As technology and workplace needs change, more people find themselves working from home. Here are 5 work-from-home routines that will help you stay productive.
As technology and workplace needs change, more and more people find themselves working from home. What once sounded like a perfect situation can quickly turn stressful.
To keep your work and personal life on track, you have to establish a routine early on. But it takes time to adjust to the freedom and flexibility a home office gives you.
We all enjoy the extra sleep we get when we don’t have to rush to the office. That’s okay! Give yourself a little time to enjoy these perks, but then get serious.
The sooner you set a routine when you’re working at home, the happier and more productive you’ll be.
Not sure how to navigate this uncharted territory? Here’s everything you need to know to establish a routine when working from home.
1. Make Your Own Office (And Keep Everyone Out)
Step one is the most important part to get you started. Before you set up a routine, you must create your own office area.
This will be your sacred professional space. No personal responsibilities are to encroach on it! Easier said than done, but it’s a rule you need to try to establish for yourself and your family.
Our minds are easily distracted, so try to get your desk area as clutter-free as possible. Keep only what you need at the time visible. You may need to get a few desk accessories to help you with this.
Add “declutter at the end of the day” to your daily to-do list. That way, you’re starting with a fresh slate every morning, ready to be productive right away!
Start Every Day the Same
A regular morning routine will streamline your day better than any coffee infusion could do.
Working from home could be the excuse you give yourself to sleep in a little extra, since you don’t have to deal with traffic. Or, it could give you some extra time for self-care.
Instead of adjusting your sleep schedule, keep waking up early, but use those extra minutes wisely. Use that time for personal growth by doing something like:
- Exercising thirty minutes every day
- Journaling to get the chaos out of your head before you work
- Meditating to clear your thoughts and get focused
- Reading motivational books or listening to podcasts
What you don’t want to do is get sucked into the abyss of screen time. Avoid checking emails and social media until you’ve completed your main tasks for the day.
Schedule Downtime (You’re Going to Need It)
The goal of life is not to work yourself to death. We all need a little downtime. The question is whether you control your downtime or it controls you.
Think about how you waste your time. Facebook? Texting friends? Doodling as a creative outlet?
We all get distracted occasionally, but the trick is to let yourself do it at a predetermined time.
Is your schedule time-driven? Give yourself 15 minutes of playtime every few hours.
Maybe your day is goal-driven. Then, you can say, “Once I do this, this, and this, I can check in on Facebook and return texts for 15 minutes.”
Use this system to plan your social life, catch up with friends, and go to lunches at set times. You know you’re going to have periods of time when you’re not working, so accept them and schedule them into your day!
Set (Reasonable) Goals With a Planner
You probably keep a to-do list somewhere, even if it’s in your head. When you’re working from home, you have to get strict with your due dates, especially if you’re juggling a lot.
Start by finding a planner that works for you. There are a lot of free calendar apps you might like.
Or, you can go with the tried-and-true paper calendar. Just make sure to use it consistently to keep track of your deadlines and appointments.
Whichever type of calendar you choose, there should be room on each day’s section for a task list. Every morning, begin your workday by reviewing the previous day’s task list and adding new things as you think of them.
End your day by checking off what you did and moving incomplete items to the next day.
Be sure that your goals are reasonable, though. Challenging yourself to do too much is dangerous, because you may take a huge self-esteem hit if you can’t reach your goals.
Stick to Your Boundaries
When no one knows what you’re doing, they’ll think it’s okay to bother you at their convenience. This isn’t completely their fault if you didn’t set up boundaries at the start.
To prevent hard feelings as you adjust to working from home, set “office hours” where you’re “on the clock” and can’t be bothered.
Treat your environment as though you were in a traditional office. Would the person interrupting be able to talk to you if you were working out of the house?
As long as you also set “social hours,” family and friends will learn when it’s okay to stop by or call. It may take some adjusting at first, but it will also save your sanity!
The perks to working from home can outweigh the negative aspects if you stick to a routine. When everyone else knows what to expect from your schedule, they’ll slowly adjust to it.
And when you get used to it, you’ll find that it’s as easy as your office job was, but with better benefits!