Home is your space. A place for your family and friends. For relaxation and fun. But for the thousands across the country moving to remote positions, home is now also a place to be productive. As you are settling into your new work environment, here are six tips that will help you be productive and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Tip 1: Have a dedicated workspace (if you can).
You’re home - and yes, you can kick off your shoes and lounge on the couch with your laptop. Why not? Well, you’re setting a bad precedent, and it’s a slippery slope to begin mixing things you normally associate with leisure with your work. The same is true for the dining room table or even the bed. You’ll be better focused and productive when you find a spot exclusively for work. It will allow you to physically - and mentally - log off when you’re done.
Tip 2: Maintain a routine and schedule.
Captain Buzzkill here again. Sleeping in or running an errand at off-times should be the exception and not the rule. Set an alarm just like you would if you were going to an office. Go through your whole morning routine. Shower and get dressed. Eat breakfast, make some coffee and walk the dog. Whatever you normally did before work, keep it up. Starting with your usual routine gives you the foundation to be disciplined and productive throughout the day. And then maintain your regular work hours. Designating specific hours for work and personal time will help you be productive and less distracted.
Tip 3: Take breaks, and don’t let them sidetrack you.
Maybe you don’t need a full hour for lunch. That’s fine, but make sure to schedule a lunch break of at least 30 minutes where you’re not engaged in work to let your mind rest. Put down the phone. If you have kids or a spouse at home, this is a perfect opportunity to get some extra family time on the schedule. Most importantly, step away from the computer.
Tip 4: Get exercise.
It’s tempting to go straight from your laptop to Netflix, but think about this — your body isn’t even getting the steps you take on a normal day at the office. You need to make up for that, bare minimum. Get outside and walk, jog or bike. Getting fresh air and changing the scenery will do a lot for your body and mind. Exercising releases endorphins in your brain, improves sleep and reduces stress.
Tip 5: Know your major distractions.
Do you have a hard time focusing on work when there’s a load of laundry in the dryer begging to be folded and put away? Knowing your major distractions and dealing with them prior to work hours will help you focus. Of course, when you’re at home with children, a spouse, or pets, there are bound to be other, less predictable distractions. Be sure your family members know your working schedule, including break times, and what interruptions are and are not OK.
Tip 6: Have an ‘off ’ switch.
All work and no play doesn’t make for a happy life. Are you noticing a trend here? Work and non-work can co-exist, even in the same home. In order to truly have balance, one side must yield to the other. But it’s up to you to switch off each when appropriate. Treat your mind and body well, practice moderation and keep clear boundaries.
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