Structure is the best single measure of success for those that are bound to working from home. Here are several tips to help organize your day and be productive if “WFH” is new for you.
For some, early means 5:30 a.m. For the purpose of this article, early means shortly after you rise. Don’t wander around the house picking things up, watching morning TV or picking at a puzzle. If you are a breakfast eater, get it started. If you are a morning fitness junky, move right into your workout. No matter your routine, get it started. You will be most productive if you have a morning habit of moving forward.
Choose a Dedicated Work Space
It’s ok to take the computer to the patio now and then, but set up a spot in the house that is the focus of your work experience there. Creating this environment will make you more productive, and allow you to have all the tools you need at your immediate disposal. DON’T set up at the kitchen table where kids will be running through (if you have them) or you are tempted to hit the snacks. We all want to exit this stay at home time with the same or better health than before. Over snacking will damage your chances of that.
Realize it now. Your work day will NOT be the workday of the office. If you haven’t already, you will soon have Webex, Zoom or GoToMeeting calls with kids in the background of your video or that of your co-workers. It’s going to happen. Do the same for your kids. Standard bed time, standard morning breakfast, school work time (suggest they get on this early), some exercise time (a walk or if they are older, some structured fitness), limited and structured screen time, and some family time. With smaller kids, this means your workday will be interrupted to keep them on track. Don’t let that bother you. It is essential right now.
Make it Harder to Mess Around on Social Media
It is so easy to get distracted. Remover social links from your tool bar. Put stickies on your monitor to remind you to avoid social media during the day. Social media is a huge time suck and once you let it in, 30-minutes can disappear, several times per day.
Set a lofty goal of Achievement for your day!
At the start of the day, look at your calendar. What calls/meetings do you have today? Where there are no meetings, block time with specific tasks you intend to address today. Most of these should be work goals, and lofty ones. Push yourself to produce. Some goals should be personal too. “Go spend 15 minutes with the kids and see how they are doing. Watch a short show with them.”
It sounds wrong, but there is proof that busier people are much more productive overall. Keep your day full. Plan more than you can get done and you will get more done. An object in motion tends to stay in motion and the same can be said of you. Keep pushing forward. Having kids at home can actually make you MORE productive, as you switch hats frequently, but expertly keep several balls in the air and soar to productivity heights!
These are tough times!
Things aren’t easy. If you aren’t use to working from home, that’s hard enough, but add to it the stresses of the pandemic news, kids in the house, school work being expected online, limited movement from the home. It’s just a lot. If you want to make it as manageable and functional as possible though, creating structure to your day will take you a long way toward a successful period of working from home.