By Carina Silva
If you find yourself triggered by the Microsoft Teams ringtone, this is for you.
At this point, working from home (WFH) has become the new normal, and most of us can’t bare the thought of going back to the office. Working in our PJs, getting to snuggle with our pets all day and unlimited access to the fridge and coffee machine, how could we pass this up?
However, what seems like a sanctuary is subtly causing us to develop some bad habits – I can be the first to call myself out on this.
Now, I am not saying going to back to the office is the end all be all, but a lot of us got thrown into this work situation without the proper tools needed to be successful and productive from home.
And because of this, a lot of us are struggling to separate work life and home life.
But it doesn’t have to stay that way.
The solution isn’t in the work environment, but in the way one approaches the work environment. Because in all reality, it doesn’t matter where someone works, the pandemic has taught all of us that work can (quite literally) be done from anywhere.
If you are reading this right now with your 3rd cup of coffee in hand, PJs still on and wondering why it isn’t 5pm yet, stick around for some helpful tips.
1. Get Out of Your PJs!
So, I love my sweatpants just as much as the next person, but studies show that what you wear largely affects how you feel.
Have you ever heard of the phrase “look good, feel good”? In psychological terms, this is called enclothed cognition. What we wear affects our behavior, attitudes, personality, mood, confidence, and even the way we interact with others.
In my experience, whenever I take the time to make myself look presentable, I find myself feeling more confident, productive and even energized.
Bottom line is, don’t go digging out your business casual. Instead of staying in your PJs when you work from home, try changing your clothes to something casual (and still comfy) and see what that does for your productivity.
2. Make lists – yes, they work!
Believe it or not, remote workers are found to be more productive than in the office as stated by Stanford.
But let’s face it, we all have our bad days and productivity won’t always be there.
If you are struggling to get tasks done on a daily basis or undergo the afternoon fatigue, dedicate the first hour of your workday making a list of tasks that you need and/or want to get done that day.
These can range anywhere from small tasks like checking emails to project related tasks.
I personally feel very accomplished when I can cross things off my list. The more I cross off, the more motivated I become to get through that list of tasks.
This is a useful tip I utilize both for work and my personal life.
How you decide to rank your list is dependent on your productivity levels throughout the day and the type of work you are doing.
If you have any routine tasks, add those at the beginning of your day so you can focus on larger tasks the rest of the day in order of importance.
Balancing priorities is not only a skill that will allow you to succeed in your career, but also in daily life!
3. Balance out your day!
Out of the three tips I am sharing that I’ve adopted into my WFH routine, this one is the most important.
Distractions are a lot more prevalent when we’re at home and are the leading reason why individuals have trouble separating work life and home life.
It’s very easy to get lost in time doing chores around the house or taking a cell phone break that ends up lasting 30 minutes instead of 5.
Staying focused at home is hard but it doesn’t have to be.
In addition to making a list of work-related tasks to get done for the day, include times you want to take short breaks and dedicate that time to do a task that is not work related.
Depending on your day, set a manageable time frame for your break so you are not getting carried away. Doing this will help prevent you from losing track of time and ending up having to scramble meeting your deadlines.
Taking small breaks throughout the day will allow you to recharge and will dimmish burnout created from work related tasks.
You do not have to be glued to your desk the entire day. If no one has told you already… take your breaks!
Let’s be real with ourselves, working from home is great, but there are days where our couch sounds a lot better than our desks.
Instead of giving in, give one of these tips a try.
Working from home is something I have grown to enjoy and has taught me a lot about balancing my time and managing my priorities in a way that the office could not.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Carina Silva is originally from Chicago, IL and received her bachelor's degree from Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington IL. She will be moving to Phoenix this year for her new job and to escape the snow! Carina currently works for a research consultancy firm in Scottsdale, AZ and is passionate about Market Research. She loves hiking and her Corgi, Rambo.