If you’re among the 40% of Americans working remotely during this pandemic, or you were already working from home before it hit, no doubt you know what a struggle it can be on some days to stay productive. From kids and pets that need food or attention to social media distractions, it can be a challenge to meet deadlines when you’re not physically in the office.
It is possible to keep up with your workload without getting stressed when you’re working from home, but you do need to be proactive about it. Here are our remote work tips for staying productive, even if you work in your PJs.
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Designate a Work Space
Create a home office space where you can work comfortably and quietly without interruptions or at least, only have to deal with a minimum of them. If it has to be in a room with a door you can lock, so be it. You may need to put your foot down and tell the kids the other family members that when the door is closed, you’re not to be disturbed—whether it means you’re on a Zoom call with coworkers or you just need to concentrate on a project.
Most importantly, your workspace needs to be comfortable. Make sure your chair is supportive and adjusted to the proper height and that your laptop sits at a height that won’t induce back or shoulder strain. Make it personal, just like you would at work. Maybe dress up the space with a plant and a favorite photo of you and your family. Keep this area tidy and organized.
Place a charging station on your desk so your computer and phone will always stay juiced up. Clean your desk every Friday so you’ll be ready the following week to find important job-related paperwork and materials. Keep your laptop files organized as well so you’ll always know where to find the attachment needed for an email.
But Don’t Be Afraid to Shake It Up
If other household members aren’t an issue, there is no rule that says you can’t work from your kitchen, basement, porch, or outdoors. Or you may want to take the laptop to your favorite coffee shop for a change of scenery (and your favorite latte.) Taking your work to new surroundings may just spark the inspiration and creativity you need to get work done.
Stay On Top Of Your Calendar
You shouldn’t abandon your to-do list just because you’re not working where your boss can physically walk over to your desk. Stay on top of your to-do list and be mindful of when tasks are due by updating your calendar regularly.
If you need extra help, apps like Asana and Basecamp can help you and your coworkers complete projects step-by-step and communicate with each other more easily.
Stick to a Morning Routine
It’s tempting to sleep in an hour late when you’re working remotely and fire up the computer around noontime or so. But if you previously worked in an office and your employer expects you to be accessible starting around 9 AM, you really need to stick to your regular morning routine.
Try to get enough sleep and stay healthy by eating a balanced diet and incorporating stress-relieving activities such as exercise into your daily life. This article has more tips on staying well when you’re working from home.
Set an alarm and have a deadline for when you need to be showered and ready to go to respond to work emails. Designate a half-hour for lunch every day and stick to this timeframe as well, so that you won’t be rushing later in the day to get everything done that your boss is asking for.
You may want to add a healthy habit to your morning schedule to help get you going, such as saying positive affirmations or taking a moment to be grateful as you sip your breakfast coffee. Squeeze in a light workout or simply stretch to get the blood and mind flowing for the day.
Take a Break
Just as you had to step away from your desk once in a while at your workplace and go for a quick walk around the building, so too should you take regular breaks when working from home. Play with your kids or take the dog for a walk. Your mind needs a moment to decompress while your eyes should receive regular reprieves from the computer screen. Taking a quick walk every few hours will help offset some of the physical damage the body endures when you’re sitting for several hours every day.
Play Some Tunes
Music can help boost productivity and mood, so create a playlist of favorite songs that you can stream or spin throughout the day when you need that energy. Music is especially useful if you’re performing repetitive or menial work (such as editing a spreadsheet) that doesn’t require too much thinking. It also helps the workday fly by faster.
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you can’t socialize with your coworkers or friends. In fact, you need it more than ever when you’re not conversing with people in person. Take a break to catch up with folks on Facebook or via a quick Zoom meeting. Just be mindful of the time so you don’t lose track of tasks and projects you need to get done. Connecting with others can do wonders for your morale and emotional well-being.
Slay the Day With These Remote Work Tips
Your boss will love you all the more for following these remote work tips—and you’re sure to feel less pressure as you make your way through another week working from home.
Check out our Lifestyle section for more tips on balancing your work and home life efficiently.