The topic of working from home became relevant a year ago. The first months of the pandemic turned out to be challenging for some people, because it is very difficult to comply with the regime when working from home. Now many people have already learned how to optimise their time, but we still decided to share with some the tips of how to work effectively from home.
It can be difficult to feel that you are as productive and effective as at the office/lab. Developing discipline is the hardest part of working from home. In the office, we have a bunch of external restraints that keep us running, but at home there are no such bounds. But we are sure that discipline and daily routine are the mainstays of maintaining productivity and stable morale.
To begin with, it is very important to introduce a clear daily routine. Start your day with an enjoyable ritual. For example, drink coffee from your favourite cup every morning. The daily routine helps not to go crazy. It is ideal to wake up 1-2 hours before the start of the working day, always have lunch and try to go to bed before 00:00 (we will be realistic and will not urge you to go to bed until 22:00). Try to get enough sleep! The perfect combination: great food, workouts, hot showers and an early bedtime.
Prepare a comfortable workspace
It sounds very simple, but really helps to get in the mood for work. Your workspace should be as far from daily life as possible. Free your desk from typical household items and leave only what you need for work. Try to stay off your bed, couch, or other places associated with leisure time.
Take off your pyjamas
If you dress like for work in the morning, it helps you to find the right working mood. Of course, you shouldn’t wear an office suite, but something smart-casual would be fine.
Have regular meals
Sitting at home, we more often want to open the fridge to find some kind of snack. Or, conversely, we become so passionate about work that we forget about our lunch break. Both ways are not very good. Therefore, you should set regular meal times to maintain your daily routine.
Plan your day
You can use your diary, Google Sheets, Google Calendar or any special tools for planning. For example, Asana.
Don’t forget to take short breaks once an hour. It is best if you spend 3-5 minutes on physical activity: go to the terrace, washing a couple of cups in the kitchen, make coffee, etc. You can dance, sing, argue with the TV – at home you will not stumble upon the judgmental glances of colleagues. Taking short breaks will help you recharge and keep working with renewed power.
Set your goals
If you have a huge to-do list, this can make you nervous. Try setting small goals for each day. It is convenient to do this in the evening over a cup of tea. Make yourself a delicious drink and write down 3 main goals you want to achieve for the next day. Be sure to write them down! It will be very nice to tick (or cross out) them after execution.
Have a physical activity
You need to take a mental break from work to clear your mind and recharge your energy. If you do not want to do special exercise or yoga, you can go for a walk in the nearest park. Physical activity perfectly clears the head of unnecessary thoughts, improves sleep and improves mood.
Use a task scheduler
If you work alone, this is not necessary (but helpful). But if you work in a team on a common project, then you definitely need to use the planning tools. They can conveniently track what needs to be done, what is already in progress, and what has already been done. For example, you can use Trello, Nifty, TeamGantt, Mindmeister, nTask, Zenkit.
One of the most distracting factors, both at work and at home, is social media or news that you want to check regularly. Try turning off the internet on your laptop for a few hours of work. In order not to miss important emails, you can check your mail once an hour. Working with the internet turned off prevents scrolling on social media, distracts email and allows you to focus on the task.
Keep in touch with colleagues and friends
Communication with colleagues is very important for the development of projects and for scientific research. You should have regular video meetings with your team for at least 15 minutes. It will help you to cheer up, get inspired and get to work with renewed power.
It is also important to keep in touch with your friends. You can get together in the evening online, have tea and discuss the latest news, or even play some online games.
Learn new skills
You can learn something new for at least 30 minutes a day. We must not allow the “atrophy” of professional skills – now is the time to acquire new ones. Courses (Udemy, Classcentral, Coursera), webinars, intensives, podcasts, books, articles, etc. will help.
However, don’t forget about peace of mind. When working from home, unfortunately, the boundaries between work and personal life are blurred. And this can subsequently lead to burnout. Remember about your personal life and hobbies.
Be healthy, happy and productive!