The last weeks a great majority of people have been working from home due to the pandemic.
I don’t know about you, I noticed that the boundaries were easily overruled, and sometimes I ended up working until late at night, or not being that efficient even though you don’t waste time on coffee break with your colleagues or on transport! So where is the balance in that?!
From my experience, as I have practiced the principle of home office for a total of almost 3 years, I can confidently say that I have tried a lot of approaches, I have made mistakes, and I tried out things to keep the balance and also my motivation high!
So hereby, I would like to share with all of you that are working from home some ideas and tips that will help you keep a balance and also the motivation when you home office!
1. PLAN, PLAN AND PLAN
Planning in advance takes so much of the stress and instability off your day. The moments of being indecisive, or just responding to what comes up whenever it does. As some would say Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail.
Just take 15 minutes either at the end or the beginning of each day setting the top priorities of the day. I use the time blocks and the results I want to achieve during each time block. So you can for example block from 10-12 to prepare that report , or for example finish the article you are writing, or respond to the emails. Then from 1-2 you can block your time for a call, or doing the research you need to prospect on 3 new clients.
Keep it simple and specific so that in each block of time you know what you need to achieve. Once these are done, you can just take the time to progress on other ongoing projects.
2. FOCUS ON YOUR TOP PRIORITES AND HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEM
The fact that you are staying home, taking the break to hang the laundry or cook at your lunch break does not mean that you are part time working. Of course working from home is a combination of responsibility and flexibility. As we said, planning helps you decide in advance the priority tasks of the day, and then you just need to do the walk, and focus on the important stuff avoiding the distractions. The most efficiently you are using your time, the best you can actually enjoy your time at the end of the day.
What could help you here is to either hold yourself accountable with the help of a colleague, your partner or friends on your ongoing projects, so that you share your wins and progress every day!
For example, I am using my personal and professional network to hold myself accountable for the projects that I naturally postpone, like business plan, or completing a new training that I took up. Here I would also like to thank you guys!
3. BECOME YOUR OWN BOSS
If you have a relative flexibility of the time schedule, I would say that you can notice the time blocks of the day that you are most efficient and focus on scheduling the high focus tasks on these time blocks. This is an opportunity to actually be your own boss and use your tie efficiently.
For myself, I know I am more efficient in the morning and late in the afternoon. Around lunchtime my mind wanders, and my attention span is very short!
See how you can be efficient and stop procrastinating on the tasks that you have been drugging fof sometime. For example, I start the day by “eating that frog”(2) the tasks that I would naturally avoid, either because of luck of interest or because these are the less fun things to do in my job. And then I could go on the things I would enjoy doing without losing my motivation. You can avoid all the confusion and get clear on what you will do that day. Here you can replace the procrastination which actually is confusion with determination and eventually “pro-activation” ; being proactive on the task you need to do!
(2) Book titled “Eat that That Frog” by Brian Tracy
4. BREAKS ARE PART OF YOUR JOB
I can’t highlight that enough, you need breaks, I need breaks, we all need breaks.
Researches (1) show that:
– Breaks increase productivity and creativity.
– Breaks restore motivation.
– Breaks can prevent “decision fatigue”.
– Movement breaks are essential for your physical and emotional health.
– Rest when awake or daydream! This helps consolidate memories and improve learning.
So how do you want to use your break? That’s your choice, but remember:
• Change your environment
• Move, walk, dance!
• Meditate or do some breath work
• Have water (you need at least 2l titres per day! You can also use that as a toilet break!)
• Have a healthy snack
• Power nap
5. SUIT UP
I know, I also love my tights or sweatpants, but dressing properly and also taking care of your looks sets the right mood for a productive and professional day.
I am the first one to say that looks don’t matter, but after having spent almost two months mainly at home, I can say it feels nice to wear a nice shirt. It sets the mood and can also work like your work uniform!
Dress for success, always representing your own image an style.
Since we don’t know exactly for how long this situation will last, I suggest that you try yourself and experiment with different strategies that you feel suit you best. After all, the goal here is to listen to your needs and don’t forget to become your compass!
Feel free to reach out if you have a specific subject that matters most to you and keeping your balance when you are working from home.