Working effectively from home

The washing machine, cleaning, children, pets, TV, flat mates, garden, telephone and WhatsApp can all be distractions when trying to work from home. 

Unless you usually work remotely, working from home in a lockdown may at first be met with positivity and eagerness. After all, unless you’re a key worker or you’ve been asked to go into work, you won’t have to face the morning traffic, public transport, the morning and evening rush and you don’t need to be swept away with the rush of life. 

However, how soon is too soon before distractions start seeping in, you end up feeling bored of the same environment and view, lack of contact with others, and how long before you’re dreaming of the day when you finally get to walk out of your front door with your work bag in hand. 

Here are some tips to help you to thrive when working from home: 

Create your office sanctuary 

Make sure you have a dedicated and efficient work desk and environment. Detox, clear and set up your office with laptop, phone, notebooks, stationary, and a schedule. Consider what motivates you i.e. is it a quote which you could pin up on a board or place into a frame, a motivational book to place on your desk or photos of your family etc. Consider spraying some uplifting room scent around the office or lighting a candle, wrap yourself up into a blanket and pop on some relaxing background music. Or if you’d feel more productive why not get fully dressed and ready to start the day right. 

If you don’t currently have a work space, then consider creating and transforming a corner of a room or choose a room in the house which is dedicated to just work. 

When are you most productive? 

Unless you’re asked to work certain hours, not everyone will work effectively at the same time of day. If this is the case, work out which time of day you’re most productive and schedule your day around this. 

Create a daily schedule

Always make sure you have know what you’d like to achieve at the end of each working week and then break down this larger goal by asking each day what smaller steps you need to address in order to accomplish your weekly results. 

Schedule daily schedule of manageable priorities and sub-priorities and have a check list which will help you to feel more productive. 

If you don’t manage to accomplish some of these steps ask yourself whether you were distracted, or whether you were  procrastinating, or was it a time management issue? Then re-schedule or break down the steps even further. Remember ‘small steps lead to big destinations’ and ‘imperfection action is always better than perfection inaction’ 

Work hard play hard 

It’s no good burning the midnight oil, just as it’s no good to keep procrastinating and putting off your to do list. 

In order to work effectively, you must leave time to feel refreshed and be able to balance your work and your personal life. As nearly all of the nation are being asked to stay home and work for safety, work and life boundaries can become blurred so balancing work and life are even more crucial. 

Make sure to take breaks, treat yourself and spend time with the people or family in your house. Schedule in ‘family time’ breaks, ‘touch base’ chats and ‘me  time’. Then start, return or stop your work at the scheduled times

Multi -tasking 

Some readers may think I’m highly optimistic for suggesting that you need to set boundaries at home, especially if you are caring for children, more vulnerable people or the elderly at home. When chaos ensues, it’s difficult to maintain your focus, let alone even find the time to sit down and work. 

Why not schedule in some timed tasks, online learning and fun challenges the whole family can get involved with. Set a dedicated work space with an iPad, notebooks, stationary etc for the children so that they too feel as though they are working. Then come back together when you’re all on your breaks. 

Alternatively, have a schedule and take it in turns with your partner or flat mates to take care of home tasks, children and so forth. 

Otherwise, if you’re a multi-tasker and you work efficiently this way, then continue to surround yourself with environments in your home which motivate you. 

Stay Connected: 

If you’re part of a team, keeping the communication channels open is important as well as to know who is working on which tasks.  Make sure you check in each day perhaps once in the morning and at the end of the day to review via zoom or an online platform.  

For motivation, why not suggest creating a motivational WhatsApp or online group which can motivate, schedule and help keep you all stay on task and accountable for your individual or shared tasks per day. 

If you work solo, make sure you stay connected to other entrepreneurs and connect via professional learning or development opportunities. 

Remember, working from home doesn’t have to be seen as a pause in your work year, it can be seen as an opportunity to get things done, to learn about new opportunities and to focus and share your professional/personal development and skills.  

Finally stay connected with yourself, your needs and your need for self-care.