I know we’ve all been working from home for a while, but if this is the new norm, here are a few tips to help you survive. When you’re WFH, it can be really hard to get yourself motivated and once you do get going, sometimes it is hard to stop. So how can you survive working at home? The last tip may surprise you!
It doesn’t have to be your best suit but staying in your PJ’s all day is not conducive to a good day’s work. Getting dressed into something vaguely work-ish can help boost your productivity.
Have a routine.
It’s very easy to ‘let things slip’ when there is no boss to answer to or no colleagues to compete against. The 10 minute tea break can so easily turn into 20 or more being taken up by other things such as the supermarket order or sorting out that dodgy lightbulb. These things can, and should, wait.
Alternatively, you can end up working until midnight trying to catch up which is not good and will cause you to burn out.
Set a time by which you plan to be sitting at your desk and give yourself timed breaks throughout the day. You could even make a timetable like you had at school — my old head teacher did this when he retired as he was used to the structure.
Even if your day includes an hour mid-morning to do some yoga, or you have to assign time do the home-schooling, it’s still a routine and you can tot up your working hours at the end of your week. Using an app like My Hours can help juggle your time between different clients or between yourself and your client. I added a client called ‘home’ for the washing, sorting the kids etc. to make sure I balance my day.
Have an ‘office space’ at home.
Particularly important if you have lots of papers and files, having a space you use only for work is vital. You really don’t want to risk having play-doh or soup spilt all over your work or things being moved out of place so you can’t locate them. Also, being able to ‘walk away’ from your work is a good way to help ‘switch off’ from it when everyone is home. If you simply don’t have the space, be organised, keep things in files which you can easily hide away when you’re not using them.
It’s important to make physical space to allow yourself the head space you need to work.
Organise your lunch in advance.
Organising your lunch in the morning will really help keep your lunch breaks on track. Preparing and clearing away food can be part of the lunch routine (I find it a way to relax), but it’s still good to have an idea what you’re going to eat. If your main problem is snacking and eating unhealthy, ‘fast’ lunches, prepare your meal in the morning.
Treat your lunch as if you are leaving the house for the day: make your sandwiches, get your snacks all together in a Tupperware and resolve to eat ONLY those things. Don’t allow yourself to open certain cupboards or if you are particularly weak-willed, ask your partner or housemate to lock away the chocolate! Don’t do what my kids always do and eat their lunch before 10.30am, try to wait until at least 12.30!
Get out the house.
At least once a day, go for a walk, a cycle ride, or a coffee away from the house. On your own or with someone else, it doesn’t really matter. You will be surprised how much a change of scene and some fresh air will clear your mind. Going for a ten minute walk before starting work can create a nice commute and helps remove the stresses of the morning.
If you’ve got little ones at home, getting out before they start school can really help with the ‘fidgets’ while they’re doing their schoolwork.
Have some noise.
Working in silence can be bliss and part of the reason some of us choose to work at home, but sometimes some very quiet instrumental music can help make you feel less ‘alone’. Spotify have some great playlists depending on your mood. Radio can be a great comfort too but best saved for breaks as it can be distracting — shouting at some buffoon on the radio is not always conducive to writing good copy.
If you have got kids at home – apologies for this one, you probably hate me right now, sorry!
Booking yourself into an online Pilates or gym class is a great way of ensuring you get out moving, provide a structure AND get some exercise but sometimes this just isn’t possible. Once a day, turn up the music really loud, and dance. No one can see you so feel free to go crazy! Not only does dancing get your heart rate going and can help your problem solving abilities, but it also releases endorphins — they’re the happy hormones — and we all need those! Include the kids too, they’ll love it!
Come and hang out on LinkedIn!
There are lots of freelance groups out there – literally hundreds of Facebook groups for freelancers and entrepreneurs, but don’t you find them all a bit overwhelming? Of course, I’m biased, but it is possible to create a great community on LinkedIn!
On LinkedIn it’s possible to filter who you connect with so you can keep your community manageable. We all know that LinkedIn is about doing business but now, more than ever, it’s about connecting and building relationships around business.
Come over to LinkedIn and start building a community around your business and you will see the benefits in terms of building your business as well as connecting with others. Sounds a bit odd. I’d be happy to chat about it as I believe 100% that being on LinkedIn has helped thousands of people not only with their businesses during lockdown but with their mental health too.
I’d be more than happy to chat to you about how you can use LinkedIn to get more business and also to help you keep connected to others. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or book in a call with me right here.