Guest post by Kerry Thomas, Owner, Conquer the Chaos, LLC
It sounds easy to roll out of bed and report to work in your pajamas. You don’t have to worry about a commute, interacting with other humans, packing a lunch, or any other daily tasks that interfere with your work.
However, when you are the only thing holding yourself accountable it’s harder to stay disciplined. Some of us work too much, forgetting to take care of ourselves and take necessary breaks. Others get distracted, watching TV or hanging out with family while shirking responsibilities.
Wherever you fall on that spectrum, here are 5 steps to establish a routine and avoid mental clutter while working from home.
Step 1: Mentally go to work
Although you aren’t reporting to a physical office, an important aspect of establishing a remote routine is putting yourself into an “office mindset.” If your living space is large enough, it’s great to have an office where you can shut the door and disconnect from your family/home life.
However, even if you are working on your laptop from your living room couch, you can still go through the process of getting yourself in the mindset to work. A good place to start is maintaining a morning routine. Do your workout, get fully dressed, eat breakfast, or other elements of your normal morning.
This separates you from the leisurely “day at home” and ensures that you begin your workday as productively as possible.
Step 2: Schedule your day
Remember: what gets scheduled gets done. While working from home it’s all too easy to take a break to walk the dog or run upstairs to start a load of laundry.
If you know you will have personal obligations during your workday, schedule them into your day as break time and fully disconnect from work during that time. That way your work and personal life won’t bleed into each other, and your breaks from work will still feel productive.
Step 3: But…Live life
Scheduling your day is important so that personal time doesn’t bleed into work time, but also so that work time doesn’t overtake your life. If you associate your entire house with your work life you will find it difficult to relax in your home.
During one of your scheduled breaks, leave your workspace and watch a video, write poetry, play with your pets, or anything that is a positive recreational activity and takes your mind off work. When you intentionally return to work you will be more productive.
Step 4: Connect with coworkers
An easy way to increase productivity and stay focused while at home is staying in touch with coworkers. You can still build meaningful relationships remotely. Try video calls, messaging apps, or even email exchanges.
It’s important to feel connected to your work and to remind yourself that you are a part of something bigger. These relationships with coworkers provide vital socialization as well, as we know it’s far too easy to sit at home in your pajamas and avoid social interaction.
If you work for yourself, find a friend who is knowledgeable about the business you’re doing and exchange ideas. Simply having someone to talk to about your work will help you feel more engaged.
Step 5: Be honest with yourself
Even if you create a routine, build a workspace at home, and take meaningful breaks throughout your workday, you still might experience the lazy day doldrums from time to time. The most important aspect of working from home is to be honest with yourself.
Are you getting everything accomplished? Are you keeping work and home life separate? Are you finding time to eat nourishing meals? Do you feel happy and healthy? Be honest with yourself and challenge yourself to build a successful environment.