If you are like many Americans, you are now working from home with little hope of going back to the office this year. While you may no longer have a miserable commute and get to spend more time with family, there are tangible difficulties associated with working from home. Here are a few timeless principles that will help.
Put on your shoes.
This sounds trivial but there is something psychological about putting shoes on and going to work. Chances are when you are lounging around at home watching TV or scrolling on an iPad, you’ve kicked your shoes off. If work has you at home for the foreseeable future, get in the habit of putting shoes on before you start your day. This is a great exercise that helps you to compartmentalize “work time” from “personal time”.
Have a designated workspace.
Scientists have told us for years that the brain associates your bedroom with sleep. Because of this, it can be easy to mess up a sleep pattern by watching tv in bed or working in your bedroom. It’s important to find a space that your brain can shift to “work mode” and free you from distractions. Maybe it’s the kitchen table or a desk in your guest bedroom. Find that space and be consistent about working there. It will amaze you how this will free you from distractions.
Be a good boss to yourself.
While at home, you don’t have a boss breathing down your neck. This freedom can be great but also crippling at the same time. A great way to keep yourself accountable is to create a to-do list every morning when you sit down. Write out your list of things that need to be accomplished, starting with the most urgent, and move down from there. If you really want to take productivity to the next level, look into the Urgent-Important Matrix(https://www.eisenhower.me/eisenhower-matrix/). This is a timeless tool that can reshape anyone's productivity level.
Do NOT turn on Netflix
Guys, I know this is hard but you really, really can’t watch Netflix while on the job. Maybe you have 10 minutes before your next conference call and you just want to squeeze in a few minutes of The Office or Narcos. Don’t. As soon as you give into that, you’ll find yourself wasting exorbitant amounts of time throughout the day, all in the name of “I’ve got a few minutes to kill”. If you wouldn’t do it in the office, fight the urge and don’t do it at home.
Working from home can be a gift or a curse to your career. It can allow you to spend more time with family but requires a level of discipline that may not be normal to you. Take these principles and level up your career.