Working from Home
Whether we find ourselves working from home by choice or necessity, it can be helpful to plan our days for maximum time management efficiency. It’s easy to get caught in a cycle of feeling comfortable in our home environment while the hours float on past with the television droning and we answer emails from friends and family. Oh no, it’s 5PM and our workload hasn’t budged since 9AM!
In order not to fall behind on our paying work, and/or staying up until 3AM bleary-eyed to complete it, here’s an acronym to remember to keep us in top form for work at home fitness. It’s very simple: HOME.
Resolve to begin good habits for your work at home strategy. Set your alarm and get up at an appropriate time to start your workday, just as if you were commuting to an office away. Get dressed as if you were going to that office because this helps to put you in the right frame of mind to buckle down and get busy. If you’re wearing sweatpants, you’re more likely to flip on the TV “just for a few minutes” than if you’re dressed for a business meeting. Eat a nutritious breakfast, make your coffee, or beverage of choice, and settle in to get the job done.
What does your home office environment look like? Does it resemble a day care center hit by a tornado? Or a fast food restaurant whose clean-up crew went on strike? Ideally, you have a room to yourself with your files and phone and computer available on your desk, not falling behind a sofa. There shouldn’t be dogs barking at you or cats knocking your pens on the floor. If there’s music, it’s at a low volume, so when someone calls, you sound professional. Make sure the background, if any, to your Zoom calls is professional, not whimsical.
Minimize the non-work distractions that may occur during your workday. Make it clear to others that even though you are at home, you are at work. This may be difficult for some people to grasp initially. They may believe that because you are at home, you are free to run errands for them during the day or accept deliveries or tolerate all manner of interruptions. These favors for others will create distractions for you and cause your work to go on later into the night or melt into the next day/week. This is not where you want to be when working from home.
Are you a morning person? Then do your brainwork early! If you need to crunch numbers or write a lengthy report, get those tasks done first. Conversely, if your energy peaks after lunch, get the easier tasks out of the way in the morning and save the more intellectually rigorous work for when your mind is fully charged. Save intermediate tasks, such as sending or paying bills, for times when your energy level is moderate. Only you know yourself well enough to understand your daily energy level cycles–one size does not fit all in this case.
You can use the HOME method anytime you find yourself getting off-track when working from home. It’s easy to fall into less desirable habits when we aren’t in a business office environment with coworkers to remind us that each day, Monday through Friday, is a workday. But no worries if your home office has devolved from maximum efficiency–you can get your environment right back into top performance with the strategies outlined above. They are simple, yet effective. Try them and see!
For helpful ideas on advancing your career, getting through a transition, or getting your resume in the best possible shape, contact Resume Advisor today.