'Management & Leadership’
How to be Productive While Working From Home
As you know, the Corona Virus has a lot of people working from home, for some this may be their first time they ever had to work remotely. At first it seems great, you roll out of bed, grab your laptop, maybe take a conference call in your PJ’s (with your video off of course) but it gets tiring after a while. You start to become stir crazy, get distracted or perhaps have some kids or pets running around that take you away from your work.
I’ve been working from home for a while and have finally gotten the hang of things. With a good routine working from home can get easier and more productive.
Plan Out Your Day
When you aren’t in the same working environment as your boss or colleagues you in a way become your own supervisor. It is your job to make sure that everything gets done for the day and things are going as scheduled. I find it helps to either have a notebook, excel sheet or online calendar that outlines everything you need to get done that day. You can do this before you start your day or the night before.
When working with a team use a task manager like Trello to assign and report on the status of jobs that need to get done. If you use Donor Engine’s software you can assign tasks directly in the program and it connects right to your google calendar which makes things so much easier to keep track of.
Have a Designated Workspace
Nothing gets you in the mindset to work like a designated workspace. This can be a desk, an office or maybe a quiet corner in your home that you enjoy working in. Make sure that it is far away from any distractions or your bedroom.
I found that when I had my desk near my bed it was harder to separate my work time from my bedtime. My laptop always found its way into bed with me and I was constantly thinking about what I needed to get done the next day. When I moved my desk to my basement I knew that once I went up those stairs I was done for the day and it became a lot easier to turn work mode off.
Wake Up Early and Get Dressed
While working from home it’s so easy to sleep in. You wake up at 9:55, head over to your computer and start working in your PJ’s at 10. Don’t fall into that trap! For the first month I would do this, and I never felt great while working. Waking up an hour or two before you need to work, taking some time in the morning for yourself, putting on nice clothes, making a coffee and moving your body, can put you in such a great mindset making it a lot easier to stay focused.
It gives you that buffer time from when you wake to when you start working so you are able to mentally prepare for the day. It almost acts like your morning commute. I used to like going to the gym before working but now that I am practicing social distancing I like to do a quick workout video, make some tea, grab a glass of water then head to my desk.
Have a Routine
Similar to the last point, it is important to not only plan your work but also plan your day. I do this a lot more now because I am cooped up in my house so without a schedule to stick to I can get discouraged. Have time set aside for lunch or snack breaks, a walk or an activity that allows you to relax for 10-20 min. Set working hours and do your best to stick to them, don’t do chores during these hours. Save non work related tasks for before or after your work day.
Like I said in my last point, I like to have some time to myself in the morning and also take two 10 minute breaks, one before and one after my lunch to help me feel more energized when working. I can go stir crazy sitting in a chair all day so I like to get up, fill my water bottle, play catch with my dog, anything that can take my mind off work for a few minutes to recharge.
By making a schedule you are creating structure and that can help you feel more at work. I know it has also helped me keep track of time and feel better while at home.
This is so important. When you’re not in the office with other people you can’t just pop into a person’s cubicle or call them over to ask a question. Even though you’re not together it’s important that everyone is on the same page.
The amount and type of communication can vary depending on your organization but you can have a daily team call, share a spreadsheet where everyone can report on, have a text group, or frequent emails . Speak with your team to find out what would work best for your organization.
This is a difficult time, I know it’s been extra hard not being able to leave my house to do work, but it’s important to try and stick to a schedule. Working from home is not for everyone but by making sure you have a routine and are treating it like a proper workday you can put yourself in a productive mindset.