Working from home, or at the very least working remotely, is the dream for many. But as reality sets in and you find yourself isolated and on your own, day in and day out, staying sane suddenly becomes as important as being productive.
Working in an office space is not just about going to work each day. There is a definite social element involved and those who thrive on seeing other people will find making the transition to remote working something rather difficult.
But it doesn’t have to be that way when you are properly prepared to make the leap. Working remotely has a lot of advantages and once you’ve balanced your work life and home life, you will be able to relax into your new position.
With these easy to use tips, you can quickly improve your experience and start reaping the rewards.
- Make a daily task sheet and focus on your productive hours
Working from home requires concentration and an immense amount of dedication. There will always be the temptation to leave your desk and go do something that needs doing in the house, and procrastination is only going to make you feel stressed out as your work gets further and further behind.
When you work away from the office, you will need to create a daily task list that helps you navigate your daily work schedule and keeps you focused and on track.
And since you are not in a formal office, you will also be in a better position to work out which time of the day you are most productive. No one is watching you over your shoulder to make sure you are working for 8 hours a day, so if you are able to squash a full day into 4 hours, because you are more productive in those 4 hours, do it.
- Have a routine
Something as simple as getting up early, dressing for work and starting your work day at 8am, is all part of creating a routine that will keep you sane while helping you stay ahead with your work.
When you switch from a shared office to a home office, it is all too easy to lose your routine and struggle to adjust to your new way of life. Starting your day right can really set the tone for how much you get done. Start the day off on the wrong foot and you might as well give up on being productive, because your mind is going to be somewhere else for the rest of your day.
- Establish your boundaries
When you are not expected to go to an office each day, you are going to have to be strict about establishing certain boundaries. Working from home might leave many friends and family members thinking that you are actually enjoying time off and this might result in them bombarding you with social messages or trying to visit you during office hours.
Make it clear when you are available and when you are not.
This will minimise the distractions that you have to deal with in the day without hurting feelings. Your boundaries will also help you stay sane as you can focus fully on the work that needs to be done.
- Turn off distractions
Keep your phone on “unavailable”, turn off your email inbox and log out of your instant messaging apps. By doing this, you won’t end up frustrated by the constant messages and you won’t feel pressured to constantly monitor devices and apps for messages that can probably wait.
Set aside a certain amount of time in the morning and late afternoon to follow up on messages. At those specific times you will be able to give the messages your full attention.
- Train yourself to be productive
Working remotely requires a lot of motivation. There is no one to look out for you and make sure that you work. That responsibility is entirely yours.
There are most certainly going to be those days when you just don’t want to work, when focus is not something that comes easily and where you’re just not as productive as you otherwise would be.
But just because you’re having a bad day doesn’t mean you should give up. Instead, you should take some time to train your mind to be more focused by pushing through the day no matter what or by changing up your day so that the tasks you face on days when you are not feeling it are the easy ones.
- Invest in a good chair
A strange point but one you will come to understand. Having a comfortable chair that holds your posture just right is a must. You’ll be sitting on the chair for up to 8 hours and tension can build in your body to the point that it becomes a painful distraction. You need to take care of your body as well as your mind.
- Don’t forget to take breaks
You can be productive without exhausting yourself. Taking a break every half an hour to stretch your muscles and then taking a proper break every few hours to forget about work for a bit and do something else, is incredibly important. These breaks will ensure your productivity and they will help you to keep a clear head on even the toughest days.
- Keep water nearby
There are no more meetings around the water cooler and no reason to hang around the kitchen. When you are a remote worker, you don’t have the luxury of these distractions anymore but you still need to make sure that you stay well hydrated. So keep a water bottle on your desk. A refreshing glass of water is better than a cup of coffee, and it will help you stay focused and sane throughout the day.
- Eat a good breakfast and a good lunch
Now that you are working from home you have the time to prepare proper meals. Eating well for breakfast and lunch will keep you going throughout the day and you won’t have those hunger pangs taking your mind off of work.
- Know when to stop working and don’t let work take over your life
It can be difficult to decide when to pack up for the day but it is important to know when to shut down and turn your mind off of work mode.
It is also important, now that you are working remotely, to not let work take over your life completely.
Just because you aren’t leaving your home in the mornings and coming home in the afternoon, doesn’t mean you now have to let work become your whole world. As far as possible, try to keep a work/life balance so that you can enjoy your off time.
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