I have been a working from my home for over 20 years and there are many things I have learned about maintaining productivity while working from a home space. These are the things I have implemented to have a productive home working environment and to maintain a home/work balance.
1. Set up an area that is devoted to work
Do not make your entire home your office. Lay out a place or designate a place for your working life within your home.
2. Set an alarm clock
Have a morning routine and set a “clock in and clock out” time for yourself.
When I was not in the lockdown situation I am currently living through in Italy, my routine looked like this:
Set the alarm, do some physical exercises, journal and set intentions for the day, take a shower and get dressed. LEAVE THE HOUSE for a walk or a coffee. When you re-enter the house, treat it as entering the office for the rest of the day. When you have hit the time you set to end your “work day”, repeat this process. Get up — leave your Office, take a walk, have a coffee, go for a bike ride and when you get back this time, arrive at your home and enjoy your evening.
3. Do not do any work in your underwear or pyjamas
Have a shower. Get dressed, pick out your clothes and put on some shoes. Feel good — be a professional. Check the lighting and sound on your webcam can present yourself the way you would for any other meeting.
4. Use Sunday (or today) to lay out your week
Plan calls, take meetings and organize lunches.
You need social contact when you are working from home. Identify great people you like to spend time with and make appointments with them. During times like this, organize coffee meetings over Zoom, Skype or Google hangouts.
5. Turn off the TV/MEDIA/SOCIAL MEDIA
I don’t own a TV and I do not have any “networks” coming into my home. Set two times per day to check News and current events. (Do not make one of them before bedtime) If the world is really about the end, your phone will blow up anyway and you will hear about it.
6.Do not eat at your desk
Eating and working will not allow you to properly absorb your food. Concentrate on nourishing yourself when eating and keep your mind focused on that over being too caught up in “getting more done”. Eating at your desk is an absolute negative. Trust me — I have learned this lesson well while living in Italy.
7. Take a nap after lunch
Relax your eyes and brain with a 10 -20 minute nap after lunch. This lets your food begin to properly digest. In an office you might get an hour for lunch. You can easily eat lunch in 20 minutes and have a 20 minute nap and have 20 minutes to spare after having rested your brain and eyes. By doing this you can be as productive in the afternoon as you are in the morning.
8. At the End of the day — Clock out
Set times and boundaries for your workday and keep the lines clear.
Rest is the critical component to clear thinking and higher productivity. When you structure your work at home, open up your office in the AM and close it down in the PM. If you work across timezones, create a split-shift and break up the day. Your productivity is based on how energized you are. You are not going to be productive without rest.
It’s been amazing to me that in times like these the smallest daily habits have prepared me for the intensity of “being at home”. Although I do not “leave the house and re-enter” I have had to make only small modifications to maintain a high level of productivity and keep the outside unwanted noise at bay.