8 Easy Tips for Work from Home Success

If you’re joining the work from home crowd I’ve got a few tips on how to be successful and productive because working from home is definitely not the same as working in an office!

I want to work from home.

You’ve said it. I’ve said it. We’ve all said it.

It sounds like so much fun in theory, but the realty is that it takes a lot of discipline to work from home. I’d say that discipline is not always my strong suit so I’ve had to find other ways to overcome the how to work from home question.

It takes a routine and schedule to be productive and to actually feel like you’ve accomplished anything by the end of the day.

Unless binge watching funny dog video’s is what you’re trying to accomplish. Believe me, I can easily get lost in time on social media!

Right now we’re seeing a record number of people working from home and trying to adjust.

Not only are you at home, but you’re probably enjoying having your kids and spouse right there with you. 24/7.

Which is not the ideal working situation for any of us, but it’s the reality for now.

I started working from home full time last year and I can tell you that it took several months for me to figure out a routine and to learn the tips that I’m going to share with you.

Tips for Work From Home Success

These tips include creating your workspace, setting up your schedule and handling distractions – because there are so many distractions!

Whether you’re working from home temporarily or you’ve decided to make the leap into WFH (work from home) life, here are a few tips to help you out.

Carve out a little spot for your desk when you work from home - it's helpful to have a designated space.  MySimpaticoLife.com

Have a Designated Work Space

You need to find a space in your home that you can dedicate to being a working space.

It doesn’t have to be a big space, it can be a tiny corner of a room. It just needs to be your space that you look at and say “this is where I work”.

I tend to move around from one dining table to another and sometimes I sit at our breakfast bar with my laptop, but I also tend to be in my home by myself regularly so I have that flexibility.

If you’re new to working from home then you definitely need one designated space until you figure out what works best for you and your family.

A few things that can be really helpful in your work space:

  • A door
  • Quiet
  • Natural Light
  • Minimal Distractions

If you’ve got a partner or kids at home too, having a dedicated space means that you are “on the clock” and helps them to know not to disturb you. Of course they’re still going to disturb you, but it really will help.

Try not to use your sofa or your bed for workspace because you’ll soon discover that you’re not nearly as productive. Your mind has to be in work mode too and that’s hard to achieve in a space that’s meant for relaxing.

And that bring me to the next point….

Establish a Schedule

When you work from home the line can be very blurry between work and home.

It’s important to establish time for work and it’s just as important to turn work off.

The most helpful thing is to have some structure in your day. A schedule keeps you working on tasks that are important and meeting deadlines and goals just like you would if you were in an office.

If you think “I need to get this project done sometime today” you may find that the end of the day gets here and the project isn’t finished. If you block out time in the day for your project you’ll be more focused during that time to finish.

It may also help to prioritize your tasks so that you can concentrate on the most important ones first. Or you can schedule those for nap time when you know you’ll have a chance to get them done without interruptions. Or at least with minimal interruptions.

Working from home gives you an opportunity to be on a flexible schedule to get your work done. That’s one of the upsides of WFH but the downside is that you can spend all of your time working because you’re spending all of your time at home.

A schedule (even a loose schedule) will help keep things on task.

Get Up and Get Dressed

I’ll be the first to admit that rolling out of bed and opening my computer sounds like a dream.

It really isn’t.

I have found that working out in the morning, then showering and getting dressed has helped me get my mind right to get to work. It’s part of my routine but it did take me some time to figure it out.

I’m not always dressed for success, but I’m not in my pajama’s either.

If you’ve always worked in an office, stick with your morning routine. Get up and dressed for the day, enjoy your coffee and then get to work.

You might only be making the commute from your bedroom to your dining table but the mindset makes all the difference.

Having a routine helps your mind focus.

Eliminate Distractions

This may be impossible to do but try to eliminate as many distractions as you’re able to.

It make take a little bit of time to figure out what distractions are really getting in your way and how to handle them.

My biggest distraction is the tabs on my computer. If I leave my e-mail or any social tab open I’m inclined to check it regularly. So I collapse my windows when I’m working and I set a designated time in my schedule to catch up.

This means I’m almost always behind on reading e-mails, and that means that most of them aren’t as important as I think they are. Most of them are really just another form of distraction.

Having kids at home is a distraction that you may have to juggle in different ways. You can’t just ignore them so a schedule and a plan are important for work from home success.

Stop Multitasking

We love to talk about how productive we are because we can multitask. If I can get two things done at once then why not four?

For some reason our culture believes that this is an important trait to show how successful we are. But it’s all a myth. You cannot work on multiple things at one time, your brain needs a chance to shift between activities and dashing from one to another depletes our productive time.

If you want to be successful while you work from home you have to focus on one thing at a time.

Let me tell you, it’s nearly impossible to get anything completely finished with only half your attention.

Dishes and laundry don’t count!

You may need to get up earlier than your family or stay up later then they do. You may have to tag team with your partner and create a schedule so that both of you have some dedicated time. It takes a little time and a little practice to get your routine into place.

Take Breaks

Don’t forget that when you work in an office you have some social contact. You might walk around a bit or visit with others while you get a cup of coffee.

It’s just as important at home to make sure you take regular breaks.

Sitting in front of a computer all day is exhausting, it really is. Your eyes need a break from the screen and your body needs to be in motion so plan accordingly.

One of the great methods you can try is using the Pomodoro technique, or time blocking. Try out different amounts of time to see what works best for you and your schedule and you’ll soon figure out how to be more productive.

Get Out of the House

While you may be social distancing right now you may still be able to take a walk around your neighborhood. Or even around your yard. If the balcony is all you’re allowed then try to get out there and get some fresh air everyday.

If your home is your office and your office is your home you need to escape it every once in awhile. Stay engaged in your community whether it’s by attending functions or subscribing to updates from local businesses.

I am fortunate to live on a big piece of property so getting outside and getting exercise is not a problem at all. Nature is a great way to destress and get away from everything.

That being said, working from home can also be lonely so be sure that you…

Have Social Time

One of the biggest things I didn’t realize about working from home is just how lonely it can be. I like spending time alone, but I never realized how many interactions I had each day when I worked outside of my home.

Being at home means that most things are handled by e-mail and sometimes by phone.

This makes it doubly important to talk to someone. Pick up the phone and visit with a friend or schedule a face time call.

I’ve also found that when I’m out in public I tend to greet everyone and ask how they’re doing. I keep my phone on silent or in my bag when I’m out and pay attention to what’s happening around me. I chat up the cashier’s, the barista or even just the greeter at our hardware store.

These are just a few of things that can help make your transition to WFH easier.

Of course patience is the most important. Both with your family and with yourself. New routines and schedules take time to adjust and we’re all looking for ways to have less stress and more time in our lives.

Let me know if you’ve got a great tip that’s worked for you that I didn’t include here. I’d love to hear how you’re adjusting to the work from home life and I hope you figure it out faster than I did!

Traci Signature | My Simpatico Life Blog

Do you need some help planning your home office? Check these out:

I've been working from home for awhile and I'm sharing my tips on how to set up your space and get productive right away.  MySimpaticoLife.com

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