Creating a work-from-home routine may seem a bit daunting at first, but you should quickly catch that it doesn’t have to be as bad as it may sound. There are ways for you to have a fun and enjoyable time puttering around the house. You need to get creative and figure out ways to make it fun.
Importance of Working from Home Routine
Many people believe they want to work from home until they discover that doing so means they must be incredibly disciplined and on task. It all sounds great in theory, but we are not nearly as focused on our duties as we know we ought to be. When we stray from a routine, it is easy to start to procrastinate. From there, we may lose focus entirely and end up with a less-than-desirable outcome. Instead, we should focus on creating a routine right from the start.
When a WFH routine is in place right from the start, we already know what we are getting into each day, even before that day has truly begun. We can plan our schedule and life around knowing what to expect from our day when we wake up.
Previous Working From Home Routine
Let us look at the work-from-home routine of someone who has been doing this for some time. His name is Tim, and he has been in the work-from-home life since before it became more common following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tim thought that he had it all figured out and would be able to make great strides toward his goals. The problem was that his plan was not concrete enough to say he could make the kind of progress he wanted.
His routine looked something like this:
- 6 am: Wake up
- 6:15 am: Eat breakfast
- 6:30 am: Log onto a computer and check e-mails
- 9 am: Take a break
- 10 am: Attend virtual meeting
- 12 pm: Lunch break
- 1 pm: Check e-mails for any new information
- 3 pm: Daily wrap-up meeting
- 4 pm: Log out for the day
It all seemed fine on paper, but the problem was that he could not truly adhere to the rules that he had set up for himself. Many distractions got in his way and knocked him off schedule almost from the beginning. He might tell himself that he wasn’t going to look at social media or the news, but then he would find himself doing those same things in no time. It was a dangerous productivity spiral that wasn’t helpful for his mental health or job prospects.
Tim needed to revamp the way he was working from home, or he would quickly find himself attached to a sinking ship going nowhere fast. This is a cautionary tale that everyone should consider when trying to figure out how they will structure their day and make the most of it. You do not want to end up in the same spot Tim found himself in.
15 Time Management Tips for Work From Home Routine
1. Create a long-term schedule
It is important to note that you create a schedule that you can use daily and a schedule that you can use on a more long-term basis. What this means is that you should certainly look at how you can convert your daily schedule into something you can use weekly and even monthly. Doing so makes it easier to see how your long-term goals align with the day-to-day.
2. Don’t Overwork Yourself.
One common problem some people encounter when they start working from home is overextending themselves. When you are working and doing your personal duties in the same place what happens to your brain is that you aren’t able to distinguish your responsibilities properly. Then people push themselves too much and never put their foot off the pedal. Do not do this! You will get burned out, which will zap all the positives about working away from home.
3. Schedule Some Breaks
The human brain needs to rest and relax from time to time. You should schedule some breaks using the Pomodoro method. This method allows you to consistently work on a single project for 25 minutes before taking a short 5-minute break. This is enough time to recover but not so much time that you lose all focus.
4. Make Your Work Space a Designated Area
Make sure you aren’t just throwing your workspace up randomly in your home. It would be best if you had a dedicated workspace where you could sit down and get things done. Part of your time management balance from home is to make sure you separate your work life from your home life, which means setting up a separate office space.
Just don’t forget to clean it up at the end of your work day, so the next day you start fresh!
5. Take the Seinfeld Approach
Jerry Seinfeld has always had a unique approach to time management, which involves ensuring he is constantly getting work done each day. He takes a large calendar and pins it to the wall. Then, he marks an “X” any day he sits down and writes some jokes. His goal is to make the chain as long as he possibly can. The longer the chain, the more days in a row that he sat down to write. By keeping the chain as long as possible, Seinfeld makes sure he is accountable to himself by getting his pen to paper and making the comedy that people love. It is an approach you can steal to remain productive when working from home.
6. Dress Properly
You might think that one of the most significant benefits of working from home is that you don’t have to get dressed up, and that is true. However, it would be best if you still tried to dress properly for your job. If you dress as though you are still working in the office, you may also start to function more optimally.
7. Reduce Distractions
This one may seem obvious, but you need to bring distractions under control. Turn the TV off, let your family know you are actively working, and try to do what you can to keep your pets content. It would be best if you made it clear to everyone in your house that you are a working professional trying to get as much done as possible even though you are working from home. Reducing distractions will add so much to your wellness as well!
8. Figure Out When You Are Most Productive
Everyone has certain times of the day when they are more productive. Discovering when that time is for you is a key insight you do not want to let slip away. If you subscribe to the Pareto principle (the idea that 80% of the work is done 20% of the time), then you understand why it is so important to leverage the hours when you are at your peak.
9. Eliminate Multi-Tasking
People have long thought that the ability to multi-task was something they possessed and that it was a good thing. As it turns out, neither of these things is true. Multi-tasking is not something humans are equipped to do, and it is not something we should aim for. Multi-tasking takes us away from the kind of solid work we could accomplish if we focused on one task at a time. Thus, it would be best if you tried to remove it from your vocabulary and goals.
10. Block Distracting Websites
The temptation to look at social media, news or other websites may be so strong with you that you don’t even want to risk doing so. It is commendable if you can take steps to block those websites so they don’t pose that risk to you. Doing so shows that you are committed to your work.
11. Give Yourself Rewards
It is perfectly acceptable to reward yourself when you hit certain productivity milestones. It is ideal to do this to reinforce the good behaviors you are exhibiting. You deserve a pat on the back from yourself once in a while when you accomplish something big.
12. Check-in with Yourself
Make sure you check in with your physical and emotional well-being at times. It can get pretty lonely and isolating to work from home, so make sure you are checking up on that.
13. Don’t Forget About Family Time.
Just because you have brought your work to your home does not mean that it gets to take over your entire home life. You should set aside extra time to make sure you spend quality time with your family. Your employer should understand this; if they do not, you need to clarify it to them!
14. Watch Out for Procrastination
Procrastination can sneak up on anyone. Please make sure you notice it when it comes knocking, and try to do your best to resist procrastination in all of its forms when you notice it. This is certainly harder than it sounds, but anyone can avoid procrastination if willing to put in the time, focus, and effort necessary to eliminate distractions.
15. Productivity Tools Help
Productivity tools can help you, and they can certainly do that if you are willing to use them. Several free tools on the Internet right now are designed to help keep you on task. If that sounds useful to you, make sure you check them out.
Current WFH Routine
Tim’s current WFH routine is much improved after applying some of the above tips. The biggest ones for him involved eliminating distractions. He knew what he was supposed to be doing with his routine, but he couldn’t seem to keep himself on task as well as he would have liked to. Fortunately, by looking over some of the tips and advice available, he realized that he could make the changes he needed to start enjoying his WFH routine a bit more and get more out of it.
3 Main Points to Take From This
There are three big things that you should take away from what you have learned today.
1. WFH is Not as Easy as it Seems
Most people think that the work-from-home life is their life, but it may not be as straightforward as you imagine. There are obstacles to contend with when working from home, just as when working in the office. Don’t forget that there will be trade-offs, and expect that some of those trade-offs will be at least somewhat difficult to handle.
2. You Have Tools at Your Disposal to Make it Better.
You are not completely helpless when dealing with the work-from-home life. The reality is that there are tools at your disposal to make it possible for you to get more out of your day. You should at least try to work on what you can to make your work-from-home day more productive and less full of distractions. No one said it would be easy, but it is what you need to do to make it work.
3. It is Acceptable to Make Mistakes
Sometimes, people get too hard on themselves when making simple human errors. They may find they are prone to common mistakes and deviating from the path they initially set up for themselves. When this happens, you should try to accept it. You aren’t perfect every time you make an error, but you can certainly progress on your goals by giving yourself the grace to accept that you will sometimes falter.
There are a lot of people enjoying the work-from-home life at this time. The reality is that you can do the same in many jobs. If you find that there are jobs that land you in a work-from-home position, please understand that you need a schedule to make the most of your time.