After a year of working remotely, we’ve learned a lot about how to make work-from-home life a little smoother, easier, and more productive. Above all else, our biggest takeaway this year has been FLEXIBILITY. Whether you’re working from home temporarily due to Covid (hello, survival mode!) or are in it for the long haul, these 5 tips can set you up for success.
1. Schedule based around your peak productivity.
If you typically do your best work in the morning, make sure you are starting your day off bright and early and “getting to work” on time. If the afternoon is where you hit that sweet spot of productivity, let your schedule reflect that. With a wide open schedule and a lack of firm time parameters, you may be tempted to just get work done “here and there” throughout your day. But this approach can make your work day feel long, unstructured, and overwhelming, not to mention unproductive. Set a schedule for yourself that respects your daily rhythms.
2. Set up a functional work space.
“Make sure you have a good chair. It’s very important to your back and posture. Make sure it is the right height and distance from your computer screen and keyboard and mouse. I have tried sitting on an exercise ball in the past, but they have to be inflated frequently. I also found it too distracting to use the balance ball for a chair when on calls.”
Having a defined work area is a simple trick to provide space, focus, and comfort. Your space should have all the materials you need within easy reach, a comfortable chair to avoid back pain and a sore neck, and good lighting to keep eye strain at bay. Also consider what makes your workspace a more pleasant experience that makes you want to stick around: bring some healthy snacks, drinks to keep you hydrated, and music or headphones for ambiance and focus.
3. Dress for success.
This may mean dressing in “work clothes” to get you in the right frame of mind, or dressing in soft, stretchy clothes to help your body feel more comfortable. You do you. Wear what makes you feel good and enjoy being kind to your body.
4. Mix it up.
“Use a Pomodoro timer. There are several free ones in the app store. It reminds you to get up and move around.”
Pomodoro Technique ~Christine Vaughan
Don’t treat your work time as one long chunk of monotony. Add some non-work tasks to your to-do list each day, so that you have a variety of things to look forward to. Dedicate a 5 minute break to get up and move periodically. Stretch or get up and walk around. Set alarms to remind you to switch gears and get your blood pumping every once in a while. Your body and brain will appreciate it.
“Set a non work task for yourself before and after your work day. I find working out, cleaning or yard work are good choices. This helps me get away from work and lets me transition to home mode.”
When the work day is over, turn off your computer, leave your work space behind, and go to a different part of the house. Take a little time to decompress, as though you are commuting home. With a defined space and defined times for work and home activities, your brain will better be able to focus and maintain attention on the task at hand.