Back when I was working in an office I actually hated working from home and rarely took the opportunity. So when I started working from home full time, it was a HUGE adjustment for me. While I always thought I was pretty darn organized, this was new territory for me. I couldn’t concentrate and always felt like I was just ‘hanging out’ although I definitely wasn’t. But once I was more intentional about replicating my ‘in the office’ behaviors, my productivity at home nearly doubled!
Here’s what I learned after a month of working from home!
1 Get ready for work right when you get up in the morning, not say …. an hour in to doing work. Originally I would wake up and start working right away in the morning, but still hadn’t changed out of my pajamas, washed my face or brushed my teeth. I’m not sure that I became more productive by getting ready first, but I definitely felt better!
2 Although I still wear sweats every day during the day, I did opt to wear ‘nicer’ ones that my standard lounging around ‘I should probably throw away they’re so old‘ clothes. It made me feel more put together.
3 We still haven’t gotten blinds in our new townhouse, so in the morning I work in the kitchen because the sunlight hits right on my eyes in the office. Then afternoon I switch to our office. Although not intentional (obviously I should buy blinds!), even when we do get blinds I will still continue this mid day desk switch as it makes for a really nice change of scenery.
4 Each night before I go to bed I create a to-do list of the essentials that I need to get done the next day. If you’re someone who’s work allows you to pick and choose what you’re going to do each day, I think this is essential. This also really helps me know when to ‘turn it off’ as there’s ALWAYS work to do. Once I finish the critical items I can then decide how much longer I want to work that day.
5 Each Sunday I spend about 15 minutes planning out my entire week on my Google calendar. I’m talking hour to hour scheduling! Everything gets a calendar invite and everything is planned out in advance. At first it did feel a little odd to plotting out which times I was taking a break to take Reagan (our new puppy) to the dog park or do chores around the house, but it really helped provide structure. This also helped me see exactly how long I was working for. Sometimes when working from home it can seem like you’re ALWAYS working but in reality that wasn’t’ the case for me.
6 Make sure to set boundaries and ensure everyone knows that you’re WORKING from home. It’s always always always nice to help out friends and spouses during the day when you can, but it’s up to you to use your time as productively as possible. Typically when I don’t get enough work done during the day I end up making up for it in the evenings.
7 One of the biggest adjustments in working from home for me was not having coworkers to interact with throughout the day. Not only is it nice to bounce ideas off of someone, it helps to have someone else to chat with periodically to break up the day! Initially I made the rookie mistake of having the TV during the day, just as background noise. Then I started finding myself getting a little too sucked in to the episode (embarrassingly it was Gossip Girl). That’s when I made the switch to listening to music while I work.
8 If you’ll have a schedule where you can decide WHEN you work, it’s a nice perk to be able to take advantage of getting some couple household things done during the day. From experience I can tell you that grocery stores are near EMPTY on Tuesdays at 9am! The consolation may be that you need to adjust your work schedule to do work in the evenings and weekends. I’d give you the low down on what the gyms look like mid week, but I’m still working on getting that gym membership 🙂 .