Make work from home effective for you!
With the majority of us resorting to working at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this type of work experience might be the norm moving forward. Working from home has its benefits—you save time since you don’t need to wake up early and commute for work, and you have more time to be with your family and loved ones in the process.
Those new to the idea will take a while to get used to it, especially with being productive for the day. Working at home has its fair share of temptations: easy access to snacks, the convenience of taking a power nap in-between work, and the temptation of binging Netflix shows while working.
While I have been working at home for a few years already, there are still a few new things I learn along the way. Recently, I and several members of the media from Southeast Asia had a videoconference with Google Productivity Expert Laura Mae Martin to learn more about working from home. The hour-long video call gave me fresh insights on improving my work from home experience. Here are some of Martin’s tips:
Make time for yourself! As you save at least an hour of your day (since you don’t need to commute to work), Martin suggests dedicating at least 30 minutes to something you like to do. For example, when you wake up in the morning, you can start off by meditating, writing something on your journal, or prepare your favorite cup of coffee. These little things really help in starting your day right.
Plan ahead. Since you are most likely working on your own (save for the occasional virtual meetings), its best to plan out your day the night before. Martin emphasizes this, as having a well-planned day will help you do things outside of work, ie. taking care of your child or your pets.
Find your rhythm. Since you are not constrained to the typical 8-5, it is best to find your rhythm when it comes to working. It does not matter if you are a morning person or a night owl, or you go for occasional afternoon siestas—what’s important is to find which rhythm works for you so that you can do more and still have time for yourself.
Set boundaries. While working at home means you have different places at home where you can work, Martin suggests that you should designate specific spots at home where you will be focused on work. In addition, Martin adds that you should also designate spots where you should not bring work along with you. “Your brain needs a break in certain rooms and needs to learn to focus when in certain spots.”
Being productive is not limited to work. The common notion of being productive is doing the most number of work-related tasks in a day. However, Martin adds that being productive also means “setting the right intention of what you would like to achieve and do well.” For example, if taking your dogs out for a walk is part of your daily tasks, that counts as being productive for the day even if it is not work-related.
BONUS: There are days when we are in a slump, and that’s okay. We are all human, and there are days when we don’t feel productive at all. It’s not a bad thing: Martin explains that being in a slump also means “being in a different energy than usual”, and that sometimes can help you tap new ideas in being productive. The same goes from work from home fatigue: when you encounter such moments, Martin suggests to use that time to create new habits and ask yourself, “how do I reshape the way I work to be successful?”
*All photographs from Unsplash.