The #1 question I got at the beginning of the pandemic was, “How do you work from home and actually get stuff done?” I love working from home. The Sky Floor even paid for a shared office for a couple of years, and I nevertheless stayed home to work. Even pre-pandemic. Even with my kids running around.
Even if you don’t prefer it, you may still be working from home or will have to in the future. After over a decade of working from home, here are my tips:
1. Step Away from the Computer (and no one gets hurt)
Turn it off. Most days, put your computer away at the end of the day and don’t look at it until you need to again. I have also turned off notifications on my iPhone as well for work email. When I am working, I am on my computer. If I need to check email on my phone, I can pull it up, but I don’t want my dedicated family time to be forcibly interrupted with work.
2. Find Your Spot
Where will you sit? Most WFH tips are going to say to find a dedicated spot that is peaceful and quiet.
Here is my secret: I love being in the flow of family life most of the time. Even when I am working, I typically spend most of my day sitting at my dining room table. I have plans for a more dedicated home office someday, but only for deep work or calls.
Is this a challenge sometimes? Yes, but I like my kids to learn boundaries and perceive the value of working hard and concentrating – even during everyday life. Being in the flow of the house motivates me to keep on going. When I have a call, I can steal away to the basement or upstairs.
Remember, we are aiming for a balanced life, not just work/life balance.
3. Take a Break
It can be easy to work all day without stopping because you are at home. Make sure to pause at least every hour and walk around, get a new cup of coffee, and get some blood flowing. You won’t have co-workers stop by on their break and ask you to join, so you may need to be more intentional about breaks.
4. Truly Work
If you have many unfinished chores around the house, pick small ones to tackle during breaks, but avoid that huge, pressing house project unless it is an emergency that would have brought you home from the office.
The number one WFH conversation I have with people is how they struggle to get their work done instead of their housework. Get up a little early (but later than when you go to the office) and knock out the tasks that will bother you. Remember, your whole living space is your cubicle; keep it clean and ready to go.
5. AirPods Pro are a Lifesaver
Sometimes I need to throw in my Airpods and listen to some music. The noise-canceling helps keep me focused, and I can quickly take a call between my computer and phone without manually switching between the devices.
I am a pacer when I talk on the phone so having excellent wireless ability is a must. I can walk clear around my whole house without moving my phone or computer – this means fewer dropped calls since the cell antenna is stationary.
If you have Apple products, I really can’t recommend them enough. Any noise-canceling earbuds will probably work, just in case you have green bubbles on your text messages.
If you work from home or did, what helped make it successful for you?