If you’re one of the thousands of Americans suddenly working from home for the first time, you’ve already figured out that it’s not everything you thought it was cracked up to be. Although there are perks — like not having to dress up or mess with the daily commute — juggling kids out of school or not being able to find necessities at the store can all affect your mindset and productivity when it comes to your primary source of income. Working from home is a big-picture scenario and if you’re not careful, it can be daunting.
Fortunately, there are simple changes you can make to help you work efficiently, and possibly be more productive than ever, if you’re self-isolating in your home office.
1. Get Dressed for Work Every Day
We hate to break it to you, but there’s something psychological about physically getting up and getting dressed for work. If you’re having a hard time making the transition into remote work, start your day off as if you’re going into the office. Fix your hair, iron your clothes, and put shoes on.
2. Prioritize Your Tasks
At the beginning of every day, sit down at your desk and make a list of what needs to be done. Action items that can’t be delayed until another day should always come first. Mark them off as you go through the day, and the mental reward will help you feel your accomplishments.
3. Use a Block Schedule
Time management comes naturally for some people. But working from home may cause the entire day to blur together. Set aside a time on your schedule to do things like check email, return phone calls or conduct teleconferences. That way, the day won’t get away from you before you have a chance to take care of prioritized tasks.
4. Take Planned Breaks
One of the hardest parts about working from home is the tendency that some of us have to work straight through, without taking any breaks. If possible, set a timer to stand up, stretch, and give your eyes a break from the computer screen every so often. When you do, you might actually find that your working time is more productive.
5. Move to Different Rooms
Depending on your setup and who else lives in your home, try to rotate to other rooms when possible. Break up your day by moving around from your home office to your bedroom, the living room or the dining area. Or even better, go outside if you have a balcony or a patio. You’ll be able to get some sunlight and fresh air, which are good for both body and mind.
6. Take a Walk
When you live and work in the same space day after day, it can wear you out mentally, emotionally and physically. Plan a time before work, during your lunch hour or at the end of the day to go outside and get fresh air. In most places, it’s still permissible to get in exercise such as walking around your neighborhood, as long as you maintain a minimum social distance from others.