Strategies + Routines to WORK FROM HOME Effectively
The whole world just got pushed into working from home due to Coronavirus… So we figured we’d share everything we’ve learned about working remotely over the past few months! Here are our secrets for how to successfully work remotely.
Recently a lot of us got pushed into this form of home-situation, not by choice. Like many of you all of a sudden, we found ourselves working remotely. So writing about how to work from home efficiently and productively we want to pay forward and share the information, tips and tricks that we learnt, to help you succeed while you are working remotely. Remember, we are all in this together.
It’s our goal that by the end of this article you will leave with the tools to end your workday feeling accomplished, feeling like you have nothing left to give for the day, so you can leave your work at your desk.
In a rush? Check our video summary of this article:
How to stay ORGANISED
This is your foundation for working from home effectively. It’s so easy to get distracted when you are at home. This is your safe place, this is your place when you relax, this is your place where you spend time with your family. This has now been transformed into our workspace and it’s really easy to get those lines blurred.
It’s either easy to go one way and just work all day and feel like you never accomplished enough and you just have to keep going and there is never enough time to get anything done. Or you can go the opposite way and get lazy and spend too much time with the TV or procrastinate and all of a sudden it’s 8 pm.
Let’s talk about how to stay organised and motivated so you can have a productive workday. If you are organised and have a clear schedule when you are working remotely you will be more productive. So plan out your day, ideally the night before. Look at the big list of to-dos, take a look at it the night before and plan out your next day. Write down things in your planner physically so you have something to check off when you accomplish tasks the next day.
When you write something down you are much more likely to get it done then if you just type it into your phone. There is a much bigger sense of responsibility that you feel in this way. So, use a planner, write down your daily tasks the night before, so that you are ready to just jump right in when you start working from home the next day.
So we are now organised, we have our schedule and plan for the day. Let’s talk about:
How to stay MOTIVATED when you are working remotely
Staying motivated when you are working remotely can be challenging. No doubt about it. We have a couple of strategies that will help you to be able to stay motivated and get you started on the right foot.
Our first recommendation is to establish a good morning routine and this involves a little bit of mindset work.
We’ll discuss mindset later in this article.
When you start your day right you get your mindset right for the rest of your day and that includes your workday and then when you are off of work, with your family or your friends or whoever it is that you see after work.
Everything starts in the morning. So establishing a good routine is so crucial. That’s what we found. Many of us at Rox Event Staff love working out in the morning or go for a walk around the neighbourhood. Get moving in the morning so you can wake your mind up and get your mindset right so that you can stay motivated throughout your day.
That’s just one tip that works for us. We’re sure there are more out there but it all comes back to the same idea that establishing good morning routine will help you get into the right mindset to stay motivated so whatever works for you, whether it’s working out or getting moving in the morning, make sure that you establish that morning routine. It will help you out.
Our second tip: GET DRESSED. It sounds silly but there is a certain psychology that is wrapped up in the clothes that you put on for your day. If you roll out of bed walk to your couch and wearing the same t-shirt and trousers you felt at sleep the day before you WILL be less productive.
Does it mean you have to get dresses up like you are going to an office? No. But we recommend changing your clothes. Sometimes it would be ok to wear some yoga pants but don’t do it every day. It will affect your mindset and your productivity. We promise. When you get ready for your day it shifts something in your mind. It’s almost like you respect yourself more so you are going to put out better work.
Prime your brain to get work done throughout your day by getting dressed in the morning.
Another way to make sure you are staying motivated is to have a designated workspace. That is not your couch or your bed. this is very important. This is crucial because your brain associates different locations with different feelings and emotions and productivity levels.
If you are consistently working in your bed your brain will start associating bed with work and you are going to have a hard time sleeping, which is not going to help your productivity levels for sure.
Conversely, if you do a lot of work on the couch when you finally want to unplug for the day and hang up your laptop and quit working it’s going to be harder to relax on that couch and watch Netflix with your family because you’ve been working and your brain is in work mode because you’re on the couch.
So that’s one reason why it’s important to have your designated workspace because it allows you to draw a line and set a boundary for when you’re working from home. After all, it’s almost like you step into your office and then you can leave your office. And be present in all the other things happening around the house when you’re done working for the day.
If you have any tips that you would like to share with everyone who’s reading this article please add those to the comments below, so that we can all help each other out during this time.
So you’ve established your routine, you’re getting dressed for your day, you have a designated workspace. Now to stay focused and you don’t burn out it’s really important for you to set boundaries around how much you are working from home. So have a set time to start working from home and time you’re going to clock out. Plain and simple.
How to work PRODUCTIVELY and EFFICIENTLY from home
Now that you are now organised, motivated. Now we need to talk about how to work efficiently and productively when working remotely.
We have really exciting news for you: when it comes to being efficient you are already ahead of the game if you are working remotely because if you cut out your one or two hours you spend commuting from the office you already giving yourself a gift of time. Congratulations! You already are more efficient!
Ok, let’s give you something you can use now. Here’s some actual strategy you can use to work efficiently when working remotely.
We love to use the time blocking strategy: this entails taking a block of time and only working on one specific project during that block of time. Put your devices, your phones, your i-pads all the things that send you notifications that send you the news updates, that send you text messages and Facebook and Instagram……put all these things away. You don’t need them during this block of time.
So let’s say: you are going to spend this block from 8.30 to 9 am working on a blog post and during that time you don’t answer emails, you don’t answer texts, you put your phone face down. Sometimes you can turn on do not disturb mode.
Whatever that looks like for you in your work apply the time blocking method to the different projects that you have going on. Any block longer than 2 hours may cause your productivity to lower after that amount of time. So that’s when you may need a break. You will find whatever works best for you.
So we discussed efficiency and how you can achieve that with time blocking. Let’s analyse how to work productively when working remotely.
Stanford did a study that showed that productivity increases by 13% when employees work remotely. So you are already getting off on the right foot. Let’s talk about some strategy to use that you can implement to make sure that you stay productive when working from home.
The best way to make sure that you are staying productive throughout your day is to stay organised. We already touched on this above:
- to-do list
- checking things off your list
- writing things down
All those things play into this. But we think it’s important to touch on it again now that we are discussing productivity, because if you can stay organised it will help you be that much more productive and maintain that you are staying on track throughout your day.
When working from home DO NOT OVER PLAN or OVER COMMIT
Big tip: when you are making your list DON’T over plan, make an achievable list. Don’t do this to yourself.
It sets you for failure, you are less productive because you are worried about all the things that are on your list that you are not getting in to. Don’t over plan, don’t put more items on your to-do list then are realistic for you to get done in one day. If any of you also struggles with this please let us know in the comments below with a “me too!”.
Our next tip for being productive we found makes the biggest difference in the whole world for us is to make sure you take breaks. This kind of goes back to what we were saying above about time blocking. You have to identify how long your time of productivity is and when it starts to slow down. That’s when you take a break.
Normally it can be between 30mins of working up to 2 hours. Make sure you give yourself a break. It could be 5 mins, 10 mins, 30 mins. Go eat your lunch, but it’s really important to take breaks throughout your workday.
There’s a lot of studies that show that breaks throughout a workday can increase creativity levels and productivity levels. So make sure you give yourself breaks, schedule them throughout your day so that you can be more productive.
How to work from home WITH CHILDREN
Before we move on to the mindset portion of this article, let’s talk about if you are working from home with children.
You can do this!
Depending on the age of your kids you have to handle this in different ways. The first thing you have to do is identify and set your boundaries and expectations early. So let your kids know what your working hours are going to be. Designate those hours and stick to it but make sure that you are setting time aside during your day to connect with them.
Especially now that you are all under the same roof and that you are all staying at home together. You will bump into each other or they will come in and knock on your door and ask “Mum/Dad, what are you doing? Let’s hang out!”
So if you set those boundaries early on and your expectations early on it will set you up for a more successful workday. And they will notice that time that you take to make sure that you connect with them throughout the day.
So time blocking is very effective when it comes to working from home with kids because you can say “I’m working for the next two hours, I will see you then and we will spend time together when the clock hands are in this position…” if they are very young.
Time block for two hours, work on your project, you are done and you connect with your kids and then you go back to work and you do your next project and so on until you are done with your day. And you are super productive!
And your kids feel seen, heard, and you maintain that great family bond.
So what if you have kids that can’t stay with themselves for a couple of hours. Let’s say your child is 1. You can’t leave him/her in a room. It’s just not responsible.
If you have a partner you can work in shifts. For example, your workday can start when his or her workday ends.
Until now we covered:
- how to work productively when working from home
- how to stay organised
- how to not overcommitting or overplanning
- how to set realistic goals
- how to take breaks or work in shifts with your partner
How to keep your MINDSET right when working from home to BE EFFECTIVE
Let’s jump in now talking about mindset. How to get your mindset right so that you don’t go crazy working from home.
Your mindset is so important when it comes to working from home. You got to be confident to put out your best work and sometimes it’s hard to be confident when you are working remotely because your only human interaction is with yourself. As we mentioned above get dressed, get ready so if you receive a zoom call request you won’t have to rush to your wardrobe and think about what to wear and have no time to think about it.
That gives you a prepared and confident mindset when you start your day. Get dressed, get ready first thing in the morning. In addition to setting yourself up to be confident for your day let’s also talk about something fundamental in your workday: mental health.
See also: Mindfulness for Event Professionals
It is very easy to feel isolated when working from home so we recommend scheduling virtual interactions with your coworkers or with family members. There are great resources out there. You can use Zoom for free, you can Facetime for free, but set virtual lunch dates or virtual coffee dates so that you can maintain that level of human interaction and you don’t feel so isolated and alone. YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN THIS. We are all in this together!
See also: 4 Formats of Virtual Events Online
See also: Virtual Meetings: 53 Fantastic Tools, Ideas, Tips and where to find them.
Another thing we touched at the beginning of this article that it’s important for your mental health is having your designated start and stop time for your workday. This can do tricky things to your brain if you are constantly in work mode.
With Rox Event Staff team, for example, some of us noticed a pattern over the past few months.
Did this happen to you too? Please let us know in the comments below.
Some of us noticed a pattern where if we are just working from the second we wake up we feel stressed or we feel like we have to continue working and we are not productive enough even though we worked 12 hours in a day. It’s really easy to fall into that mindset when working remotely because you don’t have that boundary that is set when you are going to an office and you get to leave your work at the office.
Therefore, it’s really important to set these boundaries for yourself so you can set yourself up for a successful working environment at your home.
Wrapping up mindset, maintain a confident approach to your workday, get ready in the morning and check-in with yourself about your mental health. Combat that isolation, schedule virtual lunch dates or coffee dates and make sure that you have a start and stop time that is a reasonable expectation so that you can feel like you’ve had a productive day and you can put it away.
THE BOTTOM LINE
In this article we’ve covered how to:
- stay organised and motivated
- work efficiently and productively
- keep your mindset right when you are working remotely
To write this article, we took inspiration from this video.
Thank you for reading. If this information was helpful for you or someone that you know would benefit from any of these tips please share this article with them. Remember we are all in this together.
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