Working from home has a lot of benefits in terms of flexibility and our work life balance. For working mothers, it can mean being available for homework help or being able to take your child to after-school activities. But with the benefits, there are challenges to be productive. It’s easy to get distracted and off-track. Here are a few work from home strategies and tips to help you make the most of it.
While it might seem novel to work from home in your pajamas and slippers, I urge you to reconsider. Getting dressed helps create a mindset for productivity and focus. Psychologically it signals an end to your sleepy restful hours and marks the clean fresh beginning of a new day. Establishing a morning routine helps get us motivated and ready. Just because you’re dressed doesn’t mean you have to be uncomfortable. There is no need to follow your office dress code. Avoid the distraction of stiff tight pants or a blouse that doesn’t fit well and enjoy the comfort of yoga pants and a stylish but soft sweater. Being comfortable can actually increase productivity.
Organize Your Workspace
My first work from home area wasn’t very elegant or organized. It was basically my laptop and a couch. Not only was this uncomfortable after hours but it wasn’t conducive to getting much done beyond emails and answering a few calls.
Have a dedicated workspace that includes everything you need to be productive. If that space is your kitchen table or a corner in your living room, it’s OK. Make sure you have all that you need – laptop, monitor, paper, and other supplies. Get a cute desk organizer to declutter your workspace so you’re ready to focus.
Set Your Daily Priorities
When you work from home, do you wonder where all your time went? Avoid the email inbox trap or the social media scroll and set your daily priorities. Your priorities should be bit size actions that you complete right away. Don’t set your priority to get a promotion. That’s not happening right now. Instead, take an action that sets you on the right path to promotion. Now you’re one step closer! A good rule of thumb is to set SMART priorities: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Bound. Use the daily priority sheet template to get started.
The best of plans can get off track when you’re distracted. Plan ahead and set yourself up for work from home success. Set boundaries and let the family know you’re not available. This can be super hard but it’s important for the kids (and the hubby) to know that your work is important. Put your phone on silent and turn off those pesky notifications on your desktop. This will limit the audible and visual notifications meant to grab your attention.
Schedule breaks throughout your day to maintain your energy and focus. My focus naturally starts to wane after about 2 hours of heads down work. Be aware of your rhythms and schedule time away from your desk or workspace. Get up and walk around. Socialize a bit either in person or virtually. Grab a glass of water to stay hydrated.
Working from home can be lonely. You’re not able to run into a colleague at the coffee maker or stop by someone’s desk. Collaboration can actually improve productivity. Interaction and feedback can increase our creative output. Use technology to stay connected. Try video conferencing with Zoom, Skype or Microsoft Teams.
Working from home is great when done right. Let me know if these tips have helped or if you have new ones to share. Happy WFH!