As my job relies only on having an internet and phone connection, I am fortunate enough to work from home one day per week; my commute is a little soul destroying and I needed a way to break things up so I wasn’t wiped out by 5.30pm on a Friday, thus sleeping away my weekend.
Now, when I tell people I work from home one day a week, of course their reaction is ‘oh, well that’s not too bad is it? It’s not as though it’s really like work.’ Actually, yes, yes it is, I just skip the commute and go straight to my dining table with a coffee in hand and two dogs by my feet, and it’s a lot quieter than a usual day in the office.
But I’m still expected to turn up (read: be online) by 9am, put 100% in and actually do the job that I get paid for until 5.30pm. That doesn’t mean I’m up at the crack of dawn replying to emails or checking accounts, as let’s be real, an additional hour of sleep is greatly appreciated.
While I’ve only been working from home for just over two months, I have learnt a thing or two in terms of what helps my productivity (and what doesn’t) so I thought I would share these with you.
Get out of bed.
Of course, everyone thinks working from home means staying in bed but this is probably THE worst thing you could do for productivity. Bed is for sleep and Netflix watching, and definitely not work.
I’m a big advocate for breakfast, whether that’s at home or when I get to work (usually the latter). I hate missing breakfast as it helps to get the day started, and being at home means I can have something more substantial (like an avo bagel), if I haven’t slept in until 8.30am.
Wear actual clothes. aka. not pyjamas.
Not only do I get to work from home, but I also have the luxury of being able to wear jeans and trainers to work (at home or in the office) if I so wish, so I’m always comfortable. So I also have absolutely no excuse to work in my pyjamas. Getting properly dressed tells my brain that it’s getting shit done time, not nap time, and I highly recommend it.
Block out your calendar for each big task.
This is something I do when in the office and when working from home – add calendar events in for certain tasks (I even add in my lunch break!). It helps to organise my day around any meetings/calls I may have so I can make sure I’m actually ticking things off my to-do list. It also tells colleagues when you are/are not available. Also try to stick to one thing at a time. In my role, I do have to multi-task a lot, but when it comes to answering emails that need a bigger response or working on bigger analysis pieces, making sure I work on one thing at a time means actually completing things.
Don’t keep refreshing your emails.
I definitely am guilty of this one, every 15 minutes I subconsciously refresh my emails to make sure all is well or that something urgent hasn’t landed and it’s not going to help you get things done – I’m pretty sure it counts as a distraction. While I’m not allowed to switch them off completely, I’ve begun to have them in a separate window, only checking them every hour or so which means the rest of the time, I should be actioning things on my to do list.
Take a lunch break and switch off from work.
I feel like this might be something people who work from home might not do as they feel like they’re already getting a good deal – and it is something that should be done, without fail. It can be anything from as little as 20 minutes, or a full hour, but taking a lunch break where you switch off from work is super important, both in the office and when working from home. Go for a walk if you have the time, or make a really good lunch. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to tackle the afternoon, promise.
What are your tips for productivity when working from home?