I’ve been working from home since 2005 so it’s nothing new for me. But for those experiencing it for the first time, it can be frustrating. You may feel distracted, that’s a big problem. Or you may have family in the house and feel like you’re getting interrupted and not being productive.
Here are some things that I’ve learned – they work for me, and may help you. Try to find your own work/life rhythm.
- Define working hours. Doesn’t matter when they are – middle of the night, early afternoon, whatever works for you. But stick to them and make them a habit. Ask others in the house not to interrupt you during these times if at all possible and avoid the temptations of social media or web surfing.
- Take breaks. Breaks are critical! If the weather’s nice, get outside. Take the dog for a walk. Go for a bike ride. I can’t stand being stuck to my desk for more than an hour or two – even a quick 5-minute walk can help a lot.
- Establish a routine. For me I check email first thing, then at lunch, then late in the afternoon. When I finish for the day I shut down my apps and don’t look at work stuff again until the next day. Keep a separation between work and real life.
- Do what makes it feel ‘official’ to you. Get a time tracker (lots of phone apps, or something like Harvest which I’ve used for years).
- Protect your space. Work in a room with a closed door if you have one to clearly define your space. Use music to shut out other noise or to help you get in the zone.
- Be social. This is a hard one right now – meeting up with others IRL but staying 6 ft. away. Having human contact is important when you work solo, but be careful for the next while. Connect with your team or clients or customers online or over the phone, too.