Some of us may still be adjusting to working from home.
The experience is different for everyone so take the time to experiment with different techniques that best meet your needs.
Here are some tips that might help you. Many are borrowed from how many of us approach our workday in the office.
Make a List
You may be missing that in-person morning meeting to help set your priorities for the day.
For those of you who don’t do this already, the best first tip we’ve come across it to create a to-do list to stay organized, focused and motivated. A list will keep you on track and checking those tasks off feels good! Remember to prioritize your list.
There are all sorts of apps and browser extensions like Momentum. Or you can go old school and draw up your list on a whiteboard, or write on stickers you places around your workspace, or even a good old fashioned notebook or pad of paper.
At the top, noted as urgent, write down things that you must get done, and do those first! Following can be other tasks that might need to get done this week but not necessarily today.
Create a Daily Schedule
The big shift in thinking that happens when working from home is, unlike being in an office, you only have yourself to hold you accountable. There aren’t any co-workers around to help you consciously or unconsciously keep you on track.
Working from home also allows for flexibility in completing tasks – both personal and professional – throughout the day. But your co-workers are also managing flexible schedules.
Set a schedule and make that calendar visible to your coworkers. This way they know when to not bug you (unless it’s urgent) and they will know when you’re free to meet for a video call.
Breaks are important. You may also no longer be able to make a quick run down the block to grab a coffee, for instance. So bake those breaks into your day to refresh yourself mentally, physically and emotionally.
Plan Your Meals — Esepcially Lunch
A couple of tips here.
Prepare your lunch the night before or before you start your workday, just as you would when going into the office.
It might be tempting to make a gourmet brunch, but this will take up time in your workday. (Besides, who has the energy to do this every day?) Preparing your food ahead of time ensures you can actually use your break times to eat and take a breather.
Takeout is also fun – in moderation. Use this opportunity to dial back your spending and save a bit of money. Choose your busiest workdays for food delivery.
Consider How You Are Communicating
It’s important to stay connected with your colleagues. And Email doesn’t always cut it.
It takes an average of 7 to 9 emails to replicate the information shared in 1 phone call. (And it can be stressful to look at an inbox with dozens of unread messages.)
Consider using web tools that better replicate the in-person office experience.
Set up video call check-ins, meetings or even just to brainstorm together on a task. For team collaboration on projects, apps like Slack and What’s App are good to create an “open” channel where multiple people can join the conversation. And there are a handful of project management apps like Monday, Jira and Trello to name just a few. Each has its pros and cons and is suited for different types of collaboration work.
Bottom line: better communication while remote can help maintain your relationship with your colleagues and help you get things done collaboratively and effectively.
Unplug and Take a Break
Set time aside in your schedule to take a break. Studies have shown that workers who take regular breaks are more satisfied with their job.
Plan time to go for a walk, stretch, get some fresh air on your balcony, patio or porch in the middle of the workday. Get in some of your steps on the lunch hour.
It’s important you don’t spend all day sitting at your desk (or table) and staring at your computer, especially now when your kitchen has become your conference room and your meetings are held on Zoom.
And remember to leave work behind at the end of your day so you an unwind. If you take work to bed with you, you won’t get quality sleep, which will hurt your productivity the next day and set you onto a bad cycle.