If you’re new to remote working, don’t you worry! I’m here to help with some precious working from home guidelines. Scroll down to find my 7 essential tips to get you started with WFH from a remote work veteran (a.k.a. me!).
The pandemic got us all like… “huh, how do I hide my video during a Zoom call?!” during the transition from #officelife to #workingfromhome. Some of you might know a thing or two about this, while others might be complete beginners when it comes to this subject. Worry not, as I’m here to help you with my ultimate guide to working from home!
There are some mornings when I feel unmotivated, while on other days I feel ready to conquer the world. Regardless of my mood when I wake up, one thing’s for sure: if you’re a freelancer, entrepreneur or a new home-based employee, that task list won’t complete by itself!
So let’s get started:
1 - Create a good morning routine
A good day starts with a good morning, right after you wake up. This is the moment when the mood for the entire day will be set. So why not make the best of it, am I right?
In my experience being a digital nomad, I have found that my morning routine is one of the most important aspects of my day, regardless of where I’m based in the world. My routine is actually a key element in completing my task list, so I recommend creating a balanced morning routine that works FOR YOU!
Let me tell you a little bit about my routine, for example. I like to wake up at the same hour every weekday, early at 6.30am. I go to the gym (or do a home workout) at 7.00 before taking a long shower. Then I make myself a matcha latte, take my time while preparing breakfast. Then I check my e-mails and to-do list for the day. And then I’m ready to go! My aim is to always be ready to work at 9.00am. That’s my official ‘clock in’ time. Depending on what’s on my priority list for the day, I either get dressed to get out of the house or I sit at my desk and open my laptop. And so the day begins!
Your morning routine might look different than mine – and that’s perfectly fine. Some people like to meditate in the morning in order to improve focus or do a quick yoga session. Or maybe you prefer skipping breakfast or drinking some hot tea instead of an espresso. Nothing wrong with that! The key here is to find what works for you and keep it consistent!
2. Get dressed!
Wondering how to get started working from home? Simple: get up and get dressed!
The way we dress has a strong impact on our overall mood and productivity and it is known that getting dressed in the morning plays a key role in our productivity. I like to put on a comfy dress or one of my two-piece loungewear, apply some moisturizer and lip balm, brush my hair or do a messy bun and that’s it!
Although staying in your pyjamas all day is a cosy thing to do, let’s face it: we don’t always feel like writing that complicated e-mail or finishing that long due report when we’re dressed for getting in bed! Plus, you’ll be much more prepared for those unexpected Zoom or Skype meetings when you’re already dressed up.
RELATED READ: WFH Loungewear: My Cozy must-haves
3 - Set up a proper home workplace
This is one of the key tips on working remotely that has improved my productivity completely: setting up a proper workspace in my home. This means a separate space (if your house is big enough) or just a separate corner where you set up your desk, a good, comfy chair, your laptop and maybe even some plants as well (you know, for ambiance). This will be your spot where all work should be done – this means no working from bed or from your sofa, regardless of how cosy that may sound.
Trust me, this will boost your productivity and maybe even your creativity as well and you’ll know that, once you get up in the morning and sit on THAT chair, you’ll be ready to rock the day!
TIP: I found out that, for me, having a minimalist work desk works best, with no clutter or distractions around me. If you need help with this, scroll down to find my recommended items for creating your working station at home!
4 - Create a realistic task list
Heh, this is one of the things I’m still struggling with. It’s extremely easy to overestimate the number of things you can do in one single day. It’s sooo easy to overcrowd your task list in the morning, only to realise by evening that you’re not even halfway to achieve your goal.
And the main mistake here is not creating a realistic task list. Let’s be honest here: you don’t need to do everything in only ONE day in order to feel proud of yourself. You can spread those important tasks over the course of a couple of days, prioritising everything, and you may end up realising that everything was much easier than you expected.
If you ask me, knowing your limits is an extremely important aspect of feeling productive at the end of the day, so it’s better to prioritise and divide than to overwork yourself for nothing.
5 - Plan your work hours and breaks
Here’s another key element in organising your work routine for the day: make sure to plan your work hours and breaks. And take them seriously!
When we work at home, it’s super easy to exceed that normal, healthy 8-hour limit for work hours and to end up working until 10 PM without even realising it. Or to be so focused on dozens of tasks at once that you forget to eat, drink water or stretch. But the good news is that there’s a simple solution here: plan your work hours and breaks in advance, preferably at the beginning of your day.
This way, you’ll know that, for example, you’ll work hard from 9 to 12, then have a one-hour lunch break where you enjoy some peace and quiet, then continue working until 3. Then you can take another small break for a snack or another cup of coffee, then finish your day by 5, if that’s a realistic timeframe for you. Just mix and match your work schedule until you find something that works for you, your job and your projects. And, most importantly, make sure to stick to that work-break schedule!
TIP: It’s strongly advised to get up and stretch for 1-2 minutes every hour. Trust me, your body will thank you at the end of the day!
6 - Hold strong boundaries with your housemates
Working from home full time can be challenging, especially if you don’t live by yourself. Maybe you live with your other half or you have some roommates or housemates. Or kids as well! That’s completely normal, but when you have a work schedule that you have to stick to, it’s important to communicate that with those around you.
Make sure your loved one knows that, even though you love spending time together, you won’t be available to watch movies or cuddle during your work hours, but you’ll be more than happy to spend time together after finishing your tasks. Same goes for your roommates as well. As for your kids, you can always create distractions for them during the day. So make sure everybody knows that, if they respect these boundaries, that will actually help you be more productive and proud of yourself at the end of the day. No negotiations here!
Strong boundaries will help you be more focused on your tasks without feeling guilty and without letting people around you distract you from what’s important when it comes to your work and personal projects. Communication and sticking to the plan are key elements here!
7 - Make sure you have the right home office essentials
Being focused and having a well-organised schedule are important factors, but that’s not everything you need in order to conquer the day! Yep, you also need some proper home office essentials, my friends!
It took me a while to find the best desk for me and the right chair, as well as the ideal laptop stand and the perfect noise-cancelling headphones. But it’s do-able!
In order to make the search MUCH easier for you, I have compiled a list with my recommended essentials that have helped me create the ultimate at-home working station:
- Adjustable standing desk – D4P Adjustable Tilting Workstation
- Desk Water – Glass Water Jug with lid
- Power socket extension – MiiKARE Extension 8 way Power Chord
- Phone stand – OMTON Phone Stand
- Laptop board – HUANUO Laptop Tray
- Laptop stand – NULAXY Laptop Stand
- Keyboard and Mouse – Seenda Slim Thin Wireless Keyboard and Mouse
- Anti blue light glasses – Franc and Iris
- Noise-cancelling headphones – Bose SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones
Heh, what do you think? This was my complete list with essential remote working tips. If you find yourself asking “how can we work from home without distractions” or if you ended up searching on Google “how to survive working from home” in these pretty confusing times, I hope this article has helped you get started.
I tried to compile a complete guide to working from home after thinking hard about the tips and tricks that have helped me over the years. And I’m pretty sure you’ll find everything you need here.
Remember: the hardest thing is to get up and get started. Everything else will be a breeze if you have the right mindset and the right tools to help you. You can do this!