5 Tips for Working from Home

5 Tips for Working from Home

Can I just say I have been waiting for 21 days to write this post on 5 tips for working from home? Why three weeks, you ask? Apparently, that’s how long it takes for you to form a habit and stick to it too! So, since I finally finished that timeline, this post is here to be read.

First things first. It’s with a good deal of joy that I announce to you all that I have started working from home, full time. (Takes a moment to do a happy jig)! Yes, after many years of working on freelance projects and part-time jobs, I finally decided to take the plunge and accept this role that I must say I am enjoying thoroughly!

It’s not easy to find a job that combines your passion with flexible hours and decent compensation. To be honest, I had stopped looking for anything along those lines a few years ago. So when this came along, it was natural for me to think twice before saying ‘Yes’, because I knew, for certain, that this would mean a huge shift from my comfort zone, where I’d settled for the last 9 years or so. 

Just give me a moment to soak in this feeling of happiness.

AAAHHH! Now, back to what we were talking about! 

So, the thing about working from home means that while you have the advantage of avoiding traffic, pollution and travel time, it does imply a huge number of adjustments and modifications in your routine. With a little effort and some smart planning, we can make that a seamless and comfortable shift.

Tip # 1

Prioritise work

  • In my role, I discuss with my team members the night before on the tasks that need to be done on the morrow. We also have some duties that get assigned  for an entire week, so it’s best to have a scheduler or a planner such as Google Calendar to note your tasks. 
  • Once I know what the tasks are, I cross-check the items on my personal schedule for the day (folding laundry/ cooking lunch/ airing the sheets) and prioritise them on the basis of what needs to be done first.
  • Waking up early can be a significant advantage in this regard, as it seems like you gain an extra hour to do all the work you want done! This naturally means you go to bed early as well.

Tip # 2

Set a schedule

  • Decide on set times of the day for each task, almost as you would if you were going in to work at an office.
  • Finish the heavy-duty tasks first in the early part of the day when your energy levels are high.
  • Relegate lighter jobs to the afternoon, post lunch, when your eyelids are likely to start drooping.
  • If your work is connected to a laptop or a desktop, pick a spot in the house and make sure you start working there at the same time, everyday. Making it a habit ensures your items are all in one place, saving you time and energy.

Tip # 3

Turn off distractions but allow for interruptions

This one sounds contradictory, but it isn’t when you think about it. A distraction is self-created while an interruption is something you cannot control.
 
Distractions: 
  • If you work online, do not open multiple tabs at once, unless  you need to use the copy-paste feature between two or three windows.
  • Resolutely turn off, mute or snooze notifications from Google hangouts/ Skype/ Facebook messenger/ Whatsapp. Better yet, put up a status that says ‘Working’ or ‘Busy’. People will understand.Trust me.
  • If you can, avoid personal calls during working hours. Politely ask friends/family to call you back if it is nothing urgent.
  • I work partly in social media so I have to be online while I am working. I solved this problem of distraction by creating a separate business account for my Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, so I would not get distracted by news feed or notifications. It’s been a blessing in more ways than I can count. 
Interruptions:
  • If you have a young child at home, you will need to work around his/her schedule. Ensure that the employer knows about the situation and is okay with your being available at odd times during the day. 
  • Work-from-home moms WILL be interrupted by the courier service, the telephone ringing, the handyman showing up or the friendly neighbour right in the middle of a deadline. However, instead of losing your cool, look at it as the required 5-minute break that you would have taken. Shift the perspective just a bit.

Tip # 4

Take well-timed breaks

  • Working with clear-cut deadlines and objectives works very well for me. If I know that I need to complete Task ‘A’ within 30 minutes, I do it. I use the timer on my phone to monitor my progress and feel a sense of accomplishment when it’s done.
  • Every half hour to one hour, I leave my desk and stretch, walk around, grab some salted almonds or a healthy snack. This gives the mind and the body the much-needed refreshment to handle more tasks.
  • Have a bottle of water or green tea on your desk so that you stay hydrated. Don’t forget to take restroom breaks amidst your working schedule.

Tip # 5

Do one thing that you love everyday

  • When all’s done you realise that doing one thing not connected to work is mandatory for a healthy perspective towards your job.
  • Find something you love- blogging, reading a book, swimming, taking a walk, playing badminton, writing in your journal, singing, aerobics, Zumba, yoga- to take the edge off the workday. 
  • If the thing that you love can help get you out of the house, even better. Staying indoors all day is not healthy, in any case, so do get some sunshine and some fresh air in your lungs regularly.
Yes, it’s been 21 days and I have managed to find myself comfortably set in this routine of mine now. I would like to include one sport or exercise as part of the schedule, so I intend to find time to incorporate that as well. 
 
Following these 5 tips for working from home has also enabled me to maintain my other love- blogging. I now find time to blog once to thrice a week across two blogs, reply to comments and even blog hop when I can. And guess what! I am in bed by 9:45 pm with a good book to end the day. Well, on most nights, for sure.
 
So, it’s not really hard when you think about it.
 
It just takes some planning, effort and discipline. 
 
~~~
*Psst! This article says it actually takes you 66 days to 12 months to form a new habit, conclusively. No way was I going to wait that long to post this though. I’m sure you understand. Right? Tell me you do!

~~~

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42 thoughts on “5 Tips for Working from Home

  1. Loved the tips Shailaja, it's nice that your experience would be able to help folks starting off on assignments like these :). All the very best at your new job, I'm sure you'll rock it as always.

  2. Good luck with the new job. Good tips too and they don't only apply to work. I feel our day goes well if we invest some time in planning the previous day. I take stock of my work for thr next week during

  3. Congratulations on the new job, Shailaja. 🙂 I am so happy for you. I found myself nodding along as I read through this post, as I know how difficult working from home can be at times. Over the last few months, I have incorporated most of the above in my schedule. The only thing I struggle with is the 'early to bed, early to rise' thingy. One day I will conquer that too. 😀 Hopefully in the near future. 🙂

  4. Congrats Shailaja! I love your tips and they are very relevant too. I've been WFH for some time now. But the worst thing I feel is we compromise on our own needs when trying to get everything else in place. Avoid that at all costs! All the best!

  5. Congrats on the new job!! You so deserve this 🙂

    Nice tips you have mentioned here. Speaking of which it can be implemented at work too. So, thank you 🙂

  6. Thank you so much,Aparna 🙂 I certainly hope this is helpful. I have found it so much simpler to slot my tasks and errands based on this schedule now and even find time to maybe get a quick lunch with friends if my work is done early. So yay!

  7. Thank you so much, Rachna! Yes I agree that categorising and organising helps is various aspects of life and not just work. I hope these are workable solutions for those looking for ways to optimise their time either at home or at work. Planning is key, definitely.

  8. Yes it is important we take care of ourselves a good deal, Lata. Without our health and our emotional needs being met, it can very easily become a case of too much burnout. Glad you liked the tips 🙂 Thank you for reading and for the wishes.

  9. It's a work in progress, Aditi 🙂 Cutting the ties brutally is the only way forward 🙂 It was tough for me too, intitially. Now, I think I have it under control.I hope so 🙂 Thank you for the wishes!

  10. Congratulations for your new job, Shailaja! Agree with all the pointers you shared. It takes a lot of discipline when you work from home. I love the freedom and flexibility to manage your time that comes this work from home 🙂

  11. I work from home too..and I can do with some of these tips, Shailaja…especially the waking early part and asking friends to not call me during my work hours..they do take up such a huge part of your time! very very helpful indeed.

  12. Congrats again for your job and I am excited for you! Those are some great tips and I use this when I am at work – Prioritizing work, tried to take the much needed breaks, staying away from personal calls, avoiding distractions 🙂 Great post as always!

  13. Waking early has its distinct advantages, Titli. I know this for a fact since I started keeping a strict watch on my time online and shut off all devices by 9.30 pm. It really really helps! Thanks a ton for your warm comment 🙂

  14. Really great tips. I have done a lot of research and consulting on this subject, and the points that you have gathered/practiced are vital. Thank you for taking the time to so beautifully share.

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