As working mums, one of the big drawcards for Ange and me to start our own business was the flexibility it brings. We’ve embraced working from home for over four years now and we have some tips to share for those of you trying to adjust to working from home.
Embrace the morning routine
Try to do all the things you would normally do if you were going to go into the office, such as:
- setting your alarm
- get out of bed and out of your pyjamas
- get out for some fresh air, go on a run or a walk
- making yourself a coffee or tea or swinging by your favourite cafe
Do whatever helps you to feel more human and ready for the day.
List out your priorities for the day
When working from home and you don’t have a boss around, it can be challenging to keep track of what you have to do throughout your workday. It’s easy to lose sight of priorities, tasks, and deadlines.
Start your day by reviewing priorities for the day. When you make your task list, stick to it. It’s tempting to jump into your email, but with a little extra focus, you can get those tasks ticked off! If you have a project you need to dig into, we recommend turning off your email and phone notifications, silencing your phone and focusing solely on the task at hand.
After you complete each task, cross it off the list. This simple technique is both effective and fulfilling.
I am a big fan of the app Todoist, it not only helps me organise my work life but my personal life too. If I remember something that I need to do, I just add it to the app and that way I don’t have to stress about remembering to do it down the road. It’s also a great tool to log/remember any long-term ideas or projects you may have, but can’t tackle right away.
Designate a workspace
Firstly, dedicate a space in your home as your work zone. If you don’t have a home office, a desk in the corner of your bedroom or the end of a dining table can suffice. This can also signal to others that you are busy when you’re in your workspace.
Once you have your space, try to give it a little love. Adding some personal flair and individual touches to your workspace have been shown to improve productivity as well as health and happiness. Think about your personal style and add some individual touches. It can be as simple as buying yourself a new notebook, adding a piece of art you like or some fresh flowers.
It’s easy to become so engrossed in work that you forget about breaks altogether. We can’t stress enough how important it is to get up and get away from your desk (and your phone if possible).
We love the concept of ‘sprint working’ or the ‘pomodoro technique’, breaking your work into 20-45 minute chunks of focus(followed by a short break) can be an effective way to break up the day and maintain your concentration levels. In fact, it’s scientifically proven that 20 – 45 minute intervals can maximise our attention and mental activity if followed by a short break.
What to do on your break? Go for a walk or have a lunch date with your partner. Sometimes, I do a Youtube workout. It gives me a burst of energy and keeps me from getting too stiff.
Check your posture
Make sure you have a comfortable and well-supported seat in your workspace and that your computer is at the right height, so you aren’t hunched over all day. Safe Work Australia has created a great guide to setting up a workstation from home.
Eat well and stay hydrated
It’s important to remember to eat healthy and nourishing snacks throughout the day and stay hydrated, so set reminders on your computer or phone if you need to. Also, try to avoid sugar spikes that can cause you to crash early!
To ensure you are functioning at your best, it’s recommended that you drink around 8-10 cups of water per day, or more if you are very active. So keep a water bottle on your desk and make sure to fill it up during your breaks.
Let the people you live with know you’re busy with work
Sometimes, you can be lucky enough to have the entire house to yourself when working from home. Other times, we have to share a workspace with a roommate or a partner.
To keep things civilised, make sure you let everyone else who will be at home during your working day know when you are busy or have meetings and will need uninterrupted time. That way everyone can find a space to do the things they need to do without distracting each other.
And for those with kids at home….
You guys are freaking amazing 👏👏👏 Just remember, this situation is unprecedented, so go easy on yourself.
I think the best advice we can give here is to everyone else who does not have kids at home – have some empathy and be flexible for those parents who are juggling. If they need to reschedule a meeting or aren’t available immediately, let them know it’s ok. If they have a crazy kid running around in the background of your video meeting – have a chuckle and let them know you understand!
Finish at a set time and unplug
Pick a definitive finishing time each day and stick to it like you would if you were leaving to go home from the office. This will help you switch off and relax for the evening.
When you work from home, you miss out on that commute home that gives you some time to unwind. So, after you’re done with work, close the laptop, get away from your phone and take some time to unplug for a bit.