Is your boss letting you trade your cubicle for a remote office? Are you a self-employed entrepreneur? Whatever the circumstances, perhaps you’ve found yourself in the coveted position to work from home (WFH). It seems like the holy grail of occupations — you get to wear sweatpants and sip coffee from the comfort of your own couch while cranking out uncompromised work, right?
Sure, maybe. But first, there are some ground rules you should consider to get the most out of your time at home.
Designate a Space
Create a section of your home that’s specific to your working hours. It doesn’t even have to be a full home office — maybe it’s just a corner in your room with a sturdy desk and a houseplant. All it takes is securing a space and associating it with work, not play. Trying to work on a project from the same couch you curl up on to watch movies probably won’t help productivity.
Keep Reliable Resources Nearby
Whatever your line of work is, make sure your home has all the resources you need to do your job. But don’t go with good enough — get reliable tools so you can produce the best work. That might mean spending a little extra on speedy Wi-Fi, a nice laptop or maybe a nice acrylic paint set. It all depends on your work, but make sure you can count on your tools.
Dress for Work
Another important way to separate work time from free time is to change your outfit when it’s time to clock in. If you WFH you might not have to wear a button-down and tie, but you should at least transition out of pajamas. Heck, it could even be as simple as “chill slippers” and “work slippers” — you’re still creating a healthy boundary between the different areas of your life.
Become a Time-Management Wizard
Although your time is your own, you need to own it. Create actual, physical schedules if that works for you — maybe even post them up on the wall where you can see them constantly to keep you on track. Don’t forget to also schedule in free time though. Attempting to be productive and work for eight hours straight can have the opposite affect you’re trying to achieve. Best to account for your personal attention span (you know yourself best) and take a short break when needed. The best part about working from home is the flexibility. If a midday jog helps you concentrate for another four hours each afternoon, go for it!
Stay (Almost) Overly Organized
A daily to-do list can be your best friend in the world if you give it a chance. Try starting off each day by documenting everything you want and need to complete. Account for even the most basic tasks like “send a thank-you email,” otherwise they’ll get lost in the shuffle. As an added bonus, it feels super good to cross items off a list — believe us. Drink coffee. Check!
Don’t Become a Hermit
Fight the urge to sequester yourself from the rest of the world. It’s easy to stick to yourself and cut off communications with others, but you need to remain social to preserve your sanity. Humans are naturally social beings afterall. Go out of your way to avoid prolonged email exchanges and hop on calls when you have the chance. Switch up your environment and find a cozy coffee shop to work from, or simply go for a walk around the block every couple of hours and give your mom a call. Do you know fellow WFHers? Set a time to work “together” (aka, side by side) to recreate that office feel from anywhere.
Stay Away From of the Black Hole of Web Surfing
It’s all too easy to be tempted to surf your day away. From online shopping to clickbait articles, the internet is an endless tunnel of information. Keep an eye on yourself and stop surfing before you get too deep. If you feel the urge coming on, set a five-minute timer immediately! That will help knock you out of your technological trance. Or, if you think it’s really an inevitability, schedule it into your day. Maybe five minutes every hour you allow yourself to mindlessly click around.
Give these methods a spin and let us know what you think. Did they work? Do you have even more tips? Let us know in the comments — we want to hear from you!