As coronavirus stay at home orders continue in different parts of the country and the world, more and more people are beginning or continuing to work from home as a safety precaution. Many people aren’t crazy about working from home because it can be difficult to focus on the work that needs to get done, or on the other hand, it can be difficult to unplug from work at the end of the day. Whatever the case may be, working from home may require a little bit of adjusting to. But with a little practice, you can find a way to work from home while also having a balanced lifestyle. Here are some tips on how to do just that!
Make a schedule and stick to it.
I don’t know what it is about schedules, but I’ve always found that writing out a schedule for my day (just like you would have at the very least a loose schedule that you stick to while in school) sets me up to be really productive.
Having a schedule written down (not just in your head) forces you to be accountable for what you’re doing throughout the day. If you don’t go into your day with a plan, it’s easy to lay on the couch and get invested in the latest Netflix series and then all of a sudden, it’s 5 in the evening and you haven’t gotten any work done.
Start with a to do list of what you what to get accomplished during the day, then schedule yourself blocks of time where you’re focused on one task per block. I’ve found it’s easier to stay focused when you commit to working for a set block of time, rather than just working until your task is done.
Don’t forget to work in other blocks for fun activities, meals, and self care so you’re not just working nonstop all day.
Put your phone down.
While smart phones are immensely helpful in countless ways, they can be huge distractions when you’re trying to get work done, especially when you’re working somewhere other than a traditional office setting. And sometimes, shutting your phone off or putting it in another room isn’t a practical solution if you need your phone for certain tasks.
If putting your phone down is challenging for you, there’s a couple apps than can help you out with that. One of my go-to apps for this is called Flora. You set a timer for a block of time and a virtual plant grows while the timer runs down. But if you touch your phone before the timer runs out, you kill the virtual plant. Personally, that’s the perfect motivator for me to not touch my phone.
If there’s something you absolutely need your phone for, there is a “break” option, where you can use your phone for a short time without killing your tree. But your break time will be deducted from your total focus time.
Give yourself a “stop time.”
One of the hardest things about working home can actually be stopping working for the night. When you’re actually going to work, it’s easier to stop your day when you leave the office and get in your car to go home. But you don’t really have that clear division when you work from home.
In your schedule for the day, write in a time where you won’t do anymore work and then stick to it. Switch to a different non-work related task, like cooking dinner, when that time comes.
It’s not healthy to bring your work home with you under normal conditions. And think about it: how often are you asked to work after your work day is over when you’re actually commuting to work and not working from home? If the answer is never, then try not to do it when you work from home either.
While it may be harder to create a home/work division when you’re working from home, but there’s definitely ways to do it.
Find things to do other than work.
This kind of ties into picking a time everyday to stop working for the day. It’s really easy to burn yourself out if all you’re doing every day is working. One way to combat that is to find a new hobby (or continue improving at an old one) to give yourself something to do and focus on other than work.
It’s easier than ever to find a new hobby and get good at it. There’s countless free videos on YouTube that you can use to learn about new hobbies.
Finding a new hobby gives you something to do at the end of your work day (besides more work) and can even serve as a stress relief. You can even use your new hobby as a sort of reward system if you’re looking for extra motivation: one solid block of work equals one block to work on your hobby, or whatever breakdown works for you. Don’t underestimate the power of a new hobby.
Make sure you’re taking care of yourself.
When you’re at home all the time and trying to get work done, it can be easy to neglect some important acts of self care without even realizing it. How many times have you accidentally missed a meal or forgotten to take a shower because you were so focused on work that needed to get done? It’s something that’s happened to everyone at least once or twice.
Taking care of yourself is even more important than ever now that a lot of your time is being spent at home. One way to make sure this is getting done is to make a checklist of everything you need to do for yourself every day.
Try to eat three meals a day to keep yourself nourished. Make an effort to go outside, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Take care of your hygiene. Keep tabs on your mental health. Remember that no job is more important than your health.