The coronavirus outbreak has much of the nation remote working, many for the first time. Once you become accustomed to it, working from home can be a fulfilling and productive experience, however it can be tricky to strike and maintain a healthy balance at first. Making it a success for you is likely to require a few tweaks to your usual routines and habits!
1. Set Yourself Up With A Dedicated Workspace
Slinking from the comfort of your bed straight to the nearest desk space – or reaching out for your laptop and working from beneath the duvet is unlikely to be the most productive of settings! Choose an appropriate space to be your designated work area and set it up with all the equipment you need. Preferably this area will have minimal foot traffic from other members of the household, so avoid the kitchen at all costs! Ideally you will be able to close the door behind you, enabling you to get down to business, free from distractions.
2. Define Your Work Hours
Creating clear boundaries between your work and personal life is crucial. Sure, you may need to deviate from your work schedule once in a while to fit around emergencies and so on but the boundaries you define play a key role in protecting your personal time and sanity, helping you to maintain productivity during working hours.
It is all too easy to blur the lines, getting distracted when you are scheduled to be working or sucked into being available for work at any time of the day. Organise your time efficiently so that you achieve your work goals, before making a clean break to enjoy some relaxation and a sense of peace during your free time.
3. Hone The Technology Fundamentals
Talking to clients is a breeze when you have the right technology at your fingertips. At home it takes some thought and preparation to ensure that your communications are seamless. Run a few tests before instigating a video chat with a client to make sure that your microphone and webcam are set up correctly – and check that your Wi-Fi connection is up to the task! You may find that you need a few new tools to enhance your set up and connect efficiently.
4. The Power Of A Great Morning Routine
A great morning routine can have far greater impact than any clock when it comes to setting your mind up for a productive day in the home office! Think about your current routine and the triggers that are generated from your actions. Do your current habits do a good job of indicating that it is time for work? For some, it could be as simple as getting out of your onesie and brewing a fresh pot of tea! Others may find a short meditation or a jog around the block more beneficial. Experiment and work out the best morning routine for you.
5. Set Some Ground Rules Within Your Household
Unless you live alone, you will need to set ground rules, so that other members of the household know what they can and cannot do during working hours. These will vary hugely from one household to the next – but a rule like ‘no recorder practice before 5pm’, or the simple action of hanging a ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door, could help to avoid an unexpected and potentially embarrassing interruption to a telephone or video call!
6. Use Lists To Keep You Focussed
You cannot beat a good list for keeping you on track and focussed. At the end of each day, make a note of any tasks you were unable to complete, so that they are fresh in your mind for the next working day. Try circling the 5 most important tasks for each day on your list and make it a rule to always prioritise those first.
7. Schedule Regular Breaks & Get Outside!
Reward yourself with breaks at key points during the day as this will help you to stay motivated and on task in between. A 10-minute screen break to relax with a cuppa is a great way to recharge your batteries and stopping to enjoy a nutritious meal is another important break in your working day. Never underestimate the importance of getting outside in the fresh air either – this will work wonders for your sense of wellbeing. Walk the dog, take a brisk stroll or go outside to do some stretching, and breathe, looking up and around. You will notice the difference immediately – I promise!
8. Identify & Combat Your Distractions
Recognise the things that are most likely to distract you and you are immediately in a position to overcome these challenges. For example:
- Noise – purchase some noise cancelling headphones
- Hunger – prep some healthy meals and snacks in advance
- Social Media – disable or switch off notifications whilst you are working
We are all human and prone to the lure of a message from a friend or a quick surf on the net, but simple strategies can keep us in control and on track.
9. Stay Hydrated
Staying adequately hydrated plays a key role in maintaining concentration, boosting mental performance and avoiding fatigue. Try filling a jug or reusable bottle with your target amount of water for the day and place it on your desk as a pertinent reminder to sip away!
10. Make It Fun!
The current situation we find ourselves in is challenging and stressful so make a point of doing what you can to inject a little fun into your working day. Whether that means working in your comfiest garments, blaring your favourite music or enjoying an extended feast with your loved ones at lunch time – then go for it! There must be the odd perk and silver lining to be enjoyed in these uncertain times.