Working from home – do the right things

work from home

Subscribe to our newsletter here, so you don’t miss out on the latest advice and articles on business.

Nine out of ten people hate that one guy who is working from home. They have to go to the office five days a week, and he seems to be having the time of his life without leaving his house. Then something like COVID-19 strikes, and suddenly those nine people are stuck within four walls. And everyone begins to complain that: they don’t know what to do with all this free time, how to remain productive and how they miss socialising with their friends.

While working from home can be a bit of a strain for anyone who is used to regular office hours, it can also be…amazing! I have personally worked from home for two years, and while it had its ups and downs, there are certain lessons I had to learn to not go insane in that time.

Here are some practical tips you can implement, whether you have been affected by a pandemic or if you are an entrepreneur grinding away behind your computer screen at home.

Setting up your “workplace”

Make sure you got a workstation set up. This doesn’t mean that you need an extra room in your house/flat. However, having a corner in your room that is there for work, would make it easier to switch from “play” to “work” mindset.

One of the things I learned early on is that you need to draw a clear line between “work” and “home”. This will have a very important psychological impact on you going forward. If you don’t do this, what will happen next is you will end up spending hours looking at memes on social media and funny videos that your friends send you.

To avoid the above, also set rules for yourself. For example: no phone when you are there… or if you need to be contactable by clients/co-workers, no messaging from friends, etc. Use different apps for different kinds of messages. No social media and no distractions.

Have a schedule

Having a schedule is vital. This is a great opportunity to choose hours that work for you. It’s not about setting up an “office-like” timetable. Choose when you are most productive and decide that this is when you will do work. Set up breaks in-between and see how productive you are when you stick to this schedule.

Make sure that you adjust on the go. You may think that you are great at concentrating between 2pm and 5pm. Two days into your new work routine, you realise that you are SO BORED between 4pm and 5pm. What does that mean? Figure out why that is. Are you are done with most work by 4pm? Are you hungry? Maybe you prefer doing these tasks in the morning? Adjust and you will be surprised at how much more you can get done, when you figure out a schedule that is right for you!

Regular breaks

This is crucial. Don’t think that walking around your house is good enough. Go outside, get some fresh (or city) air in. Make sure that you disconnect from whatever you are doing for 10-30 minutes. This will help you refocus later, and also keep your body in motion, rather than sitting behind a screen for hours. Get up every hour or so and walk around. You will find that this will help you keep up with you schedule (see above) and keep the concentration levels high over longer periods of time.

Get some books

No, seriously – forget taking a break by watching TV or playing videogames. Not only is it terrible for your eyesight (an especially touchy subject for me), but your brain needs to be engaged next time you look at a screen to type up an essay/article. Reading a book will help “flip the switch”, and refocus your brain. Not to mention the fact that you will increase your knowledge bank.

Getting a book can also help you learn new skills…

Learn a new skill

…which brings me to the next point. This is your opportunity. You know that one thing you wanted to learn about that you never had the time for? Now is the chance to finally cross the Rubicon! Coding, graphic design, video editing, blogging and so many other things that you could brush up on.

Reading books on the subject matter and taking online courses could be your way into a whole new world that will present opportunities (now, in self-isolation and in the world to come).

IMPORTANT: incorporate learning this new skill into your schedule. If you really love your new hobby, it could even become your “break” between regular work tasks. However, I personally recommend allocating a specific 1-2-hour period, during which you could really focus on studying it.

Food and drinks

Diet can play an important part in your stay-at-home routine. Don’t disregard your physical health, just because you are in the comfort of your home. Apart from incorporating regular breaks into your daily “ritual”, you might want to think about when and what you will eat. There are hundreds of case studies and articles telling you how much water to drink, what food to consume, etc. I won’t go into particular here, but from the practical point of view, one of the biggest temptations at homes is snacks.

Even the word itself sounds appealing. But, try to cut down on these, and replace sweet snacks with fruit.

The more attention you pay to this, the better you will feel over long period of time. And staying at home and working is a marathon, not a sprint. You be able to endure the process and enjoy it (unlike the actual marathon, so perhaps not the best analogy).

Enjoy your time working from home, make the most use of it and you will find it a lot more enjoyable and productive than the time you would have spent in the office.

Subscribe to our newsletter here, so you don’t miss out on the latest advice and articles on business.