Tips for surviving working from home

Happy Wednesday! I mean…Tuesday? Wait, it’s not Thursday already is it? Oh…you get the point! Working from home as many of us are these days, one day rolls into the next! It can get monotonous, not to mention downright hard when your kids are home, for those that are parents. Productivity can easily suffer if we don’t have set plans for the day, and also take time to recharge with breaks. I like to think of my work days in terms of beginning, middle, and end. So here are my biggest tips for each part of the day when working from home!

Beginning of your workday

After your caffeinated beverage of choice, (if you need it!), the first thing you should do is take stock of the day and get fully ready for the day. 

To-do list: The best way to do this is through a to-do list. I know a lot of us might like to just dive into starting to work, but it’s just a few minutes out of the day, and will pay dividends in terms of keeping you on task and focused. Think of 3-4 “must do” things, as well as a list of “maybes”. Focus on your must-do’s throughout the day, and if you have time, dip into your “maybe” list. Also, have weekly and monthly goals too. Always be looking at the bigger picture in terms of work, which can help you stay organized in your mind as well when it comes to the why’s and when’s of getting stuff done. 

Organize your space: Having a dedicated working space is key. Just like using your bed exclusively for sleeping sets the tone for bedtime, having a work space—whether that’s a whole room as your home office or a specific little corner of the couch with a table you set your laptop on—can help set the tone for your work day and make you more focused and productive when working from home. For a finishing touch, add something in your work space that brings you joy…could be a vase of flowers, an aromatherapy diffuser, or a framed picture of your family. 

Middle of your workday

Ok, so you’ve gotten started on your work day, and are making great progress on that to-do list….when the afternoon slump hits like a ton of bricks. Suddenly motivation is out the window. Here are my tips to keep things going:

Take breaks when needed: Yes, breaks are ok, and even recommended! Take 10-15 minutes to get up and walk around. Even better, do a short yoga routine or some stretches. There are some great stretch workouts that are specifically geared toward people who sit on the computer all day for work, which many of us who are working from home now are doing. Or take a walk outside: fresh air and sunshine help boost your mood and productivity levels!

Connect: If you live with others, chances are they may be working from home as well, or in online classes, summer programs, or digital extracurricular activities. When you take a break, involve them as well. Take a short family walk. Or have them join in on your yoga workout. If they work outside the home, take some time to send a nice text message checking in on them. Or text or call a friend to touch base. I know this doesn’t exactly have to do with working, but, just like with taking breaks, taking time for some human interaction and conversation can help you return to work feeling refreshed and recharged. 

End of your workday

At the end of the day it’s time to put the finishing touches on any projects and work items due that day, prepare for the next day, then switch to your home-self!

Last look at your to-do list: Take a look at your to-do list towards the end of the day. Make sure you’ve finished and checked off any and all urgent things you planned on doing that day, and use this last chunk of the day to finish up anything important that you haven’t gotten to. For everything else you weren’t able to get to, roll them over to the next day’s to-do list. Also, prepare your space for the next day.

Self-Reflection: At the end of the work day, I’ve found it helpful to stop and reflect upon what you’ve accomplished that day. Sometimes we get so caught up in work and what we still have to do, that we forget how much we’ve accomplished in the day! 

Switch to home-self: And last but certainly not least, close that laptop, close out those open windows with your work accounts and email or work texts on your phone, and focus on home. You’ve done it, you’ve made it through another day of working at home!

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