It doesn’t matter if you are an entrepreneur or an employee, working from home can be challenging. The main reason for this is that humans usually crave some kind of structure and interactions with other people. If you are working from home then no order is enforced. For most people that usually means they end up in pajamas in front of their laptop and somehow struggling through the day.
This lack of structure does weird things to us. In many cases, we feel less happy, unmotivated and crouchy. The mood of course also impacts our performance and efficiency
I found that the following actions helped me to avoid this, maybe they help you too:
Create a separated workplace
- Do not work where you usually relax, sleep or do other private activities
- A separation helps you to get into work mode, and when leaving this place you can relax again
- It does not have to be a big place or room. Just a place in a corner which you only use for this activity
Keep the workplace tidy
- If it is all clocked up it will stifle your creativity and efficiency
Set it up properly
- Get good lighting
- Get a monitor, keyboard, and mouse and do not work only with your laptop
- Make sure you have a proper chair and desk
- I use a desk which I can also use for standing, as I like to move around a bit.
- Get a good coffee maker or stock up on tea, whatever tickles your fancy or you require to be productive 😉 (Without coffee my productivity drops at least by 10 % ). If you prefer tea and want to get a kick out of it, go for white tea. It tastes great and gives you some energy!
Create structure in your day
- Follow the same morning routine as you would if you go to the office (have a coffee, shower, and so on).
- Set yourself a schedule and stick to it.
- Example: 8 am – Work start / 10:00 – 15 minute coffee break / 10:15 – work – 12:00 30-60 minute lunchbreak / 13:00 – work / 15:00 coffee break and video chat with co-workers (virtual coffee) / 15:30 work till 17:00 / 17:00 leave your “workplace”, exercise and relax
Put on normal cloth
- Of course, it is very convenient to stay in your pajamas, however, putting on real cloth just feels different. It is like putting on a uniform or tricot, it helps you to get into the right mindset.
Maintain your social contacts
- Schedule a video chat session with the colleagues of your choice and have together a coffee break or chat.
- It is easy to feel isolated if you work from home for a long time so try to keep in touch via video chats, chats or calls. If you have an option always go for video chat as it is good to see the faces as well
Take breaks and move
- Take regular breaks and move a bit around. Take a walk outside, stretch or do some exercises. This will free and refresh your mind.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
- Keep in mind, other colleagues or employees cannot see you, you do not get information via the usual coffee breaks and chats. So make sure you communicate more than you would usually. Use chat and phone and email to keep your teammates up to date.
- Some tools I can recommend for this are Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, and Slack
- Discipline equals freedom as one of my favorite leadership experts says (Jocko Willink). Stay disciplined, work hard, take your breaks and stick to your schedule. You will feel good and productive afterward. This will allow you to get off work in time and have a free mind. It also will ensure that you get a ton of stuff done (sometimes more than if you are in the office).
Let me know what works for you. What are your secrets to efficiency?