It sounds amazing – you can avoid the rush hour, pointless meetings and office politics. And it actually is amazing. But it can feel a little isolated at times, especially if times are not great. Even though you are not leaving the house, it’s important that you feel good about yourself and have a clear agenda for your day/week. It’s all very easy to lounge around in pyjamas, doing a million other non-business related activities – and probably ending the day in panic about the time you wasted. If you are looking to be productive and happy when working from home, here are a few of my lessons learnt:
- Don’t work from home
Sounds bizarre, but if you can avoid sitting at home with your laptop all day, do it. Take your phone and laptop with you and go to your local café, or co-working space, or anywhere where you can get Internet connection. It’s so refreshing not to be at home all the time and chances are you will meet new people and get new ideas. So be out there as much as you can.
- Get ready for a day in the office
Your home is your office. So start your day at the same time every day if you can, and don’t start working until you are showered, had breakfast and look and feel ready for the day ahead. It will change the way you look at your working day and feeling good will have a great impact on your confidence levels.
- Plan your day
Plan your tasks, calls, breaks – the more detailed the plan, the better. Having a set plan helps to avoid distractions and will help you achieve your objectives easier if they are broken down into little tasks. I use a to do list with two columns – the urgent tasks and the important tasks. I get started on the urgent ones, although they are often those that I would rather avoid.
- Create your working space
Your home office set up makes a difference too. Avoid sitting on the sofa in front of the TV. If you can, set yourself up at a desk that has everything you need – mostly enough space and a comfortable chair!
- Be organised
For some people, organisation means files, drawers, cubbies, neat stacks or no stacks at all, and a complete lack of clutter. For others, organisation simply means knowing where to look and being able to find what they need right away. The point of organisation is not to fit someone else’s definition of “organised,” but to have what you need in an easily accessible place.
- Give yourself a break
Try to have at least a few breaks during the day and definitely make time for lunch, preferably not at your desk. If you can, try to mix your breaks with social interactions – even if you don’t feel like seeing anyone. It’s good for the soul and will help you to relax in between tasks.
- Stick to your working hours
Working from home can easily turn into a continuous all day activity and before you know it you have spent the entire day with your computer. To avoid being overworked and unproductive, set your daily working hours and do your best to stick to them. By working ridiculous hours each day you are more likely to become less effective and more tired and you can easily forget that you have a life to live.