When your boss told you working from home would be your new normal for a while, you weren’t entirely sure how to feel about it. Would you still be able to get everything done while telecommuting? How would you get all your work done when there are so many distractions at home?
Welcome to our world (she says with arms spread in welcome)! Those of us who have based our careers writing or making calls are quite familiar with your dilemma. We’ve turned our living rooms into home offices. Our kids know they’d better not touch our computers. And the commute is manageable as long as the cat hasn’t gotten sick in the hallway.
We don’t exactly have it down to a science, but we can certainly pass on a few tips to you we’ve gained from a few years’ worth of experience.
You should definitely have one. If you wait around for something to happen to start working, you’ll probably be playing catch-up all day. Have a plan of attack. Schedule meetings in groups. You’ll find that once you are on a roll, you won’t want to stop, so take advantage of that efficiency and motivation. Include in your schedule time to talk to people—not just colleagues, but others who can get you thinking about things other than work. Maybe use this opportunity to have a lunch date (remotely, of course, if it’s not with someone you’re already quarantining with). Variety, as they say, is the spice of life. It’ll help keep your mind more alert, allowing you to do better work.
This might take some experimentation. Obviously you won’t work your best in the hub of family activity. Place yourself away from the TV or anything that could pull your attention away from the task at hand. You might even benefit from facing a window. Sunlight has actually been shown to increase your productivity! It’ll also provide an incentive to finish working in time to get outside before the sun goes down. Make sure the chair and desk you’re using are ergonomically supportive. If you’re using furniture that doesn’t fit you, you’ll find that eight hours can turn into a very, very long time.
Get up and get dressed! Yes, working from the couch or bed in your pajamas sounds mighty tempting. We’ll be the first to admit to doing this from time to time. But we promise you’ll feel more motivated and productive if you get up, get dressed, and do the things that make you feel like yourself. If you’re the type that loves to do your hair and makeup, go for it! It doesn’t matter if no one outside of your home will see you. If it’s something that makes you feel quintessentially you, then do it. You’ll find that the little things like this will turn into big things that give you a sense of normalcy during this time.
Your Coffee Break
Make sure to take regular breaks like you would on a normal work day. It’s helpful to actually pencil these breaks into your schedule (see above). Use this time to get up and move around. Getting your circulation going can help stave off that mid-afternoon slump. Do NOT use this time to check Facebook or Twitter unless you completely trust yourself to keep track of time. If you can keep your phone on “Do Not Disturb,” or turn off your phone while you work, break time can be a time to check missed messages. Use your work time to work.
Your Work Time
Take advantage of your work-from-home time to work the way that best suits you. Listen to the music that gets you moving, if that’s how you work. Create a schedule that you know will allow you to accomplish more tasks more efficiently. If you’re a morning person, tackle the more difficult tasks first thing after an early workout. If the afternoon has your power hour, do the little things early and save the meaty stuff for the afternoon. Just make sure you get up and get dressed to work every day.
For most, working remotely is a temporary situation. For others, it may become something more permanent. Either way, we are all just one big family here on Earth, trying to support each other through a difficult time. We wish all the best to you and your family. Little Red Writing remains here for you when you need us.