The idea of working from home can be appealing. You get to skip the commute and have the flexibility of working independently. However, remote work can also present some challenges. Without the structure of an office atmosphere to keep you on task, it’s easy to get distracted. Your productivity doesn’t have to suffer if you prepare for this experience and enter it with a focused mindset. Follow these tips to make work-from-home easier.
Keep a Schedule
Having flexibility is a wonderful thing; however, it can easily get out of hand if you don’t add some structure to your day. One of the best ways to do that is to create regular working hours. Keep a routine work schedule and stick to it. This will help you to stay on track.
You can schedule your working hours around your most productive time of day. Maintaining a routine keeps you accountable, lets co-workers know when they can expect to reach you, and increases productivity.
One danger of working at home is the temptation to make yourself available constantly. Let your colleagues and clients know your work hours and be sure they understand you are unavailable past those times. Communicate with your family or housemates also. It’s important to keep professional time and personal time as separate as possible. Allowing them to mix can lead to burnout and frustration. You’ll get more done when you’re clear about boundaries.
Plan Your Day
You’ll also be more accomplished when you plan your day ahead of time. Sure, things may come up, but having an agenda in advance will make it easier to roll with the punches. Know your most energized times of the day and plan to work on your toughest tasks then. Schedule regular breaks as a reward for accomplishing a task.
Making a plan the night before might ease your mind and allow for a better night’s sleep. Some people prefer to look at their agenda first thing in the morning over coffee and then push forward. Do what works best for you. What’s most important is that you avoid winging it, which can lead to errors, lack of productivity, and frustration.
Build Your Space
None of the above strategies will do much good if you don’t have a dedicated workspace that’s comfortable and that contains the tools you need most. You may hear people brag about working in their pajamas from the bed, but this isn’t always the best approach. Having a dedicated space for work lets your brain know it’s time for business. It improves concentration and focus.
Having the proper equipment and setup also just makes things easier and more comfortable. Get a proper desk, if possible, as well as a chair that supports your posture. Make sure you have the equipment you need on hand as well. Things such as a fast computer, office headset, and any specialty tools you may need ensure you get the job done as efficiently as possible. You don’t want to waste time-fighting with faulty equipment or having to wait until you can obtain the right tool.
One of the perks of working from home is that you can dress how you please for the most part. That doesn’t mean you should run around in sweatpants all day, though. If your clothes are too comfortable, you might find yourself feeling sluggish or unmotivated. What you wear truly does send cues to your brain, just as your work setting does.
Instead, be sure to get up, take a shower, and brush your teeth each day. Wear clothes that look professional and make you feel good, just as you would if you were going into the office. You still have some flexibility here. You might be able to dress a bit more casually at home than you would in a more professional atmosphere. Just be sure to make the effort to look and feel your best. You’ll be surprised at the effect this has on your outlook.
Keep these tips in mind when preparing to work from home. A bit of forethought and preparation can improve your overall productivity as well as your mindset. Be prepared for some trial and error, but soon you’ll be enjoying your work-from-home experience.