Today I’ll be talking about my experience working from home, which has become the new norm for most office workers around the world.
For digital workers like myself, working from home is nothing new, but it’s a novel experience doing it because there’s no other choice, instead of occasionally.
Another difference is, those who are also parents are being joined by our children who are doing home school.
So I’m going to give you my three recommendations to maximize your productivity and don’t get overwhelmed when working from home while keeping a balance between your personal life and your work. You’ll notice there are similarities between them and they’re connected most of the time. Let’s get to it.
Number 1: Make yourself at home
I know you have to work, but this doesn’t mean you have to be uncomfortable. It’s your home. The trick is to find the right balance. You don’t want to enjoy yourself too much that you end up asleep on the couch.
Set the right environment. The right mood. The right smells and sounds. Having a suitable set of headphones or earphones will help. I recently bought the Air Pods Pro, and it was a game-changer, I use them mostly when I’m alone and definitely help.
Aromatic candles, a couple of plants, and keeping clean will also help. If you eat or have to clean a dish or dispose of trash, do it at the moment. The cleaner your work environment is, the more clear your mind will be to work.
I always keep healthy snacks and drinks in the fridge for the occasional enjoyment. You don’t have to be eating all the time, but a snack from time to time is not too bad.
Number 2: If you’re healthy, you’re more focused
When I talk about health, I mean mental and physical. Both are important.
Let’s start with your mental health. Working from home requires being able to focus when needed and not get distracted to be productive. If you’re not productive, you’ll probably feel stressed.
And then, there can be pressure to be productive, which can also cause stress, it’s a dilemma.
So your efforts should focus on creating the right environment to be peaceful, to find your “zone” where you’re the most productive.
If you can get a pleasant view, whether is a window to the outside, or a wall with nice pictures of your loved ones. I live on the third floor and having a view helps me to not feel locked inside. I’m more of an outdoor person and I need to have an open window looking at the wide-open space or sky.
Depending on your line of work, turning off certain notifications can help you focus on other tasks. In my case, since I’m a business owner, I have to answer phone calls from new potential clients, current clients and also reply to emails, and before I can hire help it’s going to be like that for a while.
I deactivated the notifications for new emails and I schedule myself every 30 minutes or every hour to see the new emails and reply to them. If I don’t do it this way, I’ll hear a bell randomly every time I get a new email and I’m easy to get distracted.
It’s very important to stretch, stand up, or walk from time to time, don’t fall into the trap of spending long hours seated in your chair, will not help your health in the long term. I guess this is why I’ve never considered myself a hardcore programmer, even though I know and I can and I actually code my client’s websites, I focus more on edits, maintenance, and changes requests.
Don’t forget to take breaks, don’t force yourself, and learn to listen to your body and mind. Stand up, stretch, walk, go to the restroom, talk to your family, then get ready to go back to work with batteries recharged.
Invest in a good chair, it will do wonders for your back and overall posture. Also, a good keyboard and mouse. I use the Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad from Apple and I couldn’t be happier.
Part of staying healthy is getting a good amount of sleep. Is easy to change your sleeping habits when you work from home, going to sleep late, or getting naps in the middle of the afternoon. Pay attention to this and try to have the same sleep routine every single day.
Number 3: Don’t forget your loved ones
And last but definitely not least. Don’t forget the real reason you’re doing what you’re doing.
Setting boundaries and expectations with your kids, your spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend will make things easier for everyone.
It all depends on who you’re living with. If you have a spouse and little children, maybe you can get help or take turns if you both work from home.
If you’re alone with a small child like myself, explaining things in terms they can understand will help. I have my child doing school four days of the week. I live in a one-bedroom apartment so we both gotta be careful not intruding in the other’s calls.
If my son wants to be in the bedroom, I’d work in the living room, and if he wants to work in the living room, I’ll stay in the bedroom. I’m flexible in his needs and I can move around depending on what he wants. If he’s comfortable doing school, he can enjoy it more, so he stays focused, and by consequence seeing him happy and focused helps me stay focused on my work.
When I take a break, I check on him and help with homework or questions. It’s just a matter of finding the right rhythm.
In the end, our jobs are only means to take care of our loved ones. It’s pointless if we are productive at work and have problems with our family.
Working from home can be an amazing experience if you pay attention to yourself, your environment, and your family. Finding the right balance will translate into days of amazing productivity, but also incredible memories.