The alarm rings. You roll over, stare at your phone, debating whether to snooze it or get out of bed. This is your normal routine each morning but today is different. It is different because the only place you have to go is your living room. This is different because you have a choice. No one is expecting your arrival. No one will be waiting for a meeting or knocking on your office door to make sure you are on time. You are not alone. This is foreign territory for millions of people in the world today.
The alarm rings. You now have a decision to make. Get going or hit snooze again. Many of us are entrepreneurs. We have been running to the rhythm of our own beat for years. It is in our DNA. But even more of us enjoy the routine and dependability of a normal, get up and go to work type of day. Many enjoy being given the routine schedule. We enjoy the meetings and projects that are scheduled for us.
Yet others, are the meeting planners. We thrive on creating our own day and business. These two approaches could not be further from each other, yet the situation we are facing currently has now thrown the idea of ‘entrepreneur’ into the laps of many who never sought to live this way.
So how do you function within this lifestyle? How do you juggle the convenience of home with the rigors of to do lists and project boards? How do you stay in contact with your co-workers and team? How do you ignore all of the household chores that now stare at you all day long?
Let’s explore your work from home survival kit by setting 6 essential rules for working from the place you’re really used to simply living in:
1. Get up and get that game time uniform on
This is the single most important detail of working from home you will experience. Every single work from home article you read will list this very rule at the top of their list, if not first. Why? Because getting up, getting dressed and preparing for your day like normal, shifts your mind into preparing for work.
The psyche of the mind is a very powerful thing. Do you change clothes when you workout? Yes. Partially for comfort and convenience but you also do this to reset your mind. Do you change clothes at the end of the workday? Sweats, a t-shirt, shorts, something comfortable to let you know ‘I am home.’
This very practice that you normally partake in applies to your mornings and workday regardless of where you are. Get up. Get dressed. Iron your clothes. Shower. Do your hair. Keep the very routine you would practice if you were heading to the office.
“Productivity is never an accident. It’s the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning & focused effort.” – Paul Meyer
2. Great planning means great vision
If someone were to follow you to your place of work and log your day for a week, one thing would become clear: you have a routine.
No matter what that routine is, keep it at home during your work day. Sure there may be some elements that vary. You may have children to tend to. You may have pets that need walked or taken out. You may have other family living at home. For the most part your routine can remain the same.
If you get a cup of coffee on your way to work or once you get to the office, do the same at home. If you check emails first thing, do the same at home. If you say hi to certain coworkers, give them a call from home. Do everything you can to keep your routine the same. It will help shift your mind into work mode and give you more focus for the day.
3. If your phone rings, smash it
You don’t have to completely smash it. There are really good benefits to working from home but there are also major traps. The greatest trap is distraction. When you are at your normal place of work you have built in accountability that is impossible to replicate at home.
Your team is at your office. Your boss is at your office. They are not following you home during this season of work. It is up to you to hold yourself accountable. It is obvious that hours are wasted at work by surfing social media and chat among workers but this pails in comparison to the temptation you will have working from home.
Netflix, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, TikTok, the list of distractions goes on and on so you must set technology boundaries. Set times throughout the day allowing yourself space to peruse the social media world, then get back to work. 15 minutes of allowable technology will do wonders in keeping you on task and accountable.
4. Space: the final frontier
Clear a desk, empty a room and get organized. You have entered a new season of life, if only temporary, that can become a season of great empowerment and a designated workspace will open the door for just that.
Once you decide where you are going to work within your home, decide how you are going to work within that space. Do the things you would do at the office. Arrange your new area to replicate and simulate the actions and behaviors you would take part in each day.
An uncontrollable lifestyle has been thrust upon you and now you are taking charge and creating as much controllable space as possible. Designate your space. Clear away distractions. Follow your routine and watch those project lists melt away.
5. What you put in is what you get out
Nutrition may be the last thing on anyone’s mind when discussing essentials at home but people love snacks and it’s easy to snack when you are home all day. Do not fall into this trap.
Food is fuel you need in order to thrive during this season of life. Set food boundaries in your house, especially during your work day. Meal prep like you normally would and in that meal prep select the snacks you would normally allow yourself at work.
Set your snacks in your designated work area so you don’t find yourself grazing through those cookies or pouring that next bowl of cereal just because it is available. You want to get through this season with your health in tact. Set your nutrition boundaries like you normally would and do not stray from them. Besides, those cookies will be there when you finish your work day.
“Productivity is less about what you do with your time. And more about how you run your mind.” – Robin Sharma
6. Grab your jump rope in 3..2..1!
Moving your body is an essential tool you can begin while you are working from home, then take to your place of work when your schedule resumes as normal. Many companies provide opportunities for their people to partake in physical activity but many do not.
If you are normally not one to take walk breaks then start now! Use your work sprint timer and schedule to empower 15-20 minute breaks throughout the day that allow you to go outside and move. The sun is great for your body and mind and taking a short walk will do wonders for your productivity.
Even if your day includes working out before or after work, still plan some breaks for physical activity throughout the day. This is a great time to implement this healthy habit. Once you return to your normal schedule you can practice this habit at your workplace as well!