- Schedule Your Day the Night Before.
If you don’t already schedule your day, you should. Scheduling provides you with the opportunity to prioritize your tasks and dedicate time to completing them. Or else you’ll have multiple tasks in mind without a clear game plan. This will leave you overwhelmed with thoughts like: feed the dog! Feed the kids! Hop on a Zoom call! Feed myself!
PRO TIP: Set a notice in your calendar and/or on your phone to remind you that it is “time for lunch” or to “drink water” or “time to log off.” If you find yourself dismissing these reminders, set them to annoyingly remind you every 15 minutes; at least they’ll be at the top of your mind when you finally get a second. Those calendar’s can be used for more than just reminding you of all the meetings you have.
2. Create an “I am working” Attitude
To establish this attitude, dedicate a space within your home that is solely for work. Make sure it is not your bedroom — you do not want to mix work with an atmosphere that is meant for you to rest. You’ll face many distractions like cleaning up the bathroom or getting caught up with family. Stay focused and maintain your usual “going to work habits” as best as you can. Ensure you are out of your pj’s. This tricks your brain to be in a more productive attitude now that you’re out of your sleeping wear. Make your coffee and drink it while you are in your work space, as it will keep your work momentum going.
3. Take. Those. Breaks.
Working from home can actually cause us to take the fact we’re at home for granted. Very easily, you’ll begin to think, “oh, I’ll grab lunch in a bit.” Or “I’ll refill my bottle of water after this email.” Then lunch turns into dinner and that bottle never gets refilled. Not giving yourself a mental and health break will wear you out, leaving you unproductive and sluggish as the day goes on. Also, avoid physical stress on your neck, back, arms and legs by ensuring you take a break to stretch; just as you would do so at the office (or should be doing so anyways). So take those breaks because I promise you, those emails will still be there when you’re back.
4. Respect Your Work Hours
Now it can be extremely hard to stick to your work hours when you’re already working from the same place you rush back to at the end of the day. It is easy for the divide between work life and personal life to dissolve if you do not set the boundaries. So when your work hours are done, have the discipline to leave your dedicated work space.
You may try to save time from tomorrow by thinking “ I’m home. Which means no commuting time. Which meaaaans, no harm in finishing this report while I watch The Tonight Show.” WRONG. A) because your report probably won’t be as adequate since you are multi tasking and B) you are not giving your brain the space to disconnect. Jimmy Fallon requires your full attention.
If the hours you are meant to work are done and your task is not completed, that is a future you problem! Respect the hours you signed up for, respect the structure you set for yourself and while you’re at it, make sure others respect your work hours as well.
PRO TIP: schedule something like a workout routine or chat with a friend right around the time you finish work. This way you are in mental space that says: “it’s time to move on to the next part of your day.”
5. Reward Yourself
Whether it’s binge watching Netflix, eating ice cream or going to bed, make sure you reward yourself on getting through the day — no matter how tough or easy it may have been. Tell yourself (proudly) that “I am having this slice of cake for a job well done from home today.” Just this sentence on the positive association of doing well from home can go a long way. When we praise ourselves, positive signals are sent straight to our brain. This makes us more likely to feel as though we have accomplished something grand, conditioning us to look forward to doing it again.