Tips for Staying Productive When Working At Home
Working from home has so many benefits, but you need to realize that it is not as easy as you may think. With all this disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are now faced with “working from home” in some capacity. The past two years I have been working from home, while taking care of my toddler, Caroline.
Today, I am going to share my 6 tips for staying productive while working from home.
Tip #1 Have a designated workspace
You may not have an “at home office space” but find a place in your house away from distractions (ie TV or next to kid’s playroom) that you can work peacefully. I either work at my dining room table or in my laundry room/office upstairs. I do not work well with any distractions around me, so the TV stays off and I put my dogs away if I need to. I’ve found that I accomplish so much more without the TV on or music playing, but you may work fine with one or the other.
Tip #2: Create a predictable routine
You do not have to schedule every single hour of the day. However, it is helpful to have a “loose routine” to follow. Daily routines will look different depending on if you have kids or not, but I make sure to schedule in time for meals, exercise, rest and relaxation every day.
Tip #3: Limit Social Media
Social media is a time sucker. You may “hop on” real quick and next thing you know, 30 minutes have passed. I ALWAYS leave my phone in another room if I am working. This helps me stay productive and helps decrease my daily screen time. If you absolutely must use your phone to work, then you can delete social media apps or have a very specific to do list, so you aren't tempted to scroll.
Tip #4: Take a quick break every hour
Just like kids, adults need breaks too! I have this block timer from Amazon that I use to time my work time. I write down exactly what I plan to do, set the timer to 60 minutes, then work, completely distraction-free. Once the timer goes off, I make sure to stand up, stretch, refill my water and take a break (with NO SOCIAL MEDIA). It is only maybe 5 minutes, but it keeps me refreshed and productive.
Tip #5 Set achievable daily goals, instead of making a to-do list
The fastest way to get overwhelmed is by creating a mile-long to-do list and trying to finish it all by 5 pm. It’s not going to happen (especially if you have kids at home) In the morning, I write down my 3 tasks that absolutely must get done for the day. I use an app/website called Trello to keep track of my to-do lists. When it’s work time, I work on those three tasks ONLY. Nothing else. If I finish early, then I pick another task from my “This Month” to-do list column.
Tip #6: Find time for YOU
You need to have some kind of work/life balance. Working from home (with or without kids) it’s hard to set boundaries for yourself. If you’re like me, I am a workaholic and can easily work all day long with no breaks. I was working from the time I got up, anytime my daughter, Caroline was sleeping, all the way until I went to bed at night. I was exhausted and overwhelmed. So, I set my boundaries.
I do a morning routine when I get up, which includes some reading, a daily gratitude journal, and some time to just SIT and drink my coffee hot. This is for about a half-hour, then I do start some work. At night, I stop work by 8/8:30pm or don’t work at all after Caroline goes to bed. I set my work hours like I was actually in an office working, so that it doesn’t start intruding my personal time.
Once a month, I take an entire weekday off of working and will just relax and watch Netflix or take a nap and read. I don’t schedule that day, but rather take it when I am beginning to feel overworked (or my husband tells me to take a day) Having time to yourself and setting boundaries will help stop that feeling of overwhelm.
I hope this blog post helps you work from home, without getting overwhelmed and staying sane!
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