Whether you’ve always worked at home or the pandemic forced you to go remote, the transition can be challenging for a myriad of reasons. You might have kids at home vying for your attention. Maybe there’s a seemingly never-ending list of things to do around the house that you’re suddenly reminded of because you’re well, in the house. Perhaps you have trouble concentrating outside of an office setting. (Plus, there’s that whole global health crisis playing out in the background, thus impacting your mental health and general day-to-day sanity.)
Whatever struggles you may be facing when it comes to working remotely, these easy tips aren’t exactly groundbreaking but they’ll certainly make or break your day.
Write a To-Do List
Whether it’s a cute agenda planner you decided to treat yourself to or an old napkin you found in your junk drawer, take some time every morning to write down what needs to get done that day.
Lately, I’ve been starting each morning by writing down not just what needs to get done durin work, but what I want to accomplish while off duty as well. That includes working out, Facetiming a friend, or finally making a new recipe I’ve been itching to try. Then, I break down how long I think each of those activities (essential and aspirational alike) will take me, and try to break out my day into those time slots. I try to stick to that schedule as much as I can – I’ve found it really keeps me honest and on track.
Over-Communicating is Your New BFF
But obviously, within reason.
Without elevator chats or the ability to take a quick jaunt over to your coworker’s desk to check in on something, we have to adapt. If you find yourself confused by an email, say so. Ask questions. Double-check expectations.
I’m not saying you should HOUND your coworkers or clients with questions or contact, but make sure you understand each other’s needs, wants, and expectations for a project will save you both strife in the long run.
Take a Lap
If you have a pet (or a testy kid who needs an outing), they’ll be glad for this one. Make sure you’re taking the time every day to get up and move around. You don’t need to run a 5K, although more power to you if you do – and if you’re really crunched for time, stretching in your bedroom works too!
Lest you forget – we are living through a global f*cking pandemic and a banner election and wildfires and hurricanes and petrochemical fires. It’s okay if you’re having trouble focusing on your latest blog post, or having trouble coming up with a plucky caption for today’s IG story. It’s okay to take a break, move your body, and get grounded before you move forward.
You’d be surprised how much even the tiniest bit of movement will improve your mood for the rest of the day.
Keep Your Workspace Tidy
It doesn’t have to be spotless, but it should be pleasant! If you’re dreading settling into your workspace, you’re setting yourself up for distress. Make it your own! Adorn it with pictures of loved ones, inspirational quotes, plenty of pens and pencils, even crystals if that’s your bag. If you feel good while you work, you’ll do good work, I guarantee it.
Know When to Walk Away
I know, I know – it can be oh so tempting to answer one more email, or to run back to your computer when that little Slack ding goes off. These times of stress and uncertainty can easily send you into an am-I-working-hard-enough tailspin, especially if you’re self-employed.
Gone (for now at least) are the days of leaving the office and heading home – a change of scenery really helps to set that work/life boundary.
Use that aforementioned schedule to your benefit and aim for a hard sign-off time if your schedule allows for it – same goes for a hard start time. By setting up parameters to your workday, you’ll avoid overworking yourself and burning out.