: If you can’t see, you risk developing headaches. Try to harness natural light by removing window coverings whenever possible. Desk lamps typically provide more targeted illumination than overheads.
· Get the right equipment: If you have to run to Staples each time you need to scan something, you can waste a considerable part of your day sitting in traffic and waiting in line. While you don’t have to have the most top-of-the-line equipment, things like a multifunction scanner are a must for many positions. Plus, if you’re an independent contractor, you can write off the expense on your taxes.
When you work from home, it’s convenient to grab a snack from the kitchen when you hit your stride and power right through lunch. However, everyone must take small breaks. Trying to maintain focus for a full eight hours will drain anyone’s battery before the 3 p.m. slump approaches.
Stand up and stretch at least once per hour — set a timer on your phone if you must. A 10-15-minute walk in the morning and again in the afternoon gets you your required cardiovascular exercise. Plus, it gives your brain enough of a break to power through your next task.
Harness Your Peak Energy Periods
When do you feel most energetic? Unless you’re providing virtual customer service, telecommuting probably gives you more flexibility over your schedule. Take advantage of the times when you feel most alert to manage your toughest tasks. That might mean rising with the chickens if you’re a morning person to finish that expense report before the pitter-patter of little kids’ feet becomes a distraction.
If you’re like many people, the sound of an alert from your cellphone results in a Pavlovian response — you have to check it. Learn how to turn off updates from social media and other distracting apps. Some experts advise locking your phone in a drawer while you work, but it's easy enough to shut down visual notifications. The latter method is less inconvenient if you have to make a call to your boss or a client.
Develop a Shutdown Routine
When you work from home, it can prove as challenging to know when to quit as it is to get started. You need a ritual to substitute for your evening commute to help your brain switch gears from work to family mode. Some suggested activities include the following:
· Take a walk: Physical activity makes for an excellent transition. If you don’t want to do more cardio after you call it a day, you can lift weights or do yoga.
· Clean up and cook: You can use your afternoon tidying up and dinner preparation to segue from work mode to relaxation.
· Reconnect with family: Get in the habit of doing something with those you love after work. Putter in the yard together or play a game of catch while you talk about your respective days.
Make Working from Home Organised and Streamlined
When you work from home, you will find you need to make several adjustments at first. Once you do, you can supercharge your productivity with this system and enjoy improved work-life balance.