Working from home can be a major transition for anyone not used to it, let alone factoring everything else going on in the world right now. As someone who has worked from home (with the exception of going onsite to see clients), for the last 2.5 years, I’ve learned a few things along the way that I would love to share. I hope these tips help you during this time of transition, but remember, change takes time. While you might not be used to WFH life overnight, stay the course and try to implement something new each day. Remember, every new day is a new opportunity to improve on the last.
- Create your work-space and define boundaries. If you have a home office, great, if not, no problem! Find an area that you can designate as your work-space. This could mean setting up in your spare bedroom or converting your dining area into a work area. The important thing in choosing your space is to do your best to separate it from where you will do your living. For example, my apartment has a small nook that I have converted into my office. Anytime I am in the nook area I am working. When I’m done for the day I shut off the light and do not go back in that area until the following work day. It’s nice to have a different work day view than my every day living view, plus my husband knows that when I’m in my office area, I won’t be able to chat as much. While all of this seems small, it is very significant. Having a designated area of work and productivity will not only help you get in the right head space and prevent you from getting distracted, but it is also a signal to other family members that you are in work mode. Another pro tip is to make sure your work area has plenty of light! You will be spending a lot of time here, so be sure that you are not having to squint at your work.
- Once you have designated your work-space, give it your own personal touch. If your area is cluttered, your mind will be too. Make sure your area is organized and stocked with everything you will need to get your work done. Once this is set up, give it a personal touch – it is always fun to decorate your work area (just like you would your desk at work)! My office is where I have my vision board and some of my past running accomplishments are displayed. Whenever I am feeling a little frustrated, I take a break and look at my goals and achievements which allows me to reset and remember my why! If your work-space is very temporary, that doesn’t mean you can’t decorate. If you’re setting up a the kitchen table, grab a small succulent or a photo that makes you happy and set it next to your computer! It is a small gesture that will give you a little bit of joy! Note: Pictured below are a few examples of what I have done to personalize my work area!
- Have a daily schedule, and stick to it! Either you will run the day, or the day will run you. If you have a plan going into the day and it is scheduled, you will be more likely to stay on track. I am a visual person, so I love to see everything laid out in a to-do list or calendar format. I have an entire article HERE about how to schedule out your calendar. It helps to make appointments for yourself with everything you have to do for the day, just like you would if you had an appointment to leave home. Every night I go through and schedule my “appointments”/to do list for the following day, so I always start my day ready to go!
- Get ready, just like you would if you were leaving for work. I’m not saying you need to get into a full suit, but find a happy medium between just rolled out of bed and business professional. It helps me to get up, get ready right away, and put on something that is comfortable, but that I could actually leave the house in if I wanted to. If you’re someone who likes to show off your outfits, snap a selfie and send it to a friend! If you’re wearing something that makes you happy, it’ll boost your mood and make you more excited to get your day started.
- Set the mood. This could be different for everyone. Personally, I love to light a few candles, drink my morning cup of coffee, and put on some light background music. Whatever is going to get you into the groove, do it! Other ideas are working out before you start your day, meditation/yoga, reading a personal development book, writing your daily intentions/affirmations, etc. Try a few different things until you find what works for you and puts you in a positive head space to have a great day.
- Take breaks. Staring at a screen all day can be exhausting and lead to eye strain and headaches. Set a timer every hour and take a few minutes to get up, walk around your home, and/or even step outside for a few minutes. Sometimes I like to do a few body weight exercises to get my blood flowing, such as squats or jumping jacks. Whatever you do, try to be as mobile as possible so that you do not get stiff or injured.
- Remember you’re not alone! If you work on a team, check in with your work friends via text, Skype/Instant Messaging, or even pick up the phone and give them a call! My team does this a lot to bounce ideas off of each other, just like we would if we were in a physical office. This is a great way to remember that while you may be at home, you’re not in this on your own. We might not be able to socially interact in person, but there are plenty of virtual options out there to help you stay connected.