The COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread. And so more people are finding themselves having to learn how to work from home.
Those who aren’t accustomed to this type of work environment can find it hard to focus and stay on track.
Fortunately, adjusting to remote work is simple. You only need to make some changes in the way you approach both your work and your home life.
So how do get more out of your workday?
Here is the ultimate guide with all the work from home tips you need to be successful.
Let’s dive in.
How to Work From Home: Setting the Foundation for a Successful WFH Lifestyle
For many, working from home can seem like a dream come true. After all, they just have to get out of bed and they are already at work. But this same advantage can be a major problem.
A separate workplace allows you to divide your personal and professional life. But when you work from home, they blend together, making it harder for you to reach your goals in either category.
But you don’t want to allow your work to interfere with your personal life and vice versa.
So what’s the first step to being successful when working from home? Improving your home life and creating boundaries.
Here’s are some work from home tips that will help you start setting this vital foundation.
1. Create a Schedule for Your Personal Activities
Much like you have two separate schedules for work and home when you are working out of the house, you need two separate schedules when you are working from home as well.
Set aside some time to sit down and create a routine for your day from start to finish.
Add items to your list including:
- When you will wake up
- How much time you will spend on your morning routine
- When you will take breaks, either for food or simply to break away
- The time when you will take care of household chores or errands
- When you will exercise
- When the workday ends (and how you will spend the rest of your night)
Even though it may sound silly to do this at first, having this schedule makes it far easier to stick to your day-to-day routine.
If you let your personal life and your work life overlap, it can make it hard for you to get either one done efficiently.
When you first start working from home, this is the most important first step to take.
2. Maintain a Healthy and Active Lifestyle
Getting ready for work and leaving the house gives us a sense of purpose and drive.
While staying at home is far more convenient, it can have an impact on our overall motivation. It may also deter us from keeping up with our fitness or other personal goals.
As you transition into this new environment, make sure that you are doing everything you would normally do if you were working outside the house.
This means eating right, exercising on a daily basis, and getting enough sleep.
Once you start letting expectations slide, it can be easy to give up on certain aspects of your life entirely.
3. Get Ready for the Day
When people think about remote work, they often think about working from home in their pajamas.
Some people can do this and be successful.
But for others, getting ready for work in the morning is a necessary ritual that prepares them for the day ahead.
Do you normally prepare for work in the morning and it helps boost your productivity? Then make it a point to shower and dress professionally every day the same way.
This won’t be necessary on days where you’re not video chatting with co-workers or clients. But it can go a long way in keeping your focused and productive when you work from home.
4. Dedicate One Area of Your Home to Remote Work
Do you know the biggest mistake people make when they start working from home? They work in bed or in front of the television.
And while it’s comfortable and fun, it won’t help you stay focused or avoid distractions. It will just extend your workday and make your professional life more stressful.
One of the biggest work from home tips is to separate your living and your working areas.
For example, if you have a room that goes relatively unused, put a desk in there and make it your workspace.
Live in a small apartment? Carve out an area in one of your rooms and make sure that you are only in that space to work.
When you do this, you prepare yourself for the transition over to your job. If you work from anywhere in your home, it will be harder to get into the mindset of working.
5. Keep Your Living and Working Area Clean
Working from home can make it easier for you to give up on certain things, especially cleaning. When you live and work at home, you may not see the need to clean every day.
Yet, keeping your space clean is one of the best basic productivity tricks at your disposal.
When you clear to neutral, you’re helping “future you” get started.
If you let everything become messy, it can be hard to stay focused on the task at hand.
Make sure to clean regularly so that this doesn’t become a significant problem over time.
6. Stay on Top of Your Mental Health
Doing everything from the comfort of your own home can be detrimental to your mental health.
If you never leave the house and make work your main priority, everything else falls to the wayside. And that can lead to becoming overwhelmed or burnt out.
All the tips above will help you to maintain a sense of normalcy during this transition.
But you also need to take care of your mental health. How? Stay connected with your loved ones. Pursue some activities you enjoy. And, if possible, get out of the house as much as possible.
Don’t let your mental health take a hit. Every aspect of your personal and professional life will be affected as well.
Put simply, it is best to do what you would do if you weren’t working from home.
Otherwise, you run the risk of falling behind in both work and your personal goals.
How to Work From Home Successfully
Alright, we’ve covered the work from home tips that focus on your personal life.
Now we have to discuss how you can get more out of your remote work experience.
Working from home can be difficult because it’s a new experience for many. Staying focused in your home can be much harder than staying focused in an office space.
So how can you successfully seize the day and meet your goals?
Here are some valuable tips on how you can stay focused while working from home.
1. Avoid Distractions Like the Plague
Working in the office makes it easy to avoid distractions. After all, you are in an environment of busy, productive people.
But when you work from home it is just you and your work. And that can make it easy to get wrapped up in something else unrelated to your work.
To be successful, put your phone on silent, keep your desk clean, and make sure that you only have tabs open for your work.
It’s also important that you avoid busy work or schedule it for later in the day.
For example, checking emails can feel productive, but it doesn’t get work done.
If you stay focused on your main projects during work hours, you are going to get far more done daily.
2. Download Productivity Tools That Make Remote Work Easier
There are plenty of tools out there that can boost your productivity levels.
Do you find it difficult to avoid distractions or stay on top of your tasks?
Then consider using tools such as:
- Asana or Trello for Project Management
- Hubstaff or Toggl for Time Tracking
- Web blockers that prevent you from using websites unrelated to your work
- Pomodoro timers or regular timers that help you block out your work
- Skype or Zoom to work with your coworkers and share your screen
- Google Docs to easily share documents with your team
For every problem, there is an app that has a solution.
If there are recurring problems lowering your productivity, find a tool that makes it easier to stay on track.
3. Schedule Time Blocks for Your Workday (and Work Regular Hours)
It’s no secret that sitting down in front of your computer for nine hours a day is not a productive way of getting work done.
Because you have the freedom to work from home, you also have the freedom to alter your schedule.
Try to split your workday into time blocks rather than working continuously.
For example, if you handle several big projects a day, you can split these projects into one hour sessions.
You can then set a timer and focus on that task for that period of time. When you reach the end of your session, take a break and refuel. This will help you prevent burnout and get more done throughout the day.
If one hour is too long, you can use a Pomodoro timer to achieve the same goal in a shorter period of time.
4. Take Breaks Regularly When Working From Home
Our brain only has so much power to dedicate to mentally-draining tasks. When we exceed that limit, we become far less effective in getting our tasks done. To make sure that we stay productive, we need to take regular breaks.
One great way to do this is to work in time blocks, as recommended above, and schedule a set amount of time to recharge.
For example, if you work for one hour, you may then want to take a break for 20 minutes. During this break, have a snack, play a game, exercise, or any activity that makes you feel re-energized.
Don’t attempt to get through all your work in one sitting.
Focus on your work for a set amount of time and take a break after you’ve accomplished your goal.
5. Look for Ways to Stay Motivated and Energetic
It can be hard to sit down for every workday feeling motivated and energized.
Sometimes, you’ll need to find creative ways to “hack” your motivation.
- Listening to energizing focus music
- Keeping a list of goals or motivators nearby
- Finding ways to make your job more fun
Whatever helps you get your job done more efficiently is a great thing to keep on hand for low energy days.
6. Find an Accountability Partner
While there are plenty of working from home tips online, most don’t cover motivation. And that’s vital to your WFH efforts.
Staying motivated at home can be a very difficult feat. Productivity tricks will certainly help, but you may need that extra push to get through your tasks.
Rather than relying on your will to get the job done, reach out to a friend or a colleague for help.
It’s the same idea as working in an office. An office keeps you focused and motivated because of all the people working there. So working with a friend or colleague can keep you on task as well.
Just make sure you are working with someone responsible who won’t keep you away from your work.
7. Don’t Take on More Than You Can Handle
Working from home can make some people feel as though they have more time to tackle work. As a result, they will sign up for a bunch of tasks or projects because they think they can take it on.
When you find that you can’t, these tasks then become responsibilities that you will have to tackle the next day.
Your to-do list then continues to grow with incomplete tasks as you lose the energy needed to tackle those tasks.
Taking on more than you can handle will only lead to burnout and overwhelm.
Be realistic with your workload. Only take on what you could handle if you were working in your typical workspace.
8. Establish Boundaries With Family and Friends, If Necessary
Living alone makes it easy to avoid distractions. But when you live with others who may not work from home or need you throughout the day can make it harder to stay focused.
If you have family or friends who distract you, set boundaries with them.
Let them know that they can only communicate with you during certain parts of the day.
This makes it so that you can complete Deep Work uninterrupted and establish a regular schedule to get things done. Then, when you finish your work, you can answer any questions or solve any problems they may have.
If you want to boost your productivity and improve your focus while working from home, this is something that you must take care of as soon as possible.
Otherwise, you run the risk of having family and friends think that you have an open-door policy.
9. Communicate With Your Team As Much As Possible
Working from home does come with its disadvantages.
For example, communication can be difficult to maintain when your whole team works remotely.
If you don’t speak with your team often, you can complete tasks incorrectly or leave the whole team open to delays and unfinished projects.
So find ways to improve communication with your team. Schedule regular meetings. Reach out to team members several times throughout the day. Or even work on projects as a group while live streaming your screens.
If you want to avoid unforeseen issues, keep communication open with your team.
10. Set Daily and Weekly Goals
Whether you are an employee or a manager, all professionals need goals to ensure that they are making progress in their role.
At the end of the day, week, or month, take some time to sit down and assess your work and productivity. I do my weekly review every Friday.
Is there something that you didn’t complete? Or something that you need to make sure you do regularly? Is there a certain project threshold you need to be meeting?
Sit down and figure out what your goals are and how you can meet those and track your progress as you go.
If you aim to constantly do better, you will constantly improve and achieve success.
Remote work can certainly be new and unfamiliar territory for an everyday employee.
But with the work from home tips provided above, you can thrive as a remote worker.
If you want to be successful working from home, all you have to do is:
- Separate Your Work and Home Life. Create routines and schedules for both your workday and your personal activities. This will allow you to stay on top of both aspects of your life without allowing either to interrupt each other.
- Stay on Top of Your Health and Well-Being. Eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, and live life like you usually do. This will help you be happy and successful in all areas of your life.
- Avoid Distractions. Remote work can be tricky if you are surrounded by potential distractions. Set boundaries with people and technology. Create a space in your home where you can get your work done every day. And work in time blocks to maintain your focus when you need to get a task done.
- Set Yourself Up for Success. You will only have the work from home experience you want if you plan accordingly. Establish goals ahead of time. Set up systems that will help you reach those goals and track your progress. And do everything in your power to tackle any issues that may arise.