Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Tips For Working From Home


Trying to be productive at home with a newborn and Netflix calling my name during quarantine has been quite the challenge. After soaking in all the newborn bliss and doing absolutely nothing else for the first weeks of quarantine (which was absolutely amazing) I decided it was time to tackle that to-do list. That to-do list was quite overwhelming that's for sure with
a move to a new construction, down for 2 weeks with the flu, then giving birth all within a month. Getting back into the swing of things wasn't too bad, getting back into the swing of things with a newborn baby-that's a totally different story! Tag teaming with my husband, getting things done while baby sleeps and following these tips have helped me stay on top of things and may help you if you're also working from home. Of course this will look different for everyone especially if you have kids from different age groups, but I hope it helps make your life a little easier...

GET UP EARLIER

Getting up early gives you more time in your day. I always feel so productive when I wake up before everyone else even if it's just 30 minutes or at least don't keep hitting snooze. There are less distractions and I notice I have time to do things I normally can't get done if I sleep in like actually sit down with a cup of coffee, eat breakfast before noon, get in a workout, etc. Getting a head start on my to-do list also helps me finish my daily tasks earlier which is so nice this time of year when I would much rather be outside or doing something not work related. If you struggle getting up early, try going to bed earlier. I know it sounds like common sense, but limit those Netflix binges to a show or two, start your bedtime routine earlier, give yourself an actual bedtime so you're not trying to play catch up, etc. 

CREATE A WORKSPACE

Having a workspace dedicated to only work can help signal to your brain that it's time for work. Since my kitchen has become my "office" until I finished my real office, I need it to be clean that way I can just get up and get straight to it in my little dedicated corner.  We have made it a habit to clean the kitchen before we go to bed which has been nice from a work perspective because I would have a hard time being productive next to a pile of dirty dishes and messy countertops. Same goes for your desk-space. After a workday, take two minutes to put everything where it belongs that way when it's time to work the next day, you can just get right to it and not shuffling to find what you need in the middle of a meeting or instead of working on an important task. Whether you have an office or working from your kitchen counter, make sure whatever space you're working from is designated for work. Try not to make that your bed though. Keep that designated for winding down and sleep-something to look forward to at the end of the day.

MAKE A TO DO LIST

I live off of to-do lists! I try to fill out my planner with important deadlines weekly that way I know how to prioritize my work, but I need a to-do list in order to know how to go about my day. This is probably my biggest tip to being productive because I can physically see how much I need to do before the end of the day making me jump right to it. Try not to create a list longer than 10-15 tasks otherwise it can get overwhelming. Also, be realistic keeping in mind a general idea of how long it will take you to complete each task. If you feel like you won't get to something today and it can wait, add it to the next day's to-do list and keep the important "can't wait until tomorrow" tasks for today. These lists also get me through the afternoon slump because I can look at my list and see what else I can check off whereas without a list I can easily call it a day, lazy around and then when I get that evening energy boost I'm overwhelmed with how much I still have left to do today. I like to put my "to-dos" on post it notes and stick them on one cabinet door, and then when I finish it take it and stick it on another cabinet door. Also, if you have an iPhone, you can create a list on the notes app using the circle/checkmark icon at the bottom. When you complete the task, you can click the empty circle and a checkmark appears. I love this feature but use it more for longer term to-do lists house projects we need to do or what furniture I still need to order, etc. This doesn't really work for my daily to-do list since my biggest distraction is my phone.

LIMIT DISTRACTIONS

This is so hard especially if quarantine caused you to work from home and also turned you into full time mom, teacher, baker, cook, entertainer, etc. Being super productive can be vital in order to stay afloat, so making sure you have a schedule for some consistency and limited distractions when it's time to work. I try to get as much done as I can while baby naps that way when he is awake, he has my full attention. If my husband is home, we tag-team and he will entertain him while I get work and then we switch off, if I know he has to leave for the day, I try to get up early to do as much as I can before he goes. I also have to put my phone away otherwise I'm tempted to respond to texts, check my social channels, fall into a rabbit hole of trying to find furniture, etc. 

CREATE A ROUTINE

There is a time to work and there is a time to complete housework, play with your kids, make dinner, run errands, etc. I had a hard time answering emails, finishing projects for deadlines, and all that knowing that there is laundry to do, furniture to find or it's clean the bathrooms day, but although all those are important, I realized they can't be done at the same time. Splitting yourself between so many roles can be a challenge, but creating a schedule definitely helps maintain consistency and get into a routine to make sure everything gets done. I try to get as much work done on my computer as I can in the mornings/afternoons when baby naps and in between naps, I'm all his even if that's playing with him in between non-work related things. He is usually in bed by 7pm so that's when I get to easier housework- dinner, a load of laundry, etc before winding down for the day if I couldn't squeeze it in earlier in the day. For tasks that take much longer, I try to schedule those on days I don't have a deadline/as much work to catch up on. 
I hope you all found these helpful! Everyone's lives and schedules look so different especially if you're not used to working from home, adding a new baby to the mix, or having to suddenly homeschool but finding a routine that fits your lifestyle and work life while trying to keep them seperate can help in being productive. 

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