Updated: Apr 13
It’s Halloween of 2020, and we are STILL social distancing and working from home!!! And, for some of you, that means your children are working from home, too! Your home office space(s) may be getting a little scary these days …. but while COVID19 is truly scary, your Work-From-Home situation doesn’t need to be! In this blog, I will be sharing a few tips to help you work more productively, but be sure to download my 10 Tips For Setting Up Your Home Office During a Pandemic as well, for more information about the physical space in which you work and school from home – how to make it pretty and be functional too!
On the positive side, there are some perks to the new “normal” work space – a more flexible schedule, no commuting time, which means more time with your family, and maybe even not having to wear makeup every day!
But, it’s not all comfy sweats and makeup-free fun! If you’re like me, distractions happen, and that sometimes leads to less than productive days.
Here are four tips to work more effectively from home:
My Home Office
1. Create a designated work space
Let’s think about your office at work. What types of things is it filled with? Just like a workplace space, you need a dedicated space at home that can help you separate personal and professional duties. If you’re one of the few lucky ones, you can work productively from anywhere, no matter what is going on around you. But, the rest of us may need to create a dedicated space – away from the commotion and distractions our homes tend to create – whether it’s a separate room (with a door, so you don’t hear your kid’s Math Lesson being taught, or your husband on a phone call), a desk stocked full of office supplies and chargers/cords, or just a clean part of the kitchen or dining room table. Anywhere that can help your brain realize that you are in a space where you can be productive without distraction will work!
Bonus points if the space is pretty and makes you happy!
For more guidance in setting up your pretty and productive Work-From-Home or School-From-Home space, remember to download this free resource, 10 Tips to Setting Up Your Home Office During a Pandemic!
2. Create a To-Do List
What’s better than marking things off a list, right? Creating a checklist for the day’s work tasks will help you focus and stay on track, as well as help you prioritize what’s most important to get done for the day. I like to make a to-do list, and then prioritize by choosing the Top 3 Results I must accomplish by the end of the day. I call this Top 3 Results list my “Must-Dos” but some call it their “Power List” or “Today’s Results”, but of course you can call it whatever you like!
To-do lists are great for long-term and daily goals. Let’s be honest, finishing a long day and seeing multiple items checked off your list makes you feel accomplished, productive, and just plain good!
And if you get to the end of the day, and you think to yourself “what in the world did I do today?” I find it good for your mental health to make a list of your “Got Dones” — physically write out all the millions of things you did do that day — and check them off! It helps to acknowledge all of our accomplishments, even the daily ones like doing laundry, answering that email has been looming over you, attending all 3 Zoom meetings scheduled for that day, or getting a workout in!
Getty Image from U.S. Chamber of Commerce article about Working From Home
3. Schedule and Plan your Day
Working from home requires a schedule much like your office job. The main difference here is if you have children also working from home. So, if that is the case, you’ll have to take into account those commitments and find a routine that lets you take care of those. It may be helpful to give your tasks for the day a time block on the calendar, along with your child’s schedule, so you can visually see what the day looks like. You can even share it with coworkers, so they know when you’re free to meet and when you will be taking care of personal items. And definitely share it with others in the home, so they know when they can talk with you and when they cannot.
Pro tip: Allow extra time for most planned activities, because while we are all working from home, there WILL BE interruptions you will have to address (i.e. Amazon deliveries, kids arguing, the dog got out of the yard, technology glitches, etc.).
Daily Schedule Templates and Apps are found everywhere – in print form, in apps, on your computer desktop. Microsoft Office has lots to choose from that are free, including a template for scheduling Chores, a Daily Schedule, a Student Schedule, and more! Or, using Google Calendar or your phone’s calendar app, you can color coordinate your calendar, so that each kind of task gets a different color … OR each person in the family gets a different color, so that with one glance on the calendar you can see who is doing what, and at what time of day. Use technology to help you!
4. Actively Minimize Distractions & Online Activity
Ok, I’ve saved the toughest one for last. You’ve carved out a dedicated work space, created your list of to-dos, and mapped out a schedule; now it’s time to put it all together and get it done! I’m sure most of us are now doing the majority of our work from a computer, which means, the internet is calling your name!
Allow yourself to check in before you start work and on breaks — literally schedule these “brain breaks” in your daily calendar. When it’s time to work, close all of those distracting tabs and sites and put away your phone!
I also find it very helpful to take a “brain break” away from the computer altogether. Go for a walk, make a cup of coffee and sit outside for a minute, hug your kids, pet your dog, or my favorite – turn on HGTV to catch the last 5 minutes of the show so you see the big reveal 🙂 — basically, you just want to create a quick and rejuvenating change of scenery.
We are all still navigating this new way of working, and working from home takes discipline. It will take a little time and practice, but these four steps will help us stay on track so we feel accomplished at the end of the day.
The key to this work-life balance is to establish boundaries and take care of ourselves. Get the family on-board with your new plan, and reach out when you need help. We’re all in this together, so if I can help you create a functional work or living space, please just send me a quick email or schedule your FREE Discovery Call! email@example.com
Home by Hattan
Hi! I’m Karen, owner and lead designer at Home by Hattan, and I am so glad you’re here! I design beautiful, happy homes for exceptional families – like yours!
Whether you’re looking to create a calming work space or redesigning your home for a new challenge – from divorce, relocation, adoption, or a special need, I’m here to help turn your dream into your dream home!
A design project is a big decision, and that’s why I provide a complimentary discover call – so we can meet, talk through your needs and wants, discuss any unique situations, and walk through the design process.
Together, we create a functional, beautiful home so you can connect with loved ones and entertain in style!