Whether you're new to the work from home game or a student looking to finish out the year without the solace of your favourite coffee shop, here is your guide to putting some structure in your day and getting it done – while maintaining your sanity.
Don’t slack on your morning routine
Implementing structure into your morning routine is key to setting the tone for a productive day. This means setting an alarm in the morning – yes. you do need it. Pro tip: Many professionals who regularly work from home recommend starting with emails to get a head start on the day and help in building your to-do list.
Next comes a shower. It’s easy to let hygiene slip if you're not going to be seeing anyone, but, trust us, sticking with the small stuff really makes the difference in feeling ready for the day. Another big work from home no-no? Staying in your pajamas. Even if you change out of your jammies and into your sweatpants, this small change has a massive psychological impact when it comes to staying on track.
Make a space for work
This means no bed and no couch, if you can. Try to create a space that's just for work, even if it’s just a section of the kitchen counter or a make-shift table pushed up against a window as a desk.
Take a lunch
This is your midday check point to come up for air, recharge and regroup. Just like you're going to the office, have something planned for lunch that's nourishing and is going to sustain your energy for the rest of the afternoon. Another good practice is getting some movement like going for a brief walk or squeezing in a quick at-home workout. If you don't have time for either – grab a tea and take a pause to stare out the window, maybe take this time to bask in the glory of not missing your boss.
All things aside, working from hard can be hard, especially if this is new territory for you. An effective productivity tool is working in intervals of 25 on, five off. Set a timer for 25 minutes and commit to nothing but work – no checking the news or answering texts -- and then take a five-minute break. During your break you can scroll, grab a snack or whatever you want, but, when your five minutes have elapsed, return to 25 minutes of uninterrupted work. Think of it like HIIT training: short spurts of intense focus offset by timed resting periods.
We mean this one – know when to call it a day! It can be hard to switch off when business and pleasure share the same space but, sticking to regular working hours is massively helpful for maintaining a balance even when the line between work and play feels so blurred.
One last sanity saving tip is to try time-blocking for 10- to 15-minute check-ins with family and friends. Adjusting to working from home is challenging in it and of itself, without the additional distractions of what's happening outside your door. So, make a little extra time to stay grounded by reaching out to a loved one or co-worker, as a reminder that this too shall pass and we're all in this together.
DJ Daw lives in Halifax.
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