Many of us have had to adjust our lives to fit the new “normal,” and the new normal likely involves a change in our work, as well as in our work-life balance. If you’re currently working from home and feel like there is room for improvement in your productivity and overall well-being, here are some ways to make the most out of this situation so you can handle anything that is thrown your way!
Set Yourself Up for Success:
Working in pajamas from your couch while watching reruns of The Office may sound like the most ideal work environment ever, but be careful – these choices could significantly impact your productivity. Set yourself up for success by picking out your work “uniform” and setting up your work space the night before so you can minimize decision fatigue first thing in the morning.
Bonus tip: Athleisure clothing helps maintain the comfortability factor while also making you feel pulled together and professional enough to jump on an unexpected conference call. Here are some of our favorite athleisure options.
Connect & Communicate:
Miscommunication and misunderstandings are inevitable in work-from-home situations, so instead of waiting for things to come to a head, make sure you are overcommunicating and connecting more frequently with colleagues and managers. Schedule regular check-in calls with your team or clients so you can keep them updated on your work.
Bonus tip: Online communication tools such as Slack, Zoom, and Trello not only help with workflow, but can also serve as necessary social outlets for you and your team.
Set Up a Designated Workspace:
Everyone knows working from the couch is not ideal for productivity, but sometimes you don’t have any other option, especially if you’re keeping a watchful eye on your kids or have a small house or apartment. If you do have the luxury of having an extra room to designate as your workspace, perfect! If not, choose a comfortable corner of your home that can be used exclusively for work and one that will help keep you focused and feeling productive throughout the day.
Bonus tip: Set up shop near a window so you can get as much natural light in your workspace as possible! Good lighting impacts happiness, so make sure you keep that top of mind when looking for the ideal spot.
Schedule Your Day:
You no longer have a daily commute into the office – a major win! Though sleeping in later can be tempting, try to wake up at the same time every day and treat weekdays the same as they were before you started working from home. The best way to maximize this new work-from-home perk is to replace your commute time with a new morning ritual. Not sure where to start? This self-care quiz determines the best ritual for you! Also, don’t forget to set a lunch time and take plenty of breaks throughout the day. A little fresh air is good for the soul, so take a walk around to destress and refresh during the day.
Bonus tip: Try the Pomodoro Technique, a time management method that uses a timer to break down work into interval stretches of 25 minutes followed by short 5-minute breaks. This method creates structure to your day and helps limit distractions. Here is a cute Pomodoro Timer to help you get started.
Now that you have set yourself up for success, created a dedicated workspace and productivity schedule, it’s time to set boundaries and reinforce your new rules. More than likely, you have either a spouse, children or pets all in close quarters (or possibly all of the above). First, communicate to your family when and where you will work. Let them know you will be unavailable during certain hours of the day and available during your break times for anything that comes up. Unless being on the phone is a crucial part of your work day, your phone should be out of reach during work hours (yes, seriously put it away!). Once you’re done with work, hit ‘snooze’ on all notifications and emails. Setting boundaries may feel slightly selfish at first, but it’s a necessary part of the work-from-home lifestyle.
Bonus tip: Devote at least one full day a week to completely unplug! Get yourself this mug to remind yourself that it’s perfectly natural to disconnect from electronics and the chaos of your day-to-day.
A friendly reminder that no one is perfect and working from home will never be perfect either. We’re all doing the best we can with what we have. Heck, I am currently writing this article in my pajamas from the comfort of my in-laws’ couch because that’s the current work-from-home situation for me. Because tomorrow is a new day to start fresh, right?!