Below are nine tips to stop Netflix and chilling, and actually get some work done.
Take it from us here at Support Adventure. With over 40 staff members on four continents, we are veterans of remote work productivity.
So turn off your TV and step away from your phone for 15 minutes.
Let’s explore our favorite methods for getting work done from home.
1 – Get energized by preparing for the day
The worst thing you can do when working from home is sleep in until your shift starts and start working while still in your pajamas.
Don’t do that.
Instead, do something–ANYTHING to get your energy flowing and your mind activated. For starters, you can do any of the following:
- Go for a walk
- Take a shower
- Put on make-up and dress nicely
- Take your kids to school
- Eat breakfast and watch the news
- Work on personal projects
Do whatever you have to do to separate relaxing at home from working at home. When working from an office, you surely have some rituals before getting in your car and driving to work. You want to recreate these rituals as much as possible while remote working.
2 – Prioritize your schedule
Ideally your day should start by looking at your schedule. You want to make sure you have enough time before and after your appointments to prepare for them and get things done accordingly.
Our staff always adheres to a schedule (maintained on the Microsoft Outlook calendar), and they build their days around their schedule by:
- Making plans for what they need to accomplish that day.
- Booking times for Zoom calls and meetings.
- Writing execution plans for the day.
- Preparing notes to help them for certain scheduled tasks throughout the day.
3 – Have a designated work area at home
You will be more productive working from home when you have a specific area to work from that is separate from the areas where you rest and relax.
You should try to avoid working from your bed. You need to work from somewhere in your home or apartment that allows you to feel like you are at work, despite being at home.
Naturally, a home office is most helpful, but we understand that many people do not have that.
You can easily create a work environment at home by configuring common living spaces you have as work spaces. If you have a desk, even if it is in your room, then you can use that as your “home office.” Tell your mind that this is your zone for serious work.
If you have a dining room table, you can use that as your “home office” by making sure that at the start of your shifts, it has no silverware, wine glasses, or other objects that would signal that it is dining time.
4 – Prevent home life disruptions
Alt: Prevent work from home distractions, even if they are cute kids.
Establish ground rules to prevent your roommates, children or partners from interrupting your productivity. If you have a home office, you can make it clear to everyone else living with you to not disturb you unless you come outside of the room. You can even place a “DO NOT DISTURB” sign on the door.
If you do not have a home office, this can be trickier, which is why you must strictly enforce your work boundaries. You can do this by:
- Creating consequences for being bothered while working. If your child comes to your desk while you are working, you can discipline them with a negative reinforcement so they know not to bother you at your desk.
- Telling your roommates, partner or family members that you will be available at certain times of the day, so that they know not to bother you during the times you are not available.
- Explaining to your friends that there are certain times of day that they should not call or text you for they should not expect a response.
- Creating times of day that you can cook breakfast, lunch and perform other tasks where someone else is dependent on you. This way, your dependent adapts to your schedule.
5 – Create a separate work browser, profile or computer
The power of using a separate computer or browser is that it will allow you to delineate work from leisure.
Not everyone has the finances to have more than one computer, which is why having a special browser makes it easier to be productive.
Here are some tricks to further establish an office environment from your browser while working from home.
- Use a specific browser or browser profile during work hours. For example, you can use Safari for watching Youtube videos and streaming movies; and you can use Google Chrome strictly for work, or have separate Chrome profiles for work and play.
- Save as bookmarks the tabs and websites you will need each day to perform your tasks, use the bookmarks bar on Chrome with folders to create a visual workspace.
- Sync your work email account Google Account to your Chrome profile so that your saved bookmarks, logins, passwords, etc. will load even when you access that browser profile from a different device.
- Open and close your work browser or browser profile at the start and end of each day to establish the routine of starting and finishing work.
All in all, you keeping your work and personal browsing experiences separate helps you to create strong work-from-home routines.
6 – Disable notifications you do not need
Stop suffering from notification fatigue.
You actually don’t need to be aware of every funny meme your cousin sends you on WhatsApp or every new post that occurs on Facebook.
Get a handle on your signal to noise ratio and turn off your notifications during your working hours. That is what you would do in an office environment, right?
Notification overload can be damaging to your ability to differentiate between the important updates you are receiving and the not-so-important ones.
The same goes for your work notifications. Only receive those when it is absolutely urgent. Here is our classification system of urgent and non-urgent communication:
|Chat||Video meetings booked in advance|
|Email (only when the subject says “Urgent”)||Ticketing system|
Ask yourself: will the consequences of waiting to view the notification strongly impact my life in a negative way? If the answer is no, you should turn off the notification.
7 – Take breaks
Take breaks often, ideally every 15 minutes. They help your eyes stay healthy from continuous staring at a computer screen, and they encourage you to stay mobile and energetic.
You can also use your break to perform other actions or activities to shake up the monotony of being in one place all day. There are a number of things you can do:
- Go outside and get breath of fresh air
- Go for a walk
- Do yoga
- Dance to some music
- Run a quick errand
- Go for a quick drive
- Jog or run
You can also do some of these things before or after work. If you have an extended break, you can do some of these things during that time as well.
Just make sure you step away from your computer and expose yourself to other stimulating surroundings outside your home. Any business with a strong company culture will prioritize this, so don’t feel guilty for stepping away from your computer throughout the day.
8 – Eat healthy
When you have an office job, it is easy to fall into unhealthy eating habits because your home is your comfortable retreat where you can do whatever you want. But it’s harder to get away with that when working from home because eating junk food produces junk results.
Eating healthy is so important for working from home because:
- It helps you stay energized.
- Preparing food helps keep you mobile.
- It keeps you alert.
- It prevents you from feeling sluggish and lazy.
We understand that staying on top of a healthy diet comes easier for some than it does others. So our tips for eating healthy are:
- Plan meals in advance.
- Meal prep to have ready-to-go lunches and snacks.
- Veggies are your friends.
- Snack throughout the day.
- Try intermittent fasting.
- Avoid junk food.
- Stay hydrated.
- Avoid heavy drinking the night before work.
- Use a spreadsheet to track your caloric intake or other dietary goals.
- Grocery shop before your work week starts.
Your home is of course your comfort zone. But when working from home, it also needs to be your productivity zone. Healthy eating helps you shift between the two.
9 – Establish an end of shift ritual
One last thing… Literally.
Create a ritual to finish off your day–something to mentally tell yourself “I’m done.”
Your ritual can be:
- Turning on the TV for the first time to watch the evening news.
- Closing your browser profile and not reopening it until your next shift.
- Writing your colleagues to say “Goodbye.”
- Reconfiguring your dining room table back to dinner mode by placing plates and silverware on it.
- Laying on your bed and finally looking at notifications on your phone.
Like healthy eating, this will help you transition your productivity zone back to your retreat and comfort zone.
We hope these tips have helped you on your quest to create a work from home routine. Let us know in the comments below if you have some ideas of your own that you will implement for your routine!