When I started working from home about a few months ago, I thought I had it all under control.
I’m an extrovert, I don’t mind spending time by myself, I love my flat, my internet connection is decent – what could possibly go wrong eh?
Well, as it turns out, quite a lot.
After about a day and a half, I started feeling trapped in my own house.
I completely failed to anticipate how hard the transition from a lively co-working space to a room with a view of my couch and not much else would be.
I felt lonely. I missed tea rounds and having people to bounce ideas off. I missed Mondays that felt like Mondays and Fridays that felt like Fridays. I missed having colleagues and a work environment that didn’t include any washing up/dirty laundry/vaccuum cleaner.
It was tough. I cried a lot.
But I found ways to make it work, so I thought it’d share my top tips for working from home in case you work from home too, or you’re determined to slay the uni work game this year!
1. Structure is key.
The most difficult thing when working from home is to find the motivation to get things done without getting distracted by a billion different chores that will inevitably find their way into your field of vision.
If you’re anything like me, focusing on anything when you can see piles of dirty dishes and mountains of to-be-ironed clothes from your desk chair is a very difficult thing to do, unless you create some strong work structure for yourself and stick to it.
What works best for me is to put together a weekly goal list on Monday morning, and use it to create daily schedules.
I like to include a basic timeline for each task and breaks / chore time inthere as well so I don’t get sidetracked by all the other stuff in my environment.
2. Shower and get dressed.
I’m currently not the best at this and most days, I work in my pyjamas and slippers.
But I found that on the days I do manage to get showered and dressed and ready before 10am, my focus and productivity levels are so much higher.
I suppose the whole ‘getting ready’ thing helps my brain going from its sleepy state to its work mode and it truly works a treat!
3. Find yourself a comfortable seat.
I know, I know, the soft, squidgy sofa is difficult to get away from.
But -trust me on that one- it really isn’t a good idea: it will ruin your back.
Plus I find that sitting straight also has a positive impact on my productivity levels.
So, yeah – no back pain and taking over the world – DEAL!
4. Stay hydrated.
Is it just me or is it extremely difficult to remember to drink your 8 glasses of water a day when it’s just you and yourself all day long, with nobody offering tea every twenty minutes?
Hydration being your brain’s BFF, counteracting is a necessity.
Feeling up a large water bottle and putting it on your desk first thing in the morning will do the trick – especially when complemented with a few strategically brewed cups of tea if/when you remember it!
5. Get out of the house.
Whether it’s a 10 min lunchtime stroll, taking yourself for lunch to a nearby café, working from your nearest coffee shop for a few hours every once in a while or planning a night out-out with your friends, you need to make it a priority to get out of the house.
Because no matter how long your to-do list is, nothing, NOTHING will do your brain as much good as a little fresh air and a change of environment.
6. Find a background soundtrack that works for you.
Nothing makes you feel more lonely that complete silence. Hence the need to find a background soundtrack that helps keep you motivated to get things done.
Some people swear by classical music. Others prefer upbeat soundtracks.
My boyfriend can’t work without old school rock.
Me? I’m a TV background junkie. I like being talked to when I work, and boy, has our Netflix subscription proved itself a good investment since I started working from home!
To each their own, eh?
7. Plan lunch.
Having access to your own kitchen, complete with all the ingredients, all the condiments and all the equipment, is both a blessing and a curse.
A blessing obviously because OH THE POSSIBILITIES!
And a curse because if you’re not careful, all those possibilities will result in you still pondering what you should have for lunch at 3pm.
A problem you can avoid altogether by planning what you’ll have for lunch ahead of time.
And, if you’re ever at a loss, things on toast (eggs! meatballs! peanut butter! etc.) are always a good idea.
8. Put make up on.
When you know you have an especially intense day ahead of you, put some make up on.
I can’t quite explain why it is (probably something to do with self-confidence), but having a full face of make up on makes me feel like the kind of super woman that can take over the world.
9. Make the most of the perks.
Because as tough as this whole working from home is, there definitely are some silver linings.
So make the most of the working hour flexibility and the possibility to pick up your dry cleaning during your lunch break.
Take advantage of the opportunity to go to the post office/hairdresser/doctor outside of rush hours and skipping commuting altogether.
And all in all, enjoy things as they come.
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