You may think of work from home as an extra day off if you never had to do it before. The reality, though, is that working from home presents a series of unique challenges you do not face in the office. It is critical to stay productive while working from home. If you do not, you will fall behind on those office days, digging a hole difficult to get out of.
There are things you can do, though, to stay productive on those work from home days. Working from home is an art that, once you master, can lead to even more productive days when you are remote in comparison to in the office.
Creating a Work Schedule
It is tempting when working from home to get off of your normal work schedule. You may find yourself sleeping in late, rolling out of bed and starting work in your pajamas, only to find yourself still sitting there at lunch. There is something for sticking to a normal schedule when you are working from home.
You want work from home to follow a similar schedule to when you are in the office. Sure, you do not have to go through your commute, but this could be the time where you are sitting at the table and eating breakfast and having coffee, instead of doing it in your car, on the bus, or train.
Create a work schedule where you are getting up, dressing for the day, and preparing yourself to log on and off at a specific time, as if you were traveling to and from the office.
Sleeping is Key
The other temptation when working from home is that you do not go to sleep as early at night. When you know you do not have to be on the road for your one-hour commute as early as normal, you may think you can stay up later, watching television, movies, and more. This can wear on you over time, though. When you do not get adequate sleep, you will drag during the day, harming your productivity.
Be sure you are getting the proper amount of sleep nightly. Go to bed early, enjoy your mattress, so that you can get up at a time that would also work should you have to physically travel to the office for the day.
Create a Work Space
Creating a workspace is another way in which you can help be as productive as possible while working remotely. What you want to do is to create a space that is specific to your work. You do not want a space that you share with your breakfast, lunch, where you pay bills, etc. Having space where you can draw a virtual line between your personal space and your workspace is critical. It is too tempting to relax in your house and if you work from the couch, it will be far too easy to fall into the hole of watching more television than your laptop screen. You may not need to design an entire office to work out of, but having a workspace can go a long way.
Reflect at the End of Every Day
You want to spend time doing a reflection at the end of each day. Looking back at how the day went, how productive you were, can help you refine your approach in the days ahead. Keep a logbook where you begin to track how you spent the day. Try to track what you did hour-by-hour so that you can map out where your time went.
As you begin to reflect at the end of each day, you can then start to map out a schedule you can follow daily. You want to be as honest as possible with how things went, and areas in which you can improve in the future. There are always opportunities to improve productivity, but you need to be aware they exist first.
Working remotely is something you need to improve upon incrementally. You will not figure it out the first day or even in the first week. instead, you need to continue to refine your approach, reflect at the end of each day, and improve on what you are doing to help you reach your goals. It is possible to be as productive at home as you are in the office. With the right strategy or tactics, you can achieve this as time goes by.