Hey guys! Firstly, I hope you’re all staying safe and are coping okay. Times are difficult at the moment for a lot of people. However it’s super important to remember that this is only temporary! Things will start to improve and slowly go back to normal. Due to Covid-19, a lot of you may be having to work from home, or have decided to start up your own business whilst you have the time.
Working from home is a huge change that can be a struggle. Seeing as I work from home all of the time, I thought I would give some of my advice on how to work from home, and how structure your days and stay focused. Whether you’re working your usual job from home, or you’ve been let go from a job and have decided to give your own business a go, these tips and tricks will hopefully work for you!
Set your work hours
The first thing to do when you’re working from home is to set your work hours. When you attend your away from home job, you will have work hours. You have a time structure that you have to follow and you can’t be late. Working from home is the same. Although you have a lot more freedom in terms of what you wear and when you work, you still need to set yourself a work time. For example, if you find that you are most productive working at 9 and finishing at 5, ensure that you set yourself an hour before starting work to wake up, eat breakfast, check your phone and get ready for the day. You will feel a lot more awake and ready for the day. Find your most productive hours in the day and let this be your time guide. This is the same for your breaks. Give yourself around about an hour to eat your lunch and do something else. Please make sure you don’t work through your work breaks – as tempting as it is. Allow yourself to stop working and do something enjoyable in your break. Also set yourself time to make a coffee, grab a snack or reply to that text you received. Do not work non stop!
Find your work space
The great thing about working from home is that you can do it anywhere in your house! Find a place where you are most comfortable, yet productive. As tempting as it is to work from your bed, try not to! You will find it a lot harder to feel like you’ve started your day if you’re working in the same place you slept. Personally, when working from home I like to work from my dining room rather than at my desk. This allows me to get out of my room and be in a much more open space. It then means that I appreciate my room a lot more at the end of the day, as that turns into a space for me to relax and do something other than work!
Write a ‘to do’ list
At the beginning or end of the day/week. Write a realistic list of things you want to achieve each day. I never used to do this and I would work at whatever came to mind. This made me feel so unorganised and demotivated. It felt like I wasn’t achieving anything and it became a lot harder for me to stop working when I was meant to, because I felt guilty. By writing down a list of things to achieve, you can cross off each thing as you go and physically see how much you’ve achieved. Trust me, you’ll feel a lot more productive.
EAT THE FROG!!
I absolutely love this saying (and I’m terrified of frogs, but hey ho) Even if you love your job, 9 times out of 10 there will always be parts that you do not want to do. I attended a business school called The Pop Up Business School 2 years ago (if they are ever in your area PLEASE go). They taught me a lot about running a business and I have since worked with them on some design work and made lovely friendships. Anyway, one thing they told me was to “eat your frog”. As Mark Twain once said ‘”if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.” The task you are dreading/putting off is your frog. You have to do this task at one point, so you may as well get it done first, without hesitation. That way, the rest of your day will feel satisfying, knowing that the thing you didn’t want to do, is done!
Look forward to something
No matter how big or small, having something to look forward to at the end of the day is really helpful. You’ll find that it boosts your mood and make you feel more motivated to get your tasks done. Right now, we can’t really leave our homes, but your “something” doesn’t have to be huge. For example, today mine is knowing that at 5 o clock, I can stop working, run myself a bath and play some Animal Crossing, and I’m damn excited. Whether you have something tasty in the cupboard waiting for you, or just spending time with family. Find your something to look forward to each day!
Set Ground Rules
Working from home can be difficult if you’re entire family are home. Especially if they arent working. If you’re used to working at an office or elsewhere, you are always surrounded by other people working. This wont always be the case for working from home. So set your ground rules. Let your family/housemates know that you’re working, when your hours are and when you’ll be on break. You’ll find it a lot easier to work knowing that the people you are living with are leaving you in peace (as much as they can)
Don’t be hard on yourself
This is a big one that I still have to tackle on some days. It can be stressful if you don’t get to do as much as you wanted. Or if a task takes up more time than you planned. Similarly, if you find yourself working one minute, then online shopping the next. Don’t punish yourself or get frustrated. It’s important to try and keep a positive view on yourself in situations like this. Instead of getting annoyed at your distractions, think ‘why am I distracted?’ Do you need a quick break? Is there something playing on your mind? Its ok to get distracted, let it happen and quickly snap yourself back to work mode.
Take advantage of working from home
You’re working from home! At this moment, there is no need to travel to and from work. No need to complete your 4th coffee round for the office. The time is yours. During your breaks, or when you finish your jobs, do that thing you never get time to do. Always wanted to bake but never find the time? Now is your chance. Use the time you would’ve used travelling home to do something you enjoy instead.
Create your comfortable environment
I know I’ve already mentioned about finding your workspace, but this is different. Once you find somewhere at home to work, make it your own. Do you miss that dead plant that was on your desk? Get another dead plant to make your workspace feel more like work. Also water your plants. Try listening to music in the background or put the TV on, you may be struggling to work in silence without even realising. This may take a while, but eventually you will find your comfortable environment in which you’ll find it easier to work.
Something that ends up being at the bottom of your priority list when working from home, is socialising. When you’re working, you’ll obviously need to keep focused and not keep popping onto Instagram. However, when you’re work day is complete/in your breaks. Make sure you completely stop working and spendd some time chatting to your friends and family. Whether you text or call them, or spend some time on Xbox. Schedule in time to talk to people. This is so so important, don’t let yourself feel lonely and isolated, especially during this time!
Other Blogs that may help you:
How to: Become a Freelancer: Here
Keeping Motivated: Here