By ALLIE MYSZKA
Working from home is becoming increasingly common, both for small businesses and large corporations. It comes with its perks, but it’s also a huge change if you’re used to working in an office or an environment alongside your coworkers every day.
Whether you’re working from home full time or telecommuting just a day or two a week, here’s how to make the most of your working from home time.
Create a routine.
When we’re honest, most of us crave some level of consistency. Spontaneity is great from time to time, but spontaneity all day, every day won’t help you get anything done. Create a routine for yourself for the sake of accountability with your work. It doesn’t have to be rigid, and of course, it can change over time. But having a basic framework for your day (get up before 8:30, make coffee, be at desk by 9:15, etc.) can make a huge difference in your productivity levels.
Speaking of accountability with your work, discipline isn’t a skill you can learn overnight—it’s something you have to practice! Maybe having your boss right next door is enough to keep you busy in the office, but when you’re at home, there’s no one to keep you from scrolling through your phone for hours on end or leaving your desk to work on household chores, take a walk around the block… you get the point.
Start small by making yourself focus in spurts of time, then taking quick breaks in between those focused spurts. The Pomodoro technique is a structured way to do this, but you may need to come up with your own way to start practicing discipline. Build up your focus periods little by little, and soon enough you’ll be able to plow through entire tasks without giving in to distractions.
If you don’t have an issue with focus or discipline, great! But if you swing too far over on the discipline scale, you might find yourself sitting at your computer from sunrise to sunset—literally. When you create a routine for yourself, build in a few short breaks, and give yourself a larger chunk of time for a lunch break. Sometimes a few minutes to walk away is exactly what your brain needs when working on a difficult or overwhelming task.
Be mindful that you still get interaction time with other people.
This is especially important for those who work from home every day. In an office, you get a healthy dose of interaction (and sometimes more than you want!) but working from home doesn’t lend itself to that. Personally, as an introvert, I could go days without having any desire to get out and be social, but I also know that’s not good for my mental or emotional health. Even if it’s a 30-minute coffee break with someone once a week, put things on your calendar that will get you some face time with a friend or family member—and commit to actually showing up.
Change your scenery.
If all else fails and your productivity and motivation levels are plummeting by the minute, take advantage of the flexibility you have and work somewhere else. It may be cliché, but coffee shops are still great places to work. Plus, sunshine and fresh air would probably do a world of good for your body and mind.
What are your best strategies for surviving the work-from-home life?
Allie was born and raised in Georgia, and moved to Nashville after graduating from the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!). She’s a freelance writer, Pilates instructor, old soul, and chronic DIY-er. Connect with Allie at alliemyszka.com.