You may (or may not) know that I spent 2 years freelancing and working from home before accepting my full time position as a social media specialist for a non-profit organization in Atlanta. I feel very blessed to have been offered this job when I was, they supported me through my surgery and are now allowing our team to work 100% remote due to concerns surrounding COVID-19. I have seen so much support for my new crochet patterns as well which has been very inspiring so THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart to all of you out there choosing to support small and local businesses, artists and makers during this crazy time!
I had just started getting used to my commute to work when we hightailed it home to start working remotely. Being at home everyday can feel like both a blessing and a curse… I truly do love having more time at home but working a full time job from home can be tough. Prioritizing time and not “over-working” myself has been a challenge as well as dealing with low-motivation days. When I’m in the office it is easy to turn off and separate work-time from home and personal-time; now the lines are blurred. Luckily, each day is a new day and a chance to try new things to help make working from home that much easier and more manageable. There are SO many tips & tricks out there but I wanted to share some of the ones that have worked for me and kept me inspired during this time!
Have a Morning Routine
Every morning I wake up and have a “start the day” routine. I wash my face, brush my teeth, get dressed, make my coffee, feed the dogs and spend a few minutes writing in my journal or reading a book before getting started on work related things. I try my very best not to touch my phone during this time and stay focused on allowing my body and brain to wake up and get kick started without the distraction of emails and notifications. Staying in PJ’s is tempting, I’ll admit, but it really makes me feel less productive and put together. I may not dress up as much as I would to go into the office but the simple act of changing clothes and getting ready for the day each morning lets me know it is time to get moving and get to work while also making me feel like I am still taking care of myself during this time.
Have Set Work Hours
This took some time to really enforce this myself but I usually start working between 9 and 9:30 am each morning. I’m sure to set my alarm to give myself an hour or more for my morning routine so I never feel rushed to “get to work” or start checking emails from bed. I want to have time to wake up and soak up the morning sun before sitting down to start on my work tasks. I take at least a short lunch break and work on something non-work related during that time and am careful not to keep working past 6 pm. Some days this is tougher than others but it’s actually gotten easier the longer I’ve been home. Be sure to schedule your work hours and make them known to your coworkers- including your family now that you are working from home! It may be difficult to start out if you have not been doing this already, but after some time and practice it can be a much healthier situation for everyone involved!
Go Over Your To-Do List Each Morning
Before you jump right into work, be sure to make yourself a WRITTEN to-do list or go through the one you already have to prioritize it for the day. I like to go through my list from the day before and mark each task by priority: 1) complete immediately 2) complete by end of day 3) can be put off until tomorrow if needed. These designations help me stay on task and get the most important things done (usually first thing while I am feeling most productive!) and know that if I don’t get to everything, it’s okay! This is a KEY step for me when working from home! Even if you know what needs to be done, it is super important to write it down, this could be on a notepad, planner or even an app on your phone- but write them down! Go through your task list each morning to make sure to are updating and prioritizing this list for the new day!
Have a Dedicated Workspace
For me, it is important to be comfortable when sitting at the computer for long periods of time. I read that it is important to have a dedicated workspace but for me, it is important to have a few work spaces in my home that I can easily use throughout the day. I have a nice office chair and desk in my living room that is great but I also have a standing desk in the basement that I can use if I want to stand and move around a bit more. I also like to work from my dining room table some mornings because the light coming in through the windows is nice and calming and the dining room chairs are a good break for my back (they make me sit up nice and straight). Moving around to different locations helps keep me engaged and motivated but it’s important that these work spaces are functional and allow you to have the space and comfort you need throughout the day as you are working. It is also important to “clean up” these work spaces at the end of the day to keep work things from cluttering up your home space. When I take my laptop to the dining room table, I am sure to pack it up and move it back to my office desk when I am finished in that space. When it comes to this tip, you have to find what works for you but don’t be afraid to change things up and use a little trial and error!
This is super important and something it is easy to get caught up and forget about. I try to get up and move around after completing 2 or 3 tasks on my to-do list or every hour or so. I take this time to stretch, get some water (or more coffee!), walk out on to the porch, check the garden, or change over the laundry, anything to get moving and out of the chair. I am the worst at not taking a full hour for lunch, especially at home so I try to take my time making lunch and use that time while eating to do something non work related like reading, journaling, blogging or spending time outside. It is important for your health (mental, emotional and physical) to take breaks! You will feel better and even more motivated and productive by doing so! Need a super quick break? Stand up, do a few simple stretches, sit back down, close your eyes and take 5-10 deep breaths, counting to 4 during each inhale, holding at the top for 4 counts, breathing out for 4 counts and holding out at the bottom of that breath for 4 counts. This is a great way to calm your nerves if you are feeling stressed and just take a quick “time-out”.
If you have been working from home, I would love to hear your secrets for success! What are some of the things that you do to stay motivated and productive? Do you practice any of the ideas listed above? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time, stay safe and healthy!
x The Pink Sheep x