By Frankie Sloan
Before the breakout of Covid-19, it seemed everybody loved the idea of working from home and looked at those who did with envy. Plenty are now realising that it is not all it’s cracked up to be. It can be hard to get in the same work routine you used to slip into so naturally the moment you entered the office and were surrounded by your colleagues. It is a challenge to block out children running around in the background asking for yet another chocolate biscuit, and it can be tough to stop yourself putting Netflix on with a cuppa. However, it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom, read on for some wfh tips and tricks.
ROUTINE, ROUTINE, ROUTINE
It’s really important to set up specific business or working hours and stick to them. Follow your usual working pattern and set boundaries where needed. Remember to set your alarm each evening and get to bed at a reasonable hour so you’re feeling fresh and ready to start the following day.
Wake up each morning with plenty of time to get ready, walk the dog, have a shower, eat breakfast – whatever your usual routine dictates. Take the same breaks you would normally, giving yourself time away from the computer – do’nt work nonstop just because you are at home. Remember to take your full lunch hour/breaks and stop checking your emails at 11pm (we’re all guilty of this!). Routine is the key, keep on top of this and you’re already halfway there.
Update your to-do list every morning
Without the usual routine and direct line-management, it can be difficult to keep track of what you have to do throughout your workday. It is all too easy to lose sight of priorities, tasks and deadlines, or to simply focus on the wrong thing.
Keep a to-do list every day and review your priorities each morning. Ticking or completing your job list as you go really gives you a sense of achievement too. Make sure the important tasks are at the top and resist the urge to simply pick off all the easy ones. When you create a to-do list, stick to it and set time limits for each item. It’s easy to get distracted by an email that’s just popped up, but keep focused and on task and you will feel the benefits.
Get dressed as if you were off to the office
We all love our PJs and many of us are all guilty of working from home in our favourite pair, yet sadly, this is a huge productivity killer. “Dress for success” and “dress to impress” aren’t just a catchphrases used by corporates – it really does make all the difference when working from home.
Not only does wearing the right clothing get you prepared and in the right mindset to begin work, but you’ll also be ready to handle any kind of Zoom call, online meeting or check-in from colleague or manager. On top of that, you will be mentally and physically ready to start the day and smash your to-do list.
Eat healthy food and snacks
Another work from home reality is that we are never too far from the snack cupboard in the kitchen. As soon as it’s time for lunch or a quick break we are immediately drawn to the left-over Chinese in the fridge, crisps, sweets, cookies… you know the drill.
We all know that eating fruit and vegetables is good for you, but there’s a direct link between healthy eating and overall productivity levels. Try to snack on healthier options throughout the day and keep the naughty treats until Friday when you can reward yourself with a little treat for your willpower.
Stay off social media whilst working
Not only is social media a magnet for negative news, it’s also a huge distraction. We are all guilty of spending far too much time on our favourite apps from time to time, but don’t let it get in the way of your work. One minute you’re replying to a comment on Facebook and then all of a sudden two hours have passed and you’re refreshing your newsfeed, reading the same posts over and over again.
Try to stay off social media for one working day (except for breaks and lunch, of course) and see how your productivity improves. Refraining from constantly checking your favourite apps will keep you in work mode and allow you to complete your tasks for the day.
If you’re an avid social media user try to leave your phone in another room close by, (keep it on loud in case any important calls come through). Out of sight, out of mind.
Working from home can be a double-edged sword – although it’s great moving from office to sofa in thirty seconds, motivation can take a nose dive. Remember, those bills aren’t going to pay themselves so keep focused and you can do this!