Many of us were thrust into the work-from-home world with no indication that we’d ever be trying to finish a report while the kids run wild in the other room and our partner is on the phone across the island from us trying to make a business deal. It’s not the life we have chosen nor were we ready for it, but it was the one that we were given.
I’ve been working from home going on six years now. And, I have to say, I absolutely love it. But I know it’s not for everyone, and even if it is for you, there’s still an adjustment period. Over the years I’ve established my own guidelines for work-from-home productivity. And while they’re always evolving and by no means perfect, they’ve helped me come a long way.
Separate Work and Home
If you’re anything like me, your laptop was an endless source of entertainment… until the day you started using it from work. If you’re lucky enough to have a separate device supplied by your employer then you might not have the same feeling of dread I do when I see my laptop lying there, untouched. But most of us aren’t that fortunate.
The thing is, working from home does not mean working all the time—I have to constantly remind myself of this because not only do I work from home but I work for myself. You absolutely have to take time off or the work you do will be less than what you want to create. Often, that means creating actual separation.
For example, I used to love watching TV and film on my laptop. But, as of late, I’ve offloaded that fun activity to my iPad. When I’m staring at my computer screen, even if it’s off-hours, I feel guilty not working. So, I’ve switched to “playing” on my iPad. Though I do use it for work, it doesn’t seem to have that same guilt-factor for me.
Build a System
Structure is an important part of work in general but having one is a great way to include work-from-home productivity. There’s a big difference between stepping into your office at the beginning of the day and flipping open your laptop. At home, getting organized and ready to start can be a bit more of a challenge.
What that strucutre actually looks like depends on who you are and what kind of work you do. Maybe it’s preparing a to-do list at the end of the day and having it ready for you to start fresh in the morning. Maybe it’s flipping through your emails with a piping hot cup of coffee in the morning. Maybe it’s having a time-structured day, or it could be stopping to have a nap at 2 pm.
Whatever you choose, make sure it works for you.
Don’t Pile on the Work
I get that you don’t have to catch the train or wait in traffic for 90 minutes, but that doesn’t mean that your extra free time needs to be devoted to working.
I find that a lot of people are willing to do more for being able to work from home. But you still have the same job, the same salary and, chances are, your job could have been done remotely the whole time.
It’s important to remember that you don’t owe extra for being able to keep your PJ pants on in a board meeting (just make sure the camera can’t see).
Do you have more work-from-home productivity tips? Share them in the comments below!
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