About four years ago, I shifted from having a 9-5 desk job to working from home. It was a huge transition process, which I admit took at least 6 months before I found a routine that actually worked for me.
Many of you reading this right now, won’t have six months to get used to the idea of working from home. You’ve probably found yourself in this situation all of a sudden, as many people have, with the current events that are rapidly changing the world as we know it.
While you might be tempted to laze around in your pajamas all day watching Netflix and eating ice-cream, take it from a seasoned home-working pro, this is not going to get you anywhere in the long run. In fact, it will probably leave you feeling worse than you already do about this whole self-isolation thing.
So, here are 6 simple tips that I wish someone had told me when I was getting into the working-from-home groove.
Set Your Alarm
When working from home, it can be very tempting to not set your alarm and stay in bed for hours, because hey, you don’t have to be at the office by a certain time, right?
Trust me, don’t do this!
When I first started working from home, I decided I could stay in bed for an extra half hour because I no longer had the half hour-long commute to the office. But then, an extra half hour turned into an hour, and before I knew it, it was 9 or 10 am before I rolled out of bed somedays (full disclosure: I feel a little ashamed to admit that).
Even though you don’t have anywhere to be, make sure you keep that alarm set!
Create a Morning Routine and Stick to It
I once read somewhere that it’s not uncommon for many highly successful people to make their own bed in the morning. Even if they have a full-time maid. It’s the act of making your own bed that sets you up for accomplishing tasks throughout the day. This is why it’s so important to have a morning routine.
For me, my morning routine looks something like this – I get up and make myself a coffee first thing. I then put on my workout clothes and take my dogs for a 20-minute walk, then I come home and do a 30-minute workout. After a quick shower and a bite to eat, I then head into to my office.
There’s no need for a morning routine to be overly complicated. Many people recommend journaling or practicing affirmations first thing in the morning. This is not for me, but if it works for you, then go for it. Just don’t fall into the trap of having too many things to do during your morning routine, otherwise it will be lunchtime before you actually sit down to start work.
Also, try not to be tempted to scroll through social media or turn on the TV when you first wake up. Before you know it, you’ll get stuck down the Instagram hole and an hour or two will pass by before you even get out of bed. Create before you consume!
Find a Space of Your Own
If you’re a parent or you have a significant other, chances are they are also at home at the moment, bugging you all day long. So, it’s more important than ever to have a little space that tells your loved ones that when you’re in that space, it’s work time.
Because I’ve been working from home for a few years, I actually have my own home office. But not everyone will have a home office. If you have a spare bedroom or guest room, you can convert this into your space – let’s face it, you’re probably not going to be using it as a guest room for the foreseeable future.
But remember, you don’t necessarily need an entire room to yourself in order to ‘create a space’. Find a little corner or nook, set up your laptop and a small desk, and make it yours! You could even put a scented candle on it, some photos of your loved ones, or some greenery from the garden to make it feel more welcoming.
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Make a Plan for the Day
Before you start anything, write down a list of tasks you want to accomplish during the day. By setting these goals, you’re already giving yourself the best chance of actually achieving them. I actually do this each afternoon, before I end my working day. I usually sit down and tick off what I completed today and then write out a list of what I plan to do tomorrow.
Even better yet, if you can plan an entire week ahead, then you’re one step ahead. I have certain days allocated to certain tasks. One day is for social media planning and scheduling, one day is for blog post writing, another day is allocated to website development, and so on.
Another great way to plan out your day, is time blocking. Break up your workday into 30- or 60-minute blocks and assign each task that you need to achieve throughout the day to a block. The most important part is to stick to it – this is the part I struggle with the most, but I’m working on it!
Know When it’s Time to Switch Off
I’m one of those people that procrastinates for ages and ages, and when I finally force myself to sit down and get started on a project, I then get ‘into the zone’ and find it very hard to snap out. It’s not uncommon for me to keep working well past dinner time and my husband quite frequently has to come into my office and tell that it’s time to stop work for the day.
If this is you, then I recommend having something to do after work each evening – whether that be to get outside and do some exercise (if you can), or pour a glass of wine and cook up a storm, or sit down with your partner or family and talk about what you achieved today. Whatever, your ‘after-work thing’ might be. Set an alarm that signals to you to end the working day and switch off.
Get an Early Nights Rest
Once again, don’t think that just because you don’t have to go to work in the morning, that it’s okay to stay up late and binge watch your fave Netflix series. By doing this, you will struggle to get up the next morning and it becomes a vicious cycle.
Getting at least 8 hours sleep at night is so crucial to being productive during the day. I like to switch off the television and social media by 8:30 pm and then go about my bedtime routine – shower, cleanse and read for half an hour before I switch off the lights for the evening.
Everyone is different, and this is the routine that I’ve found works best for me over the years. Have you any additional tips for working from home? Let our readers know about them in the comments below.
About the Author:
Amanda Twine is the founder and creator of Fly Stay Luxe – a luxury travel blog sharing informative travel guides, food guides, hotel reviews, itineraries and tips about how to make luxury travel more affordable.