I’ve been working from home for almost 2 years now & it’s been one of my favorite things. I love being completely in charge of my schedule throughout the day. While it has become one of my favorite things that I’ve been able to create, it hasn’t been an easy journey to getting to where I am today.
With more and more people working from home, I completely understand how hard it can be to get into this new (maybe temporary) normal. Lucky for you, I’ve been able to test out a couple of things that I think will help you out for adjusting to this new normal.
Get prepared the night before
When you are working from home, it’s hard not to get into the mindset that you don’t need to prep as much as you would normally. However, I have found that preparing & prepping the night before is just as helpful to keep me on track all day.
Things to prep & prepare:
- Meetings. It’s important to pull out your planner & write in when you have any meetings that you have to be present for.
- Family/kids obligations. Write down in your planner any obligations that your kids have related to school, nap times, etc.
It makes it easier plan your day when you are able to see the times throughout the day that you are busy & need to work around.
- Meals. Make sure that you have all of your meals planned out for the next day so you aren’t scrambling to figure out what you are eating. This can even go as far as planning out breakfast, lunch, snacks in addition to dinner and prepping them to save you time during the day.
Stick to a schedule/routine
Writing down everything that you have to do, especially those that have to be done at a certain time is important for making sure that your day runs smoothly.
It’s important to pencil in those times in your schedule so you can see when you can tackle your work and how long you have at each time. Depending on what your household is like, this will look different for each individual.
If you are like me and don’t have any kids & not many meetings to work around, then your schedule will obviously have much more flexibility.
Even if you are like me, it is very important to get yourself into a good routine to make sure that you stay on task and remain productive.
Get ready for the day
I believe this varies from person to person. I know there are several people who are more productive if they get dressed and ready for the day. Personally, I prefer to work in my comfy clothes.
You know yourself best & maybe you need to test out what works best for you. But, I would definitely continue with your usual morning routine if possible.
My morning routine has shifted since my boyfriend is working from home with me, but I have generated a new morning routine that contains my non negotiable self care items and gives me the time I need to myself. You can read more about this routine in my post, My Morning Routine As A Young Entrepreneur Working From Home!
Give yourself breaks throughout the day
One of the first things that I noticed when I started working from home is that I thought I had to be working all the time, constantly throughout the day. It can be hard to manage your time when outside of your usual office environment. However, that is the best way to work yourself straight to burnout and frustration.
Listen to your mind & body and give yourself the necessary breaks throughout the day! These can be shorter 10-15 minute breaks or longer, 1-2 hour breaks throughout the day. Definitely listen to your mind & your body & listen to what you need. Having trouble finding motivation? I check out my Tips For When You’re Not Feeling Motivated.
For me, I like to give myself multiple 10-15 minute breaks between work items and then I will take a longer 2 hour break from about 11am-1pm. I started doing this because I noticed that I work best early in the morning, then get a second wave later in the afternoon. Which is why it’s incredibly important to listen to yourself & base your schedule around what works best for YOU!
Ideas for what to do when taking longer breaks:
- Get outside! Especially right now when we are all stuck at home all day, it can be very easy to get cabin fever. Even if it’s just sitting on my patio for a little bit to breath in some fresh air. It’s important that you are getting out of the inside of your home, giving yourself a break from everything & just get refreshed. Especially now that spring is here and the weather is getting nicer! We all need to get outside & enjoy the fresh air.
- Exercise. For me, I personally prefer to get my workout in first thing in the morning because the whole process of working out can take a couple hours. However, getting in a workout can be a really great way to take a break from your work & release some stress.
- Go on a walk. I’ve been trying to make it a habit to go on a 20-30 minute walk at lunchtime to get out of my apartment, get some fresh air & even get in some light cardio. Especially if it’s a nice day, try to get out of the house and walk around!
- Chores around the house. I will sometimes schedule in times throughout the day to tackle some of those chores around the house to give me a break & also continue staying productive. I will use this time to do laundry, run the dishwasher, put dishes away, clean my cat’s litterbox, etc.
As you can see, most of my ideas have to do with getting out and moving your body, which I think is incredibly important, especially right now. I think that getting outside and walking around is great practice, even if you work at an office usually and you have the opportunity. It’s just a really good habit to start getting into!
Batch your time throughout the day
What does that even mean? It means dedicate chunks of time to work throughout the day, rather than trying to get everything done at once.
This is where penciling in meetings & other other obligations into your schedule is helpful so you can see what time frames you have to work with.
I like to chunk 1 hour at a time and give myself at least a 10 minute break before moving into my next task to complete. It is sometimes longer & shorter, depending on if I get into flow when working. You can read more in my post about Time Management While Working From Home.
What works best for you?
I do believe that this is different for everybody, which is why it’s important to be able to figure out what works best for you specifically.
For me, I notice that I am much more productive earlier in the morning, so I try to get to my desk as early as possible to make sure that I am able to tap into the max productivity. I realized that if I wait until later in the morning/day to try to start getting to work, I will get distracted and have a hard time focusing. But, like I’ve mentioned, that doesn’t work for everybody.
WHAT I DON’T RECOMMEND
What I absolutely do not recommend is trying to work from bed. I know how tempting it is to wake up and just grab your laptop and try working from bed, but I do not think that is the best way to approach working from home. However, I have done this before when I don’t feel good, but it’s not something that I do all the time.
There are just so many factors that go into being productive working from home and I do truly believe that you should treat it like you would if you were going into the office. Try to keep your routine as “normal” as possible. What might seem like a good, tempting idea, might not be the best, healthiest and most productive decision.
Now, it’s time to start planning out your at-home workday! What does this look like for you?!
I hope you found this helpful! ❤