Working from home or remotely brings a plethora of unique challenges and difficulties. Whether you’re having trouble concentrating, maintaining energy, procrastinating because you just can’t stop petting your dog, or even just getting bored, this guide is for you.
Here at Clarity Quest, remote work has been a thing since the start of the company, so we feel we’ve become experts on the matter. That’s why we’ve created eight tips to help you redesign your work from home time.
1: Have a dedicated workspace
Some might think they work better from the comfort of their own bed, snuggled up in pillows and blankets. However, it’s actually the complete opposite. Not only does it have a negative effect on your work quality, it also affects things like sleep quality, hygiene and your mood. Take a look at this report from heathline.com.
Creating a dedicated workspace allows you to draw a line between work and home. Walking into another room, or into your office triggers your brain into work mode, and with healthy consistent habits you’ll be able to enter and exit work mode just by entering or leaving the room. It also helps keep you on track, and away from distractions.
2: Know yourself
This might be my best tip, take the time to truly learn yourself, as in… when do YOU perform your best? Is it after 10am once you’ve had your cup of coffee? Maybe it’s right at 8am when the sun is rising, or it could even be in the evening. If your employer is one like mine (shameless plug for Clarity Quest CEO/President, Chris Slocumb, you rock) who truly values the quality of work over the time at which you are doing said work, you have a lot of freedom here.
Example, when I book a video project, I find that I am much more creative and perform best in the evenings. I’m not sure why, but that’s just how my brain works. So, it only makes sense to work on those types of projects around that time, right? Knowing when you create your best results with certain projects at various times throughout the day is a key factor in enhancing your work from home ability, and this will help you with scheduling certain types of meetings, calls, or projects.
Having a boss who allows you to complete your work when you work best (of course as long as deadlines are being hit, and work quality is appropriate) is something that will change your work from home quality and experience for ever.
3: Utilize lists/whiteboards
One key component to staying on top of work is well, knowing what work you have to do. Sometimes that is the hardest part with all of the distractions you can have at home, which is why creating a list will help you stay focused and on track, even when you have moments of drifting or concentration loss. We recommend using a full size notepad, whiteboard, or sheet of paper. You can do daily lists, or even weekly lists if that isn’t too overwhelming for you. Write in bullets everything you need to do.
My favorite part about lists is they help with productivity and encourage a sense of excitement about your work.
I personally love the feeling of being able to cross things off my list as I go through my day. In fact, the folks over at mindtools.com say that they hear of people making career productivity breakthroughs all the time from utilizing lists, check out their article here.
4: Find your focus mojo
Figuring out how you stay focused will help immensely in the long run. It could be a certain “instrumental” playlist from YouTube or Spotify. It could be installing some cool color changing lights in your office space or it could simply be thinking about your future goals to get you energized and focused.
Whatever it is, utilize it and embrace it. We all have something that helps us get focused, that gives us that extra bump of “let’s do this!”, I encourage you to figure out what it is, and use it.
5: Take mental breaks
Just like athletes take breaks in between plays to rest their body, you need to take breaks throughout the day to rest your mind. Take a look at this awesome article from Verywell Mind that discusses the importance of taking breaks for your mental health.
In short, taking little breaks creates better work, a healthier and happier you, and allows you to stay away from the dreadful thousand yard stare halfway through your workday.
6: Stay Active
A major tip that has helped me throughout my work from home career, which goes along tightly with #5: Take mental breaks, stay active. Whether it’s during your mini breaks or before or after your work day.
Getting your body the exercise it needs not only helps your mind stay awake and focused, but your body too, which will ultimately make working more enjoyable. There are various ways you can put this tip into play, so you choose what might be best for you, and even if one doesn’t work, try another!
You could do pushups every time you feel yourself drifting, walk up and down the stairs a few times throughout the day, go for a walk, jog, or run right before or after work, hit the gym, buy a hand gripper and use it throughout the day at your desk, or do sit ups between meetings.
These are just a few ideas that could help you stay active. If you choose to do any of these, or none of them, I encourage you to at least find one thing each day to keep you active, it will help, I promise.
7: Stop working so many hours
Short and sweet: Stop working so many hours. You need to know when your workday is over, and you need to draw that line in stone, not in sand, not in dirt, but in stone. Be firm about this one.
I know it can be hard considering your entire work setup is just a few steps away… maybe you’ll just go check your email real quick before dinner, or write that one quote quickly before going to the park, just don’t do it. Set a hard stop for your day. This can vary day to day, but do it and stick to it.
Now of course this might be different for some industries or jobs, and some days you’ll need to break this rule, but in the grand scheme of things, will disrupting your family time for “a quick 10 minutes” to send an email really change the outcome of your work? No, it most likely will not, but it will affect your mental health, your relationships, and your work/life balance.
8: Make human contact
Another easy one… easy to do but also easy to completely forget about. There are SO many days where I get done with work and immediately go lay on my couch, next thing I know it’s 9pm and I’m getting ready for bed. Yes, having alone time is healthy for you and important, but don’t forget to make time for your friends or family. Even if it’s just a phone call or a facetime.
Ideally, the goal here is to get you out of the house and spending time with another human, be it lunch, dinner, a walk in the park, or your weekly grocery shopping. Anything to get your mind off work, and onto more pleasurable things!
So there you have it, my eight tips to help improve and enxhance your work from home experience. What do you think? If you’ve found something that’s not on this list that makes your work from home life better, we would love to hear about it, you can tell us all about it here.