It’s almost been five months since most of us have been working from home. While it might not be a completely alien concept to most of us, doing this for a long time can have its hurdles, and the lines between work and life can get blurry before you know it. There might be times when your long work hours affect your personal life and the other times when distractions around the house affect your productivity. And that’s why it’s crucial to find the right work-life balance.
It’s essential to break away from the mundane routine and form certain habits to stay productive and sneak in some ‘me’ time. While it’s easier said than done, we all know setting boundaries between work hours and personal time while working from home is not a cakewalk.
Here are 11 habits that you can try while working from home for a more comfortable experience.
1. Kickstart your day on a positive note
Create a morning routine that’ll help you kickstart your day. Working from home has probably made us lazier too. We often hit the snooze button until it is just a few minutes before our work hours.
While it was okay to take it easy during the first few weeks of working from home, it is crucial to change this habit to get more things checked off your to-do list. Start by setting your alarm a couple of hours before and get out of bed as soon as you hear the alarm go off. Think of it as a warm-up session for your brain. As soon as you wake up, make your bed, freshen up, make a hot cup of tea/coffee, have a healthy breakfast, and make a list of things you want to accomplish. This way, you’ll have a clear insight into your tasks, and you can start your day with a fresh mind
2. Get out of your pajamas
The best part about working from home is that you can stay in the comfort of your home—in our pajamas without having to worry about taking a shower early in the morning, right?
As much as we all enjoy that bit of working from home, staying in your pajamas will only make you lazy and sleepy. We may subconsciously associate pajamas with sleeping or lounging. Getting out of your pajamas, and taking a morning shower will awaken your senses and keep you alert. Do this for a few days, and you’ll notice that your brain gets into work mode when you get out of your pajamas!
3. Use a dedicated workspace
It is good to shake things up once in a while, but that doesn’t necessarily stand true when it comes to your workspace. One of the most important habits to cultivate while working from home is to use a dedicated workspace that is comfortable and helps you focus without any distractions. While using your bed or couch as your workspace isn’t the ideal setting, you may find that sitting for long hours on your sofa or bed can cause a lot of stress on your neck, shoulders, and back. To avoid these postural problems, get a practical work desk and an ergonomic chair. This setup will help you maintain the right posture. Place your desk in a room that does not have too many distractions and you’re good to begin.
4. Use music as a focus tool
If you live with a lot of people, children, or pets or have a loud neighborhood, it can be extremely challenging to concentrate on work. In these situations, music is your best friend. You can find playlists that will help you focus on Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube. These are instrumental songs that help you tune out the noise around you and focus on your work better. Put your headphones on, play your favorite focus playlist, and slay your to-do list without getting distracted.
5. Plan your household chores
If you are tackling all the household chores on your own, it’s important to plan it according to your work timings. If you have a 9 to 5 workday, squeezing in household chores during your work hours can be extremely challenging. To get more time for your chores, plan ahead so that they won’t interfere with your work. For instance, you can cook your lunch before you start your office work. You can also take a few minutes to do the dishes after lunch to save effort and time later.
Take your work timings into consideration and plan your day accordingly. It will ensure that you are getting work done during your work hours, and you can tackle your household chores as well.
6. Set boundaries with family/flatmates
Imagine you’re in the middle of some work, engrossed with a critical thought process, and your flatmate distracts you with conversations. Before you know it, you’ve lost more than just focus and time, and it can’t get frustrating than this!
Remember always to keep your family members and flatmates informed about your work timings. Tell them that you do not want to be disturbed when you are working unless it is something that needs your immediate attention. Setting these boundaries will help you get more work done.
7. Take planned breaks
One of the most effective ways of staying productive is to take a short break after completing a specific task.
But, sometimes our breaks at home can tend to get a little longer than expected. You start scrolling through social media or reading on some interesting bit, and before you know it, you’ve already wasted 15 mins. This can affect your productivity levels and ability to gather focus again. To deal with this, it’s crucial to take timed breaks and stay away from your phone or television during the break. For instance, after completing a task, set a 5-minute timer on your phone. Use those five minutes to stretch, make coffee, or tidy up your desk. Doing this will keep your mind off work for five minutes but won’t distract you later.
8. Distraction is okay
Despite taking planned breaks, setting boundaries with people around you, and planning your daily routine, there will be times where you can’t avoid distractions.
You’ll have productive days and sometimes, not-so-productive days. Don’t beat yourself up for getting distracted or losing focus. If work is pending, take a few extra hours to complete it or take it up the next day. Just remember that it is okay to be distracted, and it is okay to have days where you aren’t able to focus. It is only human to have a few hiccups. Always remember to get back on track the next day and check things off your list.
9. Log out on time
We all know that it is essential to start work at a specific time in the morning, but it is also crucial that you log out on time. It’s easy for the lines between work hours and personal hours to blur while working from home. Plan all your meetings and work in a way that you can log out at the same time every day. Set those expectations right with your employer as well. Let them know until what time you will be available. Remember, all the habits mentioned earlier can only help you finish your work on time if you can log out and reserve some ‘me’ time after work.
10. Communication is key
Lastly, do not forget to make communication a priority. In an office setting, your manager/teammates know that you are busy working on something because they see you busy. Remote work comes with more challenges. Simple situations can get complicated when there is a lack of communication. Keep your team and your manager updated about your work and your schedule. While it may seem overwhelming at first, keeping the transparency will avoid unnecessary misunderstandings. If there is a delay from your end or are swamped with work already, letting your teammates or manager know will help them understand your situation and be more empathetic.
Inculcate these habits in your daily routine and make your WFH experience as smooth and breezy as possible.