Here’s a fact that shocked me, I have now been working from home for over three years! I can’t quite believe it. So, home is where I am based for almost all of my work and it also happens to be where I am studying my degree from (yes, even in normal times). With this being my normal, I’ve gathered a few useful strategies along the way to help get the job done and despite having done a post on this topic a couple of years ago, it feels more relevant than ever and almost selfish of me not to share some ways to make those home days feel just that little bit easier. It’s time to update my advice and hopefully share a few pearls of wisdom that will help you get in the zone and enjoy your time working from home – be it permanent or just for now!
The first point is something that I have spoken about before and that is my love of lists! A hugely useful tool wherever you’re working, lists can be a game changer to help you prioritise, organise and remember.
Be realistic. Don’t write a 100 point list, even if you do have that many things to do! How overwhelming does it feel to see it all written down in front of you and you will never be satisfied at the end of the day when you’ve only crossed a couple of things off it! My favourite piece of advice is to write a manageable weekly list of what you need to tackle and then each day choose a couple of things off the master list to write down to get done. This way you will have a realistic amount of important tasks right in front of you each day that you can focus on, leaving the others for another day!
Make sure that your list is always in sight, stick it on the wall if you have to. By being able to see your list, you should more easily avoid going off task and wasting time. You can see what you’ve got to do, so naturally you are more inclined to get on with it … most of the time! Working from home can be distracting, so every little thing you can do to keep focus is helpful.
Another form of list that I love, is a daily planner. I have one, as you can see below, that breaks the day down hour by hour allowing you to allocate time for each thing you need to get done and structure your day around this. It depends on what I have to do, but often when I have a little bit of freelance work, a bit of degree work and a whole host of other tasks, this sort of stationary is invaluable.
Unfortunately, the daily organiser I have is now sold out on Studio By Her, but Sigh by Polly have an absolutely incredible selection of organisational pads to get you started. I particularly love the look of the Power Hour Desk Pad and the Daily Balance looks like a great alternative to mine!
As I mentioned earlier, it can be super distracting to work from home because you are surrounded by endless household jobs, the TV is in walking distance and there’s that video game you’ve been meaning to give a go too. Here are a couple of easy tips that I have picked up to help keep focus and stop me wandering off to do something else, which is easier said than done:
Firstly, keep a piece of paper and a pen in reach. Every time something pops into your head that you need to do or remember that isn’t to do with work, write it down on your paper and then you can deal with it later. This will stop you from getting up to do any tasks that you think you’ll forget and also clears brain-space for you to focus on what you are doing. Simple, but honestly a game changer.
Now for the easiest thing that you can do. Turn off your phone and put it out of sight. Both of these steps are key, the latter is so you don’t see it and out of habit pick it up to check or scroll, the former is another barrier/reminder incase you do choose to pick it up – put it back down again. I waste so much time on my phone and honestly don’t know why I don’t do this more often, I can get so much more done!
Tips from the Art of Being Holly Archive – ‘How I Work Well From Home‘
Now I’ve added my new tips, let’s take a look at my age old working from home wisdom that I shared a couple of years ago:
- Lists, Lists and More Lists – now there’s a tip that hasn’t changed. I also made the point that it’s important to ‘remember the list isn’t final, you can always add some more things to it once you have had the satisfaction of ticking everything off.’
- Get Dressed – It isn’t really about the clothes, it is more about the mindset you go into when you put them on. Your brain will associate pyjamas and loungewear with taking it easy, whereas it will associate daytime clothes with getting up and getting on with things. Try it and see what you reckon.
- Separate Work and Home – you may be working from home but it is still important to stop your work and home life merging into one blob. To stop your personal life and work blurring together one of the best things you can do, if possible, is to create a workspace that you can close the door on at the end of the day, or at least walk away from. The kitchen table doesn’t count.
- Know When to Stop – Just because you have (awesome) flexible hours doesn’t mean you should be working at weird times of the day or for that matter overworking. It is so easy to just keep working and working when you are home alone with no distractions and no-one to say shall we go and grab some lunch etc. Be kind and pace yourself!
- Give Yourself Commuter Time – Joyfully working from home means no public transport or traffic jams, but this time to and from work is more than just travel it is a chance to wind down before arriving home. Introduce commuter time into your routine when you finish work to help with that work-life balance and ensure you relax before your begin your evening.
Are you working from home right now? How are you finding it? I hope these tips help if you are struggling!