There is an assumption among most people that life will eventually return to normal, and we will one day leave this whole Pandemic thing behind us. But there’s no denying it’s brought changes, and a person wonders if some of them might last. Companies have invested a lot of time and thought into continuing operations with minimal personal contact, and more people are working from home than ever before. Even in the trades, which are considered essential services, zoom meetings and home offices are becoming more common. Some people hate it, some people love it. But whoever you are, here are 7 ways you can set yourself up to succeed while working from home:
- Create a Schedule. Creating a work schedule that is consistent from day to day helps to create a sense of normalcy, and boosts efficiency. Knowing that you have to be at the computer at 9 am, for instance, even if it’s just for an hour or two, will get your day off to a productive start.
- Create a Space. It’s good to have a home office, or one part of a room, that you consistently use for official duties. As you establish that space as a work zone, the physical act of stepping into it actually helps your mind prepare for and accept the upcoming work.
- Create a Stopping Point. One of the dangers of working form home is that a person can let work bleed over into personal time and late into the night. This might sound crazy…but teach yourself that you can trust yourself. By establishing a “punch out” time and sticking to it, you actually make it easier to begin your work day. You know you’ll end on time, and so don’t need to dread beginning a potentially endless work day.
- Disarming distractions. If you have children, being an effective at-home businessperson requires some planning. Try to schedule at least a few hours in the day where your kids are taken care of and you can really focus on the job at hand. For some people, it’s as easy as getting up a couple of hours before the kids do. For the rest of us normal people, it may require playtime in the backyard, a planning session with your spouse, or a call to Grandma.
- Love the Lists. Creating a to-do checklist for the day really helps productivity. Some people like to sit down at the start of a work day and plan out how to best use the time. Others (like me) like to carve out 15 minutes or so at the end of the workday to create the next day’s list, while responsibilities are still fresh in the mind.
- Delicious Detachment. Just as it’s important to be able to let go of the workday at quitting time, it’s also healthy to be able to step away from the computer during the day. Try turning off the technology during lunchtime and breaks to give your mind, and your eyes, a rest. If you’re able to get a change of scenery for lunch, like sitting out on the balcony or in the backyard, even better.
- Accept Accountability. There are people who naturally take well to working from home, and the reality is there are also people who don’t. Some people struggle with procrastination and focus, and tend to not fare as well. The problem with these Pandemic times, is that working from home has been thrust on many of us whether we’re naturally good at it or not. If you’re someone who struggles, create accountability. Scheduled weekly facetimes and submission deadlines can be just the kick in the pants you need to get that report written, or those phone calls made.