Working from Home for the First Time?

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.

More resources for working at home: