Working from home can at times appear both a blessing and a curse – often in equal measure. There are all the benefits of being able to organise your working hours as you see fit, being able to work in your PJs, not having to commute to work and enjoying the solitude, writes Renee Wainwright.
There is however also the issue of not actually getting enough sleep, not getting out of the house much, getting distracted by the TV, the dishes, the cat trying to knock the TV and dishes down, and so on.
In order to balance both the chaos and the bliss, let’s look at:
7 ways to organise your work from home life
Have a schedule and stick to it
Start by establishing a firm schedule – you want to have a starting point and an endpoint, and stick to it as much as possible. You can of course arrive to work late, or work late when you need to, but most of your days should begin and end at a specific time.
Consider your habits and when you work best – if you are not a morning person, don’t force yourself to get up earlier. If you work best in the evening, set yourself up for success by starting your workday mid-day.
Set aside an office area
Having a designated office area where all you do is work will significantly boost your productivity levels. On the other hand, working from bed or in front of the TV will provide plenty of distractions.
Work on creating the perfect office space for yourself, even if it’s just a section of your dining table.
If you only have a tiny space to work with, consider storing any items you don’t need, and return to them when the need arises, or when you have a larger office at your disposal.
Establish boundaries with friends and family
When working from home, you are sometimes faced with unexpected intrusions in the form of friends and family asking you to run their errands, or inviting you to meet them during your office hours.
Some people will need more time to accept working from home as a legitimate and very real job – and you will likely need to keep reminding them to stop calling while you are at work.
It’s best to have an honest conversation about boundaries and establish clear availability times, when you are ready to chat or meet, in order to avoid frustrations on both sides.
Get dressed up for work
While there are definitely days when you can and should work in your pyjamas, getting dressed for work has actually been shown to boost productivity levels.
The process itself gets your mind ready for the task at hand and is a great routine to slip into work mode. It is also a clear boundary between your at-home morning and your at-home day. Once you are done for the day, you can slip back into loungewear, thus effectively taking the mantle of work off your shoulders.
You will also feel much more business-like dressed up for work, so consider sporting an outfit you would like to be seen in at a meeting even if it’s just you at home.
Take plenty of breaks
Knowing when to take a break is one of the most important aspects of working from home.
No matter how comfy you are in your chair, set an alarm if you have to, but get up every hour, stretch for a bit, walk around, and look at something other than a screen.
You should also have proper meal breaks, and not eat at your desk, as this will provide some much-needed reset time for your mind.
You can also add in a short walk to your break routine, especially if you can easily get yourself to a park or other wooded area – the air will clear your head, and you’ll return to the office rejuvenated.
Don’t neglect your personal life
No matter how hectic work gets, and no matter how bad you might be at organising your day-to-day tasks, you need to allow yourself time for socialising, engaging with your hobbies, and doing the things you like doing.
If your life is all about work and Netflix and if you barely see anyone, you’ll soon notice how your productivity starts to dwindle.
One of the best ways to tackle the issue is to put your personal plans into your work calendar and treat them like you would any other work-related task. Schedule time with friends, time to watch a movie and read, but also time to exercise, to leave the house and think and talk about something other than work.
Finally, don’t forget to enjoy the freedoms working from home brings.
Don’t be too hard on yourself and don’t beat yourself up for not having the most organised of days. Aim to accomplish everything you have set out for yourself, but don’t forget there is a lot of fun to be had.
Play the music you want to play, take a nap if you really need one, cook a delicious meal during your lunch break – you have the ultimate freedom to work the way it suits you best, without too many corporate restrictions. Make the absolute most of it.
To sum it up
If you choose to focus on structuring your work from home life in a way that suits your own personal needs, you can soon establish a true haven in your private office – just listen to your needs, try out new things, and get productive!
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