Tips for Creating a Work From Home Schedule
While working from home might feel like a dream…at least at first, there can also be innumerable challenges. As someone who’s worked from home since 2012, I can say that creating a schedule has been a complete game-changer, and is something that I always recommend for those who are new to working from home.
Define Your Working Hours
Depending on your working arrangement, this might already be set by your employer or client, however, if it’s not, make it a priority to do this yourself. If you work directly with customers, clients, or team members you might find that typical 9–5 hours work well for you. Or, you can always adjust this depending on your own time zone and those you work with.
Another idea is to choose a split shift schedule. This might look like working for 4–6 hours in the morning/afternoon and then putting in an additional hour or two later on in the evening. This often works well for parents wanting to spend time with their young children.
In fact, I really like the split shift schedule and am doing this now, as I’m currently writing this at 8 PM. I find that I lag in the afternoon but typically get another spurt of energy around 7–9 PM, which allows me to rest in the afternoon and get the rest of my work done later in the evening.
Regardless of what you do, find a schedule that works for you and stick to it. Or, try a few different options until you find a schedule that makes you feel productive and works for your lifestyle. Following set business hours will also help you to avoid the trap of working 24 hours a day that is easy for remote workers to fall into.
Recognize Your Biggest Distractions + Hurdles
When I started working remotely, this was one of my biggest struggles. It’s important to recognize early on where you might get tripped up with working online. For example, you could find that whenever you are faced with a difficult work task, you face the temptation of checking Instagram or YouTube.
Once you know what your biggest distractions are, you need to come up with a solid game plan for tackling those problems.
If you’re tempted by social media or other websites, then you might need to close all of your tabs or applications except for the specific task that you’re working on. Or, keep your phone on airplane mode or in another room, if possible.
I’ve also found that when I’m avoiding a work project, it’s because I either don’t know where to start or the project itself is too large. Try breaking things down into small segments or implement the Pomodoro Method by working in 20–25-minute spurts.
Set Aside Specific Times for Household Chores + Tasks
When you first start working from home, it’s not uncommon to find yourself doing laundry, dishes, or cleaning on the house when you SHOULD be working.
I’ll admit, I’ve done this myself in the past. However, I have found over time that scheduling these tasks ahead of time helps to prevent the temptation of working on household chores during working hours.
For instance, if you know that having dishes in the dish or a hamper full of dirty laundry will bother you, then determine specific non-working hours for these tasks. Or, try taking 15–20 before you start working in the morning or a few minutes before bed to put things in order.
Don’t Forget to Schedule Lunch + Breaks
While it might seem really type A, I find that it’s essential to schedule a specific time for lunch and mini-breaks throughout the day. By setting a specific time for lunch each day, this also gives you a solid deadline for when you need or hope to finish your morning tasks.
Similarly, if you don’t take the time to schedule specific breaks, it’s likely that it won’t happen, or you’ll work straight through the day and end up feeling burnt out and then binge on YouTube videos or Instagram.
Personally, I find that a handful of 5–15-minute breaks is the ideal fit for me. I also like to fit in at least 1 slightly longer block of time (20–30 minutes) for an afternoon walk.
Use some trial and error and find what works for you.
Create An End of Day Ritual
Whether it’s closing down your computer, making a cup of tea, or going for a walk, having a specific ritual is a great way to end your day and separate work from your personal life.
If you have an end of day ritual that you really enjoy, this can also be great motivation to keep yourself going throughout your workday and will give you something to look forward to.
For any of you who are working from home for the first time due to the current Corona Virus, I want you to know that you can do this. If you’re struggling with the adjustment of working from home, just take it one day at a time. It will get easier, and remember that any adjustment or change requires patience and a lot of trial and error. As someone who’s worked from home for almost a decade, I’m still figuring things out myself.
If you need any extra guidance or tips, feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com I’d be happy to help. We’re all in this together, friends. 😊
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