I know a lot of people have been affected by the pandemic in ways that aren’t just being sick. People have lost their jobs, can’t access food, are asked or forced to stay home or in a quarantine facility, and aren’t getting paid. Some of us have been asked to work from home and I believe that we are lucky in having this opportunity.
I know that I personally have struggled over the last couple weeks about how to attack working from home and making sure that I am using my time wisely while also working on my other projects and goals. So, I researched some tips and added my own to help all my readers make their own working from home transitions.
Think about the positives. There are a lot of upsides that come with working from home. Business News Daily discussed a study that revealed that on average, people who work from home are more productive (https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/15259-working-from-home-more-productive.html). They believe it is related to being able to take breaks when it is necessary and being in a more comfortable work environment. We aren’t forced to sit at work when we have no work left to be done for the day. There is a possibility that we may even be making “more” money because we aren’t paying for gas to commute to work or other expenses.
Consider what you want to accomplish while working at home. I am the type of person that has a million things going on in my personal life that I usually devote time to after work. When I knew that I would be transitioning to working at home, I had to think about what I really wanted to be my primary focus. I wrote mine on a sticky note and attached it to the bulletin board above my desk. Ideally, you have a little more time on your hands to devote to those other activities. It felt really overwhelming at first, and then I got excited when I saw the potential to accomplish everything. (There is definitely a few more things I am thinking of while writing this post that I would add to my list.) Don’t forget that your paying job has to come first!
Create a space specifically for working. This one is a challenge for a lot of people, especially if you have a small home or kids that need your attention. My advice is to find a corner of your house, or utilize that desk you shoved in the corner, and make that a “work only” zone. This is where you set up your supplies and where you will sit during your working hours. If you are able to create a quiet environment, that is a bonus but I understand that that is not feasible for everyone.
Declutter and organize your work space. Think about what materials you need to be successful AND happy. You do not want to create a workspace that makes you feel trapped and unhappy. Find some things around your home that you can add to your workspace -> a jar of pens, your coffee mug, a candle, a picture of you and your loved ones, a lamp. I tried really hard to keep my area minimalistic while also giving me a warm fuzzy feeling. I had already made bulletin boards squares so I added them to the wall.
Also think about what is around your workspace. My desk has a small slide out shelf that I decluttered and now it only holds the notebooks and tablets that I will need to accomplish my work. Because I am tucked next to my dresser I also cleared off that space and cleaned the dust off.
Plan out your time. Whether you are a paper planner or a mental planner, figure out what your new routine is going to be like. Because I have so many things on my list of goals, I wrote everything out on a planner so that I can visually cross things off. (It is satisfying for me!)
Start with your job. What time do you need to be at your computer/work space? When do you have meetings that you need to tune in for? What expectations do you need to fulfill for your job? Plan out that stuff for the week so you know when and where you have time for other things.
Then, fill in the blanks. I added a pieces of my goals to each day so that I could make progress on everything. But, I have a time specifically set aside for work and I know that I cannot compromise on that.
Do not feel the need to go out and buy a new planner! Use a notebook or a tablet, or a digital calendar if that works for you.
Be flexible and realistic. This is new territory for a lot of us, myself included. It is important to be flexible and ready for things to change. A new meeting might pop up, or your kids might start crying in the other room. Understand that working at home might be more fluid than your regular job because of your life situation. To help with that, I would prioritize a list of “must do today” items and make sure that those get crossed off. That way, if you feel as though you have fallen behind, you have really accomplished the things that are the most important.
Be realistic. There are 24 hours in a day. 6-8 of those hours we typically spend sleeping. We also need time to eat, relax with loved ones, and decompress for the day. Do not beat yourself up because you didn’t do a million things at home today. Just move it to the next list, reprioritize, and take a deep breath.
Most importantly, take breaks and have fun. Maybe working at home is not something you want to do forever, but there is no sense in not enjoying the experience while it is here. Take breaks when you need to and try to find moments of happiness throughout your day. Maybe you read a few more pages or started that book you have always wanted to write.
“Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day.” -Alice Morse Earle.