7 Tips For Structuring Your Day When Working From Home
Leigh Gillatt • Careers Advice
WORKING FROM HOME
Some of you may be accustomed to working from home and have your routines precisely mapped out like a set of strategic military plans! For many of us however, we are not only adjusting to a new way of life, but for those of us working from home, we’re still adjusting to a new way of working also.
It’s funny despite what you’d think would be more obvious complaints like missing being in the office with others members of staff, or struggling with technical IT issues, losing awareness of what day of the week it is appears to be number one!
If you’re part of this group still getting accustomed to this change in work behaviour, we’ve put together 7 simple tips to help you improve productivity while you’re working from home.
How To Structure Your Day When Working From Home
It may sound pretty obvious when you read this, but simply taking the time to work out what your daily to-do list is going to be, and prioritise the tasks within it can allow you to tackle them one task at a time, and so mentally box off those tasks you’ve got whirling around in your head that are making you feel like you don’t know where to start.
Write Down Your To-Do List The Evening Before
Whilst tasks you’ve set yourself, or those that have come in via email during the day from your managers, are still fresh in your mind write down your top priorities for tomorrow. This will allow your mind to properly rest in the evening, as you’ll not have to worry about what you’ve got to remember to do following day. It also means that you start tomorrow with a clear focus on what lies ahead and in what order it should be conducted.
Have Realistic Goals
There’s probably not enough time in the day to finish everything on your list! Instead of trying to cram too many tasks into any given day, you may find it useful to have a weekly to-do list that covers all tasks that need to be completed for that period. You can then select a realistic number of tasks to complete each day and add them to your to-do list each evening; reviewing the weekly list at the same time to make sure your progress is staying on track.
Schedule Those Breaks
Create a timetable to plan out bursts of focused work interspersed with time away from your screen(s). It’s important not only to give your eyes and mind a break, but getting up and moving around for a few minutes after being sat in one position for hours, can help to alleviate the development of issues such as sciatica.
Tailor Your Working Hours
If you’re anything like me and are an early bird rather than a night owl, tackle your important tasks first thing in the morning. If however, you operate better in an afternoon, then take the morning for some down time and work later into the day if that still functions well with what other colleagues are doing. This has to be one of the key benefits to working from home; it allows you more flexibility in how you manage your time and can often mean you can operate outside of set office hours!
Limit Those Distractions
During focused tasks, turn your email notifications off and set your phone to ‘do not disturb’ mode (if your job allows it) to limit distractions. It may also be a good idea to block out time in your calendar or set your status to away, so that your colleagues know that you’re busy and not to expect a quick reply to their email or direct message.
Schedule Your Working Hours And Stick To Them
If, like many of us, you’re working at the kitchen table, make sure you clear your workstation at the end of the day, as this will signal to your brain that the workday is over. If you’re lucky enough to have a home office, treat it like your usual office and leave it (with no returning!) when you’re finished for the day. See our tips for Essential Tips for Effectively Working From Home
Plan Your “Me Time”
Having something planned to look forward to at the end of each day gives you a reason to switch off your computer and stick to your scheduled working hours. You could schedule a catch-up call with family or friends, binge on a movie boxset, or challenge yourself to complete a workout you’ve been performing that past few weeks. Whatever it is, fill those hours with something you truly enjoy, and really make it your “Me Time”!
We all appreciate that this new working from home routine is going to involve a fair bit of trial and error until you get it nicely dialled in. Give these tips a try, it may help you to decide what works best for you.