Hey girl, hey, I know that life is a little crazy right now. Many of us have schedules that have been derailed, events cancelled, kids home from school, and office jobs that have been turned into remote jobs. At first it probably seemed slightly like a dream come true to be able to work from home, but then the reality of being home ALL day set it. You may no longer be feeling so excited about working from home. You may be feeling overwhelmed, if you are like me you are probably snacking a lot more than usual, your kids may be distracting you with their every little need. Some of you might even be learning how to navigate digital learning or homeschooling for your kids. Even if you don't have kids, you are probably still finding yourself getting sucked into social media or Netflix. There may also be some of you reading this well accustomed to working from home, but still find yourself searching for ways to maximize productivity during your day.
I have compiled a list of tips that may help you feel more in control of your day while working from home and I really hope implementing them helps you keep a little sanity and motivation during your day.
I have been working from home for the better part of five years now. I am certainly not an expert and I definitely am not immune to distractions. If I am being entirely honest with you, sometimes I feel like the longer I work from home, the more of a procrastinator I become. Which really can become aggravating to me because I am not inherently a procrastinator. For example, I told myself I was going to write this blog post on Monday…and friend, it is now Saturday. Ugh, I have let that weigh on me all week, but this has been an incredibly difficult week of adjustment for me. Having Addison home on quarantine has been great, but trying to maintain my work day while getting her to complete her school work has put a wrench in my typical day. Keeping her fed and entertained is a full time job.
Allowing some grace during times of immense change is really important. Its something I struggle with but it can really help lighten the pressures you place on yourself. So make sure you don’t set the expectations of your day too high and make sure to give yourself some grace.
1. Keep a detailed Schedule/Planner
Keeping a planner is something I have done since high school. Personally, I still prefer an actual date book that I can write in and manually check off lists. Some of you may prefer your electronic calendar on your phone or tablet. Whichever method works for you, just make sure that you are keeping it updated at least daily. Having your weeks planned out and knowing ahead of time what’s on your agenda will help keep you on track and more productive over all. It will also help to ensure that you don’t overbook yourself.
2. Make Time for a Workout
I know how cliché it sounds, but working out daily is so important to keep you productive. It will help you feel more energized and is great for overall mind health as well. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 30 minute walk or a round of Cross Fit, just make sure that you get your heart rate up at least once a day for at least 30 minutes. For me, a morning work out after I drop Addison off at school is the best time to squeeze it in on my way back home. If I put it off, I usually don’t get it done. Just make sure that when you schedule exercise into your day, that you pick a time that is realistic and that you feel confident you can stick to.
3. Get up Shower, Get Dresses/Put on Shoes
This is probably one of the most important steps of the day for me. If I don’t start my day showered, dressed, with make-up on, I am not nearly as productive. If I stay in jammies too long, or don’t get a shower in, I tend to be more grumpy. There is something about waking up and starting your day clean and put together. Get up and “get ready for work” just as if you had an office job you had to show up to. You are going to feel refreshed and ready to knock things off your list. I also tend to be more productive with shoes on. It may be in my head, but give it a try and see if you agree.
4. Keep a Designated Work Space
Set up a designated area for your home “office” or workspace. Make sure it’s a well-lit space, organized, and maybe even close to a window. Make sure that you have a comfy chair to sit in, ample desktop space, and all of your daily office essentials close by.
5. Prioritize Your List of Daily Tasks
Once you are dressed and ready to start your day after your morning work out and shower, sit down in your workspace and have a morning meeting with yourself. Make a list of all the things you need to accomplish for the day and prioritize them in order of importance. Starting your day with intention and a clear plan of what your day looks like will set you up for the most successful and productive day!
6. Time Block Breaks, Snacks, and LunchOne of the easiest ways to get distracted working from home is access to social media and snacks in the kitchen. One of the best ways I have found to overcome these distractions is to set time blocks. I will schedule in snack breaks and social media breaks into my day. These are things that I know I am going to do, so instead of trying to eliminate them all together, I just allow them into my day in moderation. I recommend setting timers/alarms to let you know when its time for a snack/lunch break. Only allow yourself a snack/lunch at those times. Also, if you buy junk food, you will eat junk food. Stock your kitchen with healthy foods. You will be so glad you did.
Same thing goes for social media. Set a timer for a few minutes of scrolling and then get back to work. It’s also a good idea to schedule in time for house chores like switching the laundry, unloading the dishwasher. House chores can become all consuming while being home all day. Just make sure not to spend your entire workday trying to clean the house. Make separate time in the week for that. Focus on keeping your workspace clean and organized and leave everything else for outside of the “work day”.
7. Make a Banging Playlist
It can become way too quiet working from home, especially if you are alone. Create an awesome playlist that will keep you motivated and focused. Whatever type of music that is for you, get it playing on repeat! Right now I bounce back and forth between Ed Sheeran, Lauren Daigle, and Classical Instrumental music. White noise is also a good option, if music is distracting to you.
8. Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is so important, but it’s something I have to remind myself to do. Working from home, its really easy for me to forget to drink water. Grab your favorite water bottle or cup and keep it filled all day! Drink. Drink. Drink. It will also help you stay fuller and not crave as many snacks too!
9. Get a Change of Scenery
I get cabin fever very easily. I am an extrovert by nature, so working from home can be a struggle for me in the social department. I love talking with people and I love getting out and about. As I am sure most of us have recently experienced, being at home for long periods of time can feel incredibly isolating. So, make sure that you set up you work space by a window, take your laptop to the porch and work outside, schedule lunch meeting with friends, take a conference call outside, or just schedule certain days of the week to work from a local coffee shop or café. Switching things up throughout the day really helps keep you stay focused and will help you not feel trapped inside one small space of your house.
10. Set Daily Alarms
Sometimes the day can get away from me, I will get so into what I am doing that I easily lose track of time. I can’t tell you how many days I have left the house rushing to make school pick-up on time. There is nothing worse than feeling rushed or behind schedule. I highly recommend setting daily alarms to help you keep track of time and make sure you aren’t going to be late or miss any appointments. To me, it’s also one of the easiest ways that I feel in control of my schedule.
*BONUS Tip: Charge your Devices at Night
I don’t know who needs to hear this, but charge your electronic devices at night, so you are charged and ready for business each morning. I am terrible at remembering to do this. You can also set a daily reminder to go off at night before you go to bed to remind you. I also try to have extra charging cords strategically placed in my workspaces just in case of a battery emergency!
Life brings on new challenges everyday and we all face our own types of distractions. You are not alone in this and I hope these tips help you find a way or multiple ways to feel more in control of your day! You are stronger and more focused than the distractions around you, and remember to start your day with intention and hustle for the pretty things! You got this!