Tips for working from home

There are a lot of changes happening for all of us right now. With schools closed until mid-April and many people working from home, I thought I would hit a few points that make online learning and working from home easier. We all have enough stress about COVID-19 and social distancing. Setting out some simple steps for normalizing part of the day can be helpful not only on a productivity level but also on an emotional level.

Set daily goals
In the same way you would prioritize any long term project, figure out what you are going to accomplish for the day. Setting a clear goal can help you stay motivated and beat procrastination. This isn’t necessarily the Goals with a capital G that your boss may have set for you, the goal can be as simple as cleaning out your email, but whatever it is, be specific.

Create a dedicated space
I know working from bed sounds like an awesome time, or just flopping on the couch, or sitting at the kitchen table… but when your workspace is the same as your off-work space, lines can get blurry. Even if you have extremely limited space in your house, something practically symbolic like only using a specific chair at the table you have can help establish the boundaries you need to be productive. In your workspace (or work chair) you are at work. Not in the space, not at work. A clear distinction between where you work and where you take breaks can help you focus.

Keep yourself accountable
Sure, working from home can be more comfortable than working in an office. Comfier clothes, no commute, working remotely is definitely more relaxing. That said, a great way to hold yourself accountable is by pretending that you’re still working in an office. Dress can be slightly more casual, but get dressed. If you wouldn’t be taking as many breaks working in a traditional office, so you shouldn’t be taking them working remotely, either.

Join the discussion
If you and your coworkers are suddenly working from home, figure out how to have those water cooler interactions that you would normally have throughout the day. Chats, Slack, IMs, a dedicated website, whatever method you can all agree on, get your team together for the occasional “Hey There!”

Do one thing at a time
Multitasking is less productive than focusing on a single task at a time. Researchers from Stanford University found that, “People who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time.” Stay focused on one thing at a time. It is easier to get distracted in a non-office space. It is more likely you might throw in a load of laundry, have something on the stove, and “be working” all at the same time when you are working from home. Keep the chores to break time. Stay focused. Working on one thing at a time is easier said than done, but the harder you concentrate on completing one task, the faster you will get it done… even if you are interrupted.

What are some of the things you do to help you work from home?

Kieran Hixon
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