You might imagine journalists and bloggers always on the road, but the reality is quite different, we spend a lot of time sitting in front of our laptops. Working from home or remotely is, in most cases, the nature of our job.
With the current situation and the recent outbreak, many people who used to work in an office are being asked to work from home. If you are one of them, you might find it a bit difficult at the beginning, but don’t worry you will get used to it and you might even end up loving it.
If you have never worked from home, you most likely consider your home a place to relax and get away from all the hassle at work. But now you have to work from what used to be a relaxing place and it can be hard to get into the habit of working. I was in your shoes 7 years ago. I have been working from home on and off for a few years and I tried various different ways to increase my productivity. I like to think I’ve been successful so far and I currently manage to post new content regularly on my blog and YouTube channel.
I am going to share some of the tips that helped me stay focused, motivated and productive while working remotely or in isolation.
1. Set a schedule
If you are working remotely for a company, you might have to stick to some core working hours. You are expected to be working and available during these hours, so it might make it easier to follow a routine.
But if you work for yourself you should be careful, you can easily end up working crazy hours or not working at all. The best way to avoid issues is to set your own working hours and stick with that.
It is usually a good idea to start working in the early hours of the day and work for at least 6 hours depending on your workload.
2. Don’t stay in your pyjamas
Get up before your work schedule starts. Take a shower, get out of your pyjamas, and dress up like you would for work.
You don’t have to wear a suit or a formal dress, of course, you can wear something you are comfortable with.
This will help you get into the right headspace and ready for any online meeting if required.
3. Pick one dedicated workspace
Don’t bring your laptop to bed or on the sofa to work.
Try to set up a workplace room or a dedicated place to work outside of your bedroom. It is a good idea to keep your bedroom a sacred space just to relax and sleep. If this is not an option, you should designate some space as far as you can from your bed.
Having a dedicated place to work at home, helps you focus more and stay motivated.
4. Take regular short breaks
When you are in the office, you don’t work 100% of the time. You might join a conversation with your colleagues or get distracted by other things happening around you. These are good opportunities to take a break, but when you are home, these won’t happen, so you should try to schedule some breaks throughout the working day instead. Make yourself a tea or coffee, or just have a look outside your window.
5. Take a proper lunch break
When you are in the office, you usually have a one hour break for lunch. Keep this habit when you work from home. Don’t eat your lunch in front of your computer. Go and eat somewhere you can’t look at anything that is work-related.
6. Avoid doing household chores during working hours
When I started working from home, I was easily getting distracted if I saw something dirty or dust around the house and I would start cleaning up straightaway. Nowadays, I force myself to avoid doing household chores throughout my working day. You can instead block some specific time for them, which could even be during your breaks.
7. Stay off Social Media
Social media can be really distracting and if you are not careful you might end up wasting hours staring at your phone without even noticing.
Turn off all social media related notifications when you are working, also on your laptop. This will help you avoid unnecessary distractions, and you will be able to get more done.
8. Join a video call
Working from home can make you feel quite lonely.
If you are a part of a team try to stay in touch with your team members. Instead of sending them messages, try to have a video call. You can arrange meetings via Skype, Facetime or Zoom.
If you work by yourself call your friends or family during your breaks, talking to them will lift up your mood.
9. Get out
If you are not in quarantine or self-isolated try to get some fresh air at least once a day. Even if it is a short walk around your block.
When working from home, you might feel trapped, being outside will help you overcome mental blocks.
10. Turn off your work notifications after work
It is important to turn off your work-related notifications when your working day is over. It is so easy to overwork when you work from home, so try to disconnect.
11. Exercise and stay active
Working from home usually means sitting behind a desk for hours without doing any actual physical activity. If you can’t go to the gym or any fitness classes, you can still work out at home.
I don’t think I should emphasise the importance of exercise for your physical and mental health.
12. Don’t go to bed too late
Getting used to working from home might be somewhat difficult. It might feel like holiday time and you might be tricked into thinking that you can go to bed later than usual. But this is not a good idea.
You need to go to bed at a reasonable hour to get enough sleep. If you are employed, your working hours are set, but if you are working for yourself, you also have to stick to your schedule. Being well-rested will help you stay focused and productive throughout the day.