Working from home is not a walk in the park. There are plenty of distractions at home as much as there are distractions in the office, too. Some people might think that you have all the time in your hands to do other things because you are working from home. But flexible working hours have their downsides too. The fact that you are working at home means you are distracted by many things in your personal life. Even if you do not have kids at home, it isn’t easy to concentrate on personal tasks, errands, and surroundings.
With that in mind, here are five tips to help you manage your time better while working at home:
1. Wake Up Early
The first thing you have to learn when working from home is to wake up early. Working from home does not give you the freedom to wake up when you want to, regardless of its impact on your schedule. Stick to your working hours, even if it means waking up at the same hour you wake up if you are commuting to work. People have plenty of energy in the morning. This is the best time to do everything you must. At the same time, your whole life and household are still deep in slumber, which means no kids, siblings, and annoying telemarketing calls.
Be deliberate about your mornings. Try to exercise and meditate. Drink your coffee on the balcony or in your backyard. Give this time to yourself. It is the only quiet time you’ll have until it’s bedtime once more.
2. Prepare Meals in Advance
What is the one thing that distracts you most at home? It’s the fact that there is no nearby diner or deli from where you can grab a sandwich for lunch. Preparing meals while you are working from home can be super distracting. Cutting onions, sautéing them, and cooking the dish is a wonderful process when you have all the time in the world. But it’s not the same when you are in the middle of trying to beat the deadline at work. When you are working, the traditional process of prepping meals becomes a distraction.
There is a way around it, of course. You can check out home-cooked food delivery services. These are subscription meal boxes that these companies deliver straight to your door. This means no more need to prepare and cook your meals. Someone else will do that for you. Even better is that they can portion control these meals for you so you don’t eat more than you need to maintain your fitness level.
3. Do as Much as You Can in the Morning
Mornings are your best friend when you are working from home. You can do many things in the morning—jog, drink coffee, exercise, prepare meals in advance, do the laundry, clean the house, wash the dishes from last night, etc. You can better tackle all the demanding tasks in the morning when you are fueled by the energy you gained from having a good night’s sleep. What you do in the morning will also affect the rest of your day, as your mornings dictate how the rest of the day will go. A bad morning will be hard to turn around.
4. Have Your Own Space
This is the one thing that a lot of people do not understand about working from home. You cannot work on the dining room table or the living room with a foldable desk. Even if it’s the smallest room in the house, even if it happens to be as small as a cupboard, you must have your own space.
It doesn’t matter if it is just a little enclosed corner in the basement, attic, or garage. What’s important is that you will be away from distractions there? You will be on your own. Initially, you should have your own home office, one that has a window from where the natural light can stream in. But if that is not possible, then the next best thing to have is your own space, as far away from household distractions as possible.
5. Set Limits
Finally, set limits to what you will allow while you are working from home. Sure, you are only at home and don’t even need to put on office clothes, but that doesn’t mean that others can abuse your time or whatever is left of it. Your bosses and colleagues shouldn’t call you after office hours. Your friends should respect your working hours, which means no cajoling to go shopping when you should be working.
Although a place of solitude and comfort, your house is not exactly the best place to work. Even though you love the idea of staying at home and earning while not needing to commute to and from work, there is much to be said about the stress of managing your time when you are working from home. So stick to the formula that works for you. There is no perfect strategy when working from home, but you can pick lessons from trying and trying.