After working in a corporate office for seven years, I left my job 6 months ago and began working from home. Office life was all I had known. I no longer had the luxury of a seltzer water tap, custodians cleaning my desk everyday, conference room meetings and office buddies. Going from complete structure in a 250+ person office to being on my own at home was a big adjustment and a constant challenge to remain efficient with my work. My to-do list looked great, but it was definitely easier to make the list than to accomplish the things on it.
Six months later, I’ve taken the time to adjust into my new work surroundings. As my workload has increased, I’ve learned to get it done faster. From a corporate office junkie turned stay-at-home journalist, here are my practical tips and lessons I learned to ace working from home...
Take a shower and get dressed.
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you don’t need to look presentable. Aside from basic hygiene, it’s a huge mood booster to start your day with a shower and put on attire other than what you slept in. Whatever you wear, make sure it’s something comfortable that doesn’t hinder your work.
Make your bed.
I’m not trying to sound like your parent, but the first couple of months I found myself finding my way back to my bed for mid-day naps. To avoid the mistake I made, make your bed in the morning as a mental note to ‘do not enter’ during the workday. Having a clean environment and daily tasks as little as making your bed will go a long way.
Keep a schedule and stick to a routine.
Even if there’s not much on your agenda, plan out your day. The hours can blow by and it’ll be time to close up shop before you know it. Maybe it’s not a full 8 hours, but designate times of the day to work. Timed work sessions will make you more productive instead of letting the day drag out for hours on end with little productivity. It’s also important to not be on the clock 24/7 because it’ll eventually burn you out.
Create the right work space.
Unlike at an office, working from home allows you to customize your space to maximize productivity. Whatever it may be, make it your home base for all of your work and try to always stick to that spot. Sometime in the future, you can even mix it up by spending a few hours a week at a coffee shop or library.
Avoid the kitchen at all costs.
When it comes to food and snacking, I have no self control. I can’t walk through the kitchen without grabbing a bite to eat. A half hour passes, and I somehow find myself back in the kitchen. Like setting a schedule to work, set a schedule to eat to avoid grazing on food your not even hungry for.
Go on that afternoon stroll.
It’s never a good sign when 7PM hits and you realize that you haven't left your house or apartment since the day before. If the weather is nice, take a midday walk around the block to get some fresh air. Taking a break (especially after sitting at a computer all day) offers some physical activity and a chance to clear your head for even greater ideas.
Leave the TV off while you work.
It’s a great idea to have a show on in the background while you’re working, but it usually ends up being a distraction. While you may think you're an expert multitasker, it’s better to just focus on the work at hand. The TV creates excess noise and can leave you feeling overwhelmed and unaccomplished.
While this may not be directly related to your job, it’s important to keep in mind as you go about your day. Keep a glass of water next to you as you work and try to get through eight glasses throughout your day.
While everyone has different work habits, hopefully these will help or inspire you to practice new ways to work from home more efficiently. It’s the perfect time to experiment with what works, what doesn’t, and learn from the missteps.
You Might Also Like