5 Important Things to Know if You Are New to Working From Home
by Robin Sacks
Working from home can feel overwhelming at first.
The biggest reason for this is that we do not trust ourselves!
That's right, I said it.
It's easy to quickly convince yourself that, if you don't have someone to guide you (or micromanage over your shoulder!), you will get too distracted too easily and get nothing done.
As someone who has worked at home (successfully) for a long time, I would like to pass on some tips that will get you in the right mindset to be an effective and efficient remote worker - even when there are dishes in the sink and laundry to be done!
Understand that different tips may work well for different personality types - that's the point. There is no "one way to do it." There doesn't need to be.
The key here is to find one of two things that make this new experience an easy and productive one for you!
Tip #1 - Keep or create a regular routine for yourself.
Just because you are working from home doesn't mean you have to do things THAT differently. You can essentially go through your "typical" day, minus the commute. Get up at your usual time, get ready, as usual, get your coffee or whatever, as usual, and go to your computer to do...what you usually do.
Please don't overthink this.
The one BIG difference you will find is that you are much less stressed because you removed your rush to get out of the house and your traffic-filled commute. SCORE!
Tip #2 - Give yourself permission to schedule things around the house into your day.
Please do not listen to people who tell you that this is difficult to do. They would be wrong. Those people probably do not work from home regularly. ;)
Things like laundry and the dishwasher run by themselves! Go throw a load of laundry in and then focus on work tasks for the next 40 minutes. Take a break, refill your water or coffee, throw the laundry in the dryer and go back to work for another 45 minutes.
Within a couple of hours, you completed household tasks (that didn't need you to babysit them - this is 2020 after all - we have machines that do those things!) AND got your work done.
It is TOTALLY able to be done - you just have to work smarter and get out of your own way. Let the machines do the multitasking for you so you can focus on your work.
Tip #3 - Use that extra time that is not wasted on a commute to do some self-care.
Do a five-minute meditation from a free app before you dive into work. You will be AMAZED at how much more calm and focused you are when you get into that habit.
Find a workout online (just Google, "30 minute cardio or yoga or whatever") and schedule it into your day.
You have the ability to stress less when you work at home - IF YOU JUST LET YOURSELF DO IT.
Tip #4 - Wear whatever the hell you want to wear.
Please don't think that there is a "one size fits all" for working from home when it comes to attire.
I hear this all the time, "If you work from home, make sure you get dressed in work appropriate clothes in the morning. It's too easy to get lazy if you just keep your pajamas on."
OK, here's the deal. If you have a web/video call, obviously use common sense with your choice of clothing (at least from the waist up!). Outside of that, your clothing actually has very little to do with your productivity. The key here is to wear whatever makes you feel comfortable and focused.
Part of the point of working from home is to not have to put on a flippin' suit everyday! When I want to have a productive and focused day, I put on my workout clothes. Why? Because, when I put on my workout clothes, both my body and brain jump into action. It triggers them both that we are going to get moving and get focused.
If you find that your pajamas keep you calm and relaxed, keep them on! If you find that it helps YOU to get dressed as if you were going into work, then do that.
Tip #5 - Don't get thrown off by the amount of time it ACTUALLY takes you to complete your work.
One thing that is sometimes mind-boggling is that you realize how little time is actually takes to get your work done. Without the office distractions and side conversations and fits of boredom that push you to scroll through your social media for two hours a day, you may find that you complete your work at home much faster (and then have the time to scroll through your social media all you want!).
That can be scary at first, because you will convince yourself that you have missed something. "I finished that in one hour when it usually takes me three and a half hours." (No, it doesn't. It always takes one hour of actual doing...you just might not do it as efficiently as you are doing it now, since you don't have those distractions.)
Like everything else in life, listen to all of the options, and then decide FOR YOURSELF what makes the most sense for you. When other people tell you, "This is what you need to do," nod, say thank you, and go do whatever the F*#k makes YOU successful with your new remote work life. :)