Working from home is the new way of life for many Americans, with spare bedrooms and kitchen tables turning into makeshift offices overnight. Without the regimented structure of a traditional office, remote workers in all fields of work have had to learn to adjust to a new work environment that is less professional and more personal. Kids, spouses, and pets are now a ubiquitous presence during the workday, further blurring the lines between work and home. But while distractions are inevitable, solutions can always be found. These productivity and self care tips can help you turn dreams of a work-life balance into reality.
Get On Schedule
First and foremost, setting a schedule for your work day is the cornerstone of keeping focus and staying on track. Self-care is crucial in maintaining a schedule. Use time in the evening to plan out the next day’s workload in a planner or with a productivity app. Be sure to set aside time for small breaks throughout the day to get away from your computer screen and share a quick catch up with family. Creating a regimented agenda will keep you productive and task oriented throughout your workday and allow you to relax in the evening without any residual stress from uncompleted work. Here are a few apps to check out that will help you in your productivity journey:
- Serene: This Mac compatible app has been praised for its goal setting system, timed work sessions, and streamlined design.
- Wunderlist: List lovers rejoice! An easy to use, list based interface and team accessibility makes this a great choice for team leaders.
- WeDo: Work life balance is made simple with this to-do list app that covers everything in your day, from house chores to work tasks.
It is difficult to not get involved in your family member’s day to day activities when you are all under the same roof at the same time. For many, it is difficult to say no to kids who want to play all day or spouses who want a Netflix partner for some midday binge watching. While the importance of spending quality time with your family cannot be understated, these bits of leisure time can quickly turn into workday distractions that pull you away from the tasks at hand. Establish soft boundaries with your family for work days, such as a “do not disturb” policy for 45 minutes every work hour. Lunchtime and short breaks spread out across the day allow you to spend time with your family without having your work time compromised by interruptions and distractions.
Keep Things Routine
Quarantine has thrown many people off of their daily work routines. Getting dressed for the day and commuting to the office has been replaced by sleeping in and throwing on a pair of sweatpants when it’s time to clock in. While that laid back habit sounds nice on paper, not having a set work routine does more harm than good in the end. Make it a point to wake up at the same time you did when working at the office and use the “commute” time to take a morning walk or enjoy your breakfast in the backyard. When it’s nearing time to clock in, simply throw a weatherproof cover on your outdoor dining set and get ready for your day, brushed hair and all. Sticking with a daily routine keeps stress levels down and gives you more energy to put towards work. You may be working from home, but that doesn’t mean you can’t channel the productivity you had while in the office.
Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself
While it may be easy to fall prey to laziness while working from home, it is just as common to overwork yourself. Many employees have started to slave away to compensate for not being in the office, resulting in increased stress and burnout. Having a steady work output is important, but not at the expense of your mental health and well being. And with these helpful tips, your work output will stay on track without falling prey to overworking.
- Set appointments on your calendar for the end of the day to get yourself out of the home office and into the backyard where taking off the chaise lounge protective cover and lead to some serious relaxing.
- Similarly, set up reminders to take breaks. Timing your day with the help of a task scheduler can help to remind you when it’s time to step away.
- Be clear with your team on when you're leaving and then actually shut down your computer.
- Create physical boundaries between you and your workspace. The best thing is if you have a dedicated office space so you can shut the office door.
- Turn off notifications on your phone and computer so you're not pulled back into work after you’re done for the day.