Corona virus means many people are now working from home. I already do that! As explained earlier, I have this consulting thing all sorted. But, it’s not easy and it took me a while to establish a good routine. Here are my top tips for making it work.
Combatting loneliness and social media
1. Working from home is a bit isolating and this makes Facebook and Instagram even more seductive. Put a timer on them. I use the “blocksite” app.
2. Organize at least one or two social outings each week. Work with a colleague or friend from a coffee shop or your dining table for half a day or a day. Or, schedule a skype call with a friend if you are on actual lockdown.
Keep up a good routine
3. Try and keep somewhat consistent timings for work, exercise, showering, snacks, and meals.
4. Having a routine also means knowing exactly how to take a break. The whole benefit of working from home is that you can be more responsive to your productivity highs and lows. If I get conceptually overwhelmed or annoyed with something, and need to stand back – it’s great to have the opportunity for a 15-minute coffee & stare out the window break, or even a nap. Don’t miss this opportunity, it’s the very best thing about working from home.
5. Exercise and movement are important. Think of the daily commute and how much movement and thinking time you get out of that. Adopt some kind of exercise to compensate.
6. Take housework breaks. Housework can be very distracting when you work from home (dirty floors can be all-consuming when you’re working to a deadline). However, it’s a great way to take a short break and move without losing momentum. I get up to put a load of laundry on, and an hour later get up again to hang it out (see #5).
7. Let your kids and pets interrupt you (a little bit). I have already written about how the presence of kids boosts creativity. I think we can all agree that dosage matters.
Create a dedicated space
8. Make sure you have a door you can shut. If this is not literally possible, you will need to do other things to create a sense of a dedicated workspace (maybe a screen).
9. Get headphones or speakers to block out distracting noise. I find fairly depressing or classical makes me more productive, l go to Nick Cave, the Verve and Erik Satie.
Over-communicate for collaboration
10. When you are not co-located with people, it’s harder to make sure you’re all on the same page for tasks. It’s really easy to make assumptions about commonality of vision. You need to communicate very clearly with people when you collaborate, maybe even put things in writing. Of course, it’s a little less efficient to work collaboratively when you are not co-located, you just need to account for this in planning tasks.