Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic that is currently raging, a whole lot of people suddenly find themselves working from home, and I've learned from social media that a lot of you don't seem to know how to handle this disruption.
As someone who regularly works from home, I thought it might be helpful if I shared some wisdom with you. So, here are my 7 tips for working from home whether you've quit your day job to write the great American novel or are simply an office worker sheltering in place.
1. Routines Are Useful
I'm not a huge fan of routines, but I have to admit when it comes to working from home routines do make me more productive. So, I've grudgingly come to embrace them. Setting clear routines for when your workday begins and ends, what tasks you complete at what time of the day, and what time you take lunch can help a lot with productivity.
I have also found that my canine coworker, who loves routines almost as much as he loves squeaky balls, is very good about reminding me exactly when it's time to knock off work for the day and take him for walk.
2. Take a Shower and Get Dressed
Okay, I know one of the benefits of working from home is that you could stay in your pajamas all day, but this doesn't work for me. It's not just the fact that I would be embarrassed if the UPS delivery driver saw me waking around in my raggedy pajamas well past noon, although sure that factors into it. For me, I just feel more motivated to get down to work after I've showered and gotten dressed.
Now, that doesn't mean I get dolled up in a business suit before siting down in my home office. Believe me I own an extensive collection of leggings and sweatpants. I also have to admit that many days I don't bother to put in my contacts or wear any makeup.
For those of you that are doing video conferencing of any kind, it's probably a good idea to at least make an attempt at getting dressed. Again, depending on the situation you can still opt for comfort, but it's best not to look like you just rolled out of bed.
3. Set Goals
Setting goals or making to-do lists are a great way to stay focused on your work. Even when you live alone, there are a lot of distractions working from home. Whether it's household chores, social media or the television there are a lot of things at home that make us forget that we're supposed to be working.
Creating daily goals or just jotting down a quick to-do list help me to make sure I get done with all my work duties.
4. Treat Yourself
While it's important to stay focused, it's never healthy to be too much of a workaholic. You're working from home, so you owe it to yourself to do something special for yourself. A cup of tea can help make the afternoon more enjoyable, but a pot of tea is even better.
Feeling an afternoon slump? Take twenty minutes to lay down in your bed or on the couch and take a nap. Naps tend to be frowned upon in traditional workplaces, which is really a pity. They're wonderful things, and you can take them when you're working from home.
5. Take a Walk
If you're not one for naps, another great way to recharge is to take a walk. Especially if your work involves sitting all day in front of the computer, it's a good idea to get up and get some sort of exercise.
Depending on the weather you might just want to take a turn or two around your home, but if it's nice out a walk outdoors can really recharge you. Plus if you happen to have a canine coworker, your pup will likely be very much in favor of a walk during the workday.
6. Don't Work After Quitting Time
Set a quitting time for yourself, and try to stick to it. Unless it's a critical situation, don't stay chained to your desk long after you planned on knocking off for the day.
I know there can be a temptation to get back to work after dinner to finish a project, or even to bring your computer to bed with you and try to do a little work before turning in. This is a recipe for getting burned out.
You probably wouldn't stay super late at the office, so don't burn the midnight oil when you're working from home, either. You need some time that's just for you or for spending with your partner or family.
7. Take All Advice with a Grain of Salt
In this information age, there's an overwhelming amount of advice out there. It's important to remember what works for one person isn't going to work for another.
For example, maybe you're the kind of person who gets way more work done when you don't shower and get dressed, in which case tip number 2 above really doesn't apply to you.
There are no hard and fast rules for when it comes to working for home. As with most things, you have to do what works for you.
Alissa Grosso is the author of 7 books for teens and adults. Find out more about her and her books at alissagrosso.com