Adjusting to working from home (WFH) can be difficult and, while it certainly does have its benefits, it’s likely you’ve been faced with your own unique set of challenges.
From a lack of motivation to childcare responsibilities or constant interruptions, tackling your working day at home requires grit, routine and a good dose of positivity. It also requires you to adapt your perception by finding joy in the small wins and removing judgment and comparison from your situation and the situation of others.
While a positive WFH experience can be helped along with a positive attitude, there are also a host of practical tips you can incorporate into your day. If you’ve been struggling to slip into a routine, switch off at the end of the day or stay focused, read out top tips for getting into an effective working from home routine.
Sticking to your normal morning routine can create a sense of normality in these strange times. Instead of sinking back into bed when your alarm goes off, try to get up at the same time - even if you’re saving hours by not doing your normal commute. Getting dressed and continuing with your usual morning beauty regime will undoubtably start your off on the right foot. Studies have shown that getting out of your pyjamas increases your productivity and boosts your confidence.
Writing a to-do list first thing can also help you feel more motivated – even if it’s just answering emails – giving you a sense of achievement that can spur you on throughout the day. Remember to be realistic here: it’s better to create a short list and achieve everything that you set out to do, than write an exhaustive list that can leave you feeling disheartened if you don’t get a chance to complete it all.
Top tip: If working from home is looking like it might be a more long-term situation than you first thought, consider setting up a specific space dedicated to work.
If you don’t have a spare room that can be turned into an office, there are lots of great ideas onPinterest for transforming large cupboards, landings, hallways or corners of your bedroom into inspiring and productive spaces. If you’re already set-up to work from home, consider giving your office a new lease of life with a lick of paint, some nice stationary and candles to create a space you enjoy being in.
While it may be tempting to work through your lunch break, don’t. Stepping away from your desk to eat lunch gives you a much-needed break from the screen and time to recharge. If your family is at home too, use your lunch break to check-in and chat. Getting outside for a short walk can also transform your productivity for the rest of the day.
Top tip:If you’re finding yourself procrastinating more than usual, remove any distractions from eye shot (place your phone to within walking, not reaching, distance) and put some music on. Natural soundscapes or soothing coffee shop sounds (which you can find onYouTube) are a great option for helping you create an atmosphere conducive to work. Alternatively, if you need silence to gather your thoughts, invest in a pair of noise-cancelling earbuds to drown-out outside sounds.
The afternoon can be a good time to schedule any calls or team catch-ups, as you will have completed some of your most pressing tasks in the morning. As your energy levels ebb, remember to stay hydrated and try a low sugar snack to stabilise your energy levels.
When it’s time to finish work for the day, set hard boundaries. Put your laptop and equipment out of sight if you’re working in a communal space or leave your home office at your normal finishing time. If you’re someone who finds it hard to switch off, write down any tasks you may want to complete for the next day so you don’t have to re-run them in your mind during the evening.
Top tip: Commutes home are usually a time we use to switch back into ‘home mode’. If you’re missing that solo time, consider doing some exercise, listening to a podcast whilst making dinner or changing into some relaxing clothes that signal the working day has come to a close.
More ideas for WFH:
For busy households:
If you’re juggling work with your children’s virtual lessons or toddlers' sleep patterns, one way to work more efficiently can be to break your work time into 45 minute chunks. These short, intensive periods of time can help you be more productive and work around your other commitments. Alternatively, if you have a partner that is home too, working in shifts, so one person can be available to your children, can also be effective.
If you’re feeling isolated:
All of our social lives have taken a dramatic dive in recent times and this can be felt even more deeply when you’ve gone from working in a thriving office to your living room. Instant messaging systems are a great way to stay connected with colleagues and video conferencing can also be useful for feeling like you’re still part of a team – simply join a video chat and mute the sound so you don’t get distracted.
To create a sense of calm:
Whether it’s lighting a scented candle, switching on a salt lamp or having a freshly brewed cup of coffee on the go, create an atmosphere that keeps you feeling calm and focused. Don’t fall into the trap of being glued to your laptop, too - consider doing a five minute stretch routine from YouTube if you’re feeling lethargic or even some yoga to switch your mood and your mindset.
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