I’ve been working from home ever since I graduated college. Some days I crush it, and other days I watch three seasons of a random show on Netflix. Although I don’t always practice it, I know how to work from home successfully and actually get things done, especially now that I have a baby. Keep reading to find out my tips for being productive while working from home.
Carve Out a Designated Work Space
The number one key to productivity while working from home is having a designated work space – not laying your bed, not sprawled on your couch, but an actual seat and surface where you can sit and place your computer or tablet. Even if you don’t have an entire home office, you can carve out a work space at a kitchen or dining room table. If you live with roommates in a tiny apartment, drag a nightstand to the edge of your bed to create a makeshift desk. If you can, make sure this space is only used for working, which will help you clearly distinguish between work time and play, eating, TV time. Arm your little corner with a planner and a mini succulent, and boom, you have a work space!
Communicate Openly with other Household Members
Working from home is already difficult, but working from home with your spouse is another beast. In the past few months that Jonathan and I have both worked from home, we’ve bumped heads at times when we weren’t on the same page about when we were eating, when its time to joke around, when we each have meetings, and who’s watching the baby. If you’re working at home alongside a partner, a roommate, or even kids, it’s important that everyone has the same understanding and expectations of the at home work environment. Will there be music playing? What time is breakfast, lunch, and dinner and who is responsible for what? What are everyone’s work hours? Talking about this at the beginning of the week or even daily can go a long way to ensuring everyone gets what they need done.
Create a Routine
If possible, try and replicate your usual daily routine while working from home. If you normally start the morning catching up with your coworker for a few minutes, start your days at home doing the same over text or slack. Usually go for a 2pm coffee run? Take a 2pm coffee break (at home!) while walking around you apartment or down the street. Did you stop by the gym after work? Do an at home-workout in the evenings after closing your laptop. When carving out your routine for the day, try to block out time to do the hardest things first. When you tackle the hardest thing on your to do list first, you are guaranteed to have a successful and productive day, even if you later get derailed by the kids, a call that goes over, or a show that you couldn’t resist.
Dress Up, but Down
My preferred work from home outfit is jeans and a t-shirt or a sweater. I find that when I wear leggings, I’m a bit too cozy and find my way onto the couch to rewatch episodes of Queer Eye. Some people recommend dressing exactly as you would for work, makeup included, but I think WFH days are a perfect opportunity to let your skin breathe. Oh, and wear a bra. Even if it’s just a sports bra. When 5 o clock hits and you take it off, it really signals the end of the workday in a rewarding way.
Last but not least, make sure you have some pre-made meals or chopped up veggies and meats to create quick, nutritious lunchtime dishes. Although you might be used to grabbing a salad from around the corner or eating at the office cafeteria, you’ll need to fend for yourself while working from home. Not knowing what you’re having for lunch is the fastest way to derail both your day and your summer body. Although I like to keep some stew in the fridge for a quick meal, my go to ready in 15 minutes dish is pasta with sausage or ground beef with peppers. I keep chopped peppers and onions in my fridge all the time, so I can quickly heat up a pan and saute the meat & veggies together while boiling some penne. Mix everything together in a bowl, throw on some grated cheese, and you have a filling and nutritious lunch!