Working from home efficiently is not a question of the season, the weather, or even your mood. It is important to work with equal productivity in both good and bad weather. That’s why we have compiled some tips for working from home efficiently!
Checking your work equipment
It may sound obvious, but it is important to check before starting work that your equipment is suitable for the task, e.g. that you have a good internet connection, access to your employer’s server, that your cat has not chewed the mouse cord, etc.
If you use your own computer or laptop for work, you should protect your data with a password (especially if other family members also use that computer). When working from home, you should also ensure that your data is secure. Do you know how to use a VPN? Do you have one on your computer?
One of the first obvious differences between working from home and in an office or on-site is getting to work.
While in a traditional workplace, between getting up and starting work there is the daily routine of getting ready and commuting, in a home office only a corridor, at most, separates your bed from your “workplace”.
It may seem trivial, but the little ritual of traveling or even being stuck in traffic helps us to concentrate on our work. It not only enables our brain to wake up, but also shifts our state of mind. Therefore, it is important to allow our bodies some time in the morning to wake up. Get up a little earlier, make some coffee or tea, exercise a bit. It helps a lot to get dressed and ready: shave, put on your make-up (if applicable) – this way you can be prepared for unexpected video calls. This morning ritual can help give our workday a proactive start.
Private working corner or office
It helps your concentration greatly if you can exclude distractions, such as a neighbor performing construction work or just being noisy, or a puppy begging for a walk. But family members can also be counted in this category.
Having a separate room is not absolutely necessary: simply having a working corner with a desk and a comfortable chair can already boost your productivity and concentration. That space can be anywhere – except on the sofa in front of the TV. Let’s admit it: that would not make concentration easier.
Another thing that helps is putting away and muting your phone, because if you are constantly distracted by notification sounds, it will break your concentration quite quickly, no matter how hard you focus on your task.
Schedules and to-do lists
Your time management efforts can be helped greatly by sticking to a daily plan, which can be prepared on a weekly basis if you are able to schedule your time.
At the end of each day, it may be worth summarizing the completed tasks and those left for the next day, and choosing their order. Let’s face it: it is easier to work in order than to wonder what was that extra task you wanted to do for the day but cannot remember…
You should aim to schedule most of your work for the mornings. There are several reasons for this: on the one hand, people have more energy during these hours, and on the other hand, if you have a larger job to accomplish, you will have more time to finish it for the afternoon.
A good trick might be to start your smaller, less energy-intensive tasks in the afternoon, when the morning projects are finished – it is like winding down after a workout.
Keeping in touch
When it comes to working from home, you should always remember the importance of human contact. After all, we are social beings, so no matter if you are a private person or the most extroverted person in your company, you need to interact with other people.
Use video communication! It is good to see not just to hear each other, let alone just writing messages.
Communicating with your family can be also very empowering after a long day, whether in the same household or with distant loved ones and friends. Take time to nurture human relationships.
Just as your muscles need a rest after regular exercise, you need to take a break from work as well.
This has several advantages: relaxing a little between tasks helps you stay focused. But the long-term benefit is that breaks prevent burnout, or at least slow down the process. The biggest benefit of breaks happens when you pass that time away from your work, and not just mentally. Stand up from the desk or get out of the work area and take a walk! After all, the nice weather is on its way!
We are not talking about an hour-long coffee break, just a half-hour lunch break or a 5-minute coffee break etc. This will enhance your daily functioning if you try to schedule these breaks at the same time consistently.
Setting up a daily routine
As we mentioned before, inserting routines can give a boost to your daily life, for example you can schedule the hardest tasks after the morning coffee, or administrative tasks after lunch. It is much easier to face the workday if you know what to expect from it.
Creative extras (music, washing machine)
Some people can concentrate much better with some background noise. If you have not thought about it or have not tried it yet, it might be time for it! Find a long playlist in any music app or website and hit play! For starters, it is better to choose an artist that you don’t know and to just search by genre – after all, it does not really help if you are dancing rather than working, does it?
In the case of an unknown performer, you won’t have the opportunity to do that, or to sing along, as you won’t know the words… By the way, lyric videos do not count – that’s cheating!
Another work-from-home tip (or trick) can be using your household appliances as timers.
You might have heard about the method some people use to time how long they shower by listening to three songs before they finish. Since you need to get away from work anyway, as well as move your limbs every now and then, you might as well do it in a useful way. If you work from home, you are likely to have a lot of housework. However, you can easily shape this to your advantage, for example by putting together a project or a presentation while the washing machine is running, etc. It also works with the dishwasher, trust us!
Get ready for the next day at the end of the day
In order to better plan your days, it is really helpful to tick off the tasks from your list at the end of each day and to note what needs to be done the next day. Of course, this list should mostly contain work-related tasks, but it can also include a few personal tasks.
What is very important when working from home is to think about lunch. Of course, you can have a quick meal somewhere nearby or you can order food, but sometimes you might have to cook. In this case, it is a good idea to prepare lunch the day before. Think of it as a relaxing activity – believe us, it will be so much easier to just grab the lunch from the fridge on the next day! But for those who like a freshly prepared lunch, there is some good news: there are many meals that can be prepared in half an hour and are still delicious!
We hope that you found this article useful. Is there a tip we missed? Your comments, suggestions, recipe ideas are welcome under the Facebook post!