I have been self-employed and working from home for 26 years, so I have experienced most (if not all) of the struggles many of you are going through during this global pandemic.
Here are some of the things I’ve learned and implemented in my own life. I realize some of you may have small kids at home, so you will have to tweak these tips to fit your personal situation.
1. Set up a designated workspace – you need to have boundaries so that there is a mental break between work and home.
2. Keep the same schedule – this is critical to ensuring you stay efficient with your time. I know that with small children this can be difficult, so you may need to work off-hours to meet deadlines (I was no stranger to the night shift at times!) However, depending on the age of your children, you may be able to set them up with small assignments so that they too have structured hours and you can get an hour or two of uninterrupted work in.
3. Stay physically active – if you went to the gym at 6AM, workout at home at 6AM. I’m a huge proponent of putting your mask on first. You will be no good to anyone if you are not physically or mentally well.
4. Get ready for the day – working in your PJs may seem like fun, but mentally you will feel much better and be far more productive by getting dressed and ready for the day.
5. Don’t get distracted – it’s so easy to look around and want to do that load of laundry, vacuum or watch that show. Don’t do it! Multi-tasking may seem productive, but it’s actually the thief of productivity. Stay on task and you will get far more done in the end.
6. Take breaks – this is very important for all of us, but especially if you’re new to working from home. Stretch, grab a coffee, call a colleague or just go for a quick walk. This was by far the toughest hurdle for me as I missed my colleagues and our daily chats. Believe me, the mental break will do wonders for you.
7. Lastly, remember that for most of you, this is temporary, so be patient and know that this too shall pass.