Guest Post by John Castle
Are you working from home?
Many workers have begun working from home as part of the policies of their employer or government. The coronavirus outbreak shows few, if any, credible signs of slowing down: we may be here for longer than first expected. Remaining productive during that time can benefit both the individual and the economy overall. Moreover, for many of us, it will be more fulfilling than months of binge-watching Netflix while half-measuring it at work.
As a real estate agent, I have the option of completing much of my work from home. I've learned that, despite all the freedom working from home presents, it can be more challenging. Working in a work environment has a way of putting people in a productive state of mind. After all, many of us have built habits of working at work and of not working at home. Whatever the cause, this post is about solutions. So let's look at some of the most effective things you can do to stay productive at home.
5 Tip's To Be Productive While Working From Home
1. Avoid working where you DON'T work
Some home spaces are more work-focused than others. The bedroom (and especially the bed) are the least work-focused. Similarly, family rooms and living rooms aren't especially work-focused. Not only do we not have habits of being productive in these rooms, they're usually not equipped with the kind of furniture that makes us feel productive. For example, most of my time spent on couches is spent relaxing. Having my butt on a soft surface is not a productivity queue for me.
2. Work where you DO work
If you have a home office, then you have a room that may already have some nascent work habits associated with it. If you don't have a home office, the kitchen is a productive space. I find that I'm more productive working in the eating area than I am in other rooms. The eating area furniture is another advantage. Kitchen chairs feel more like work chairs than couches and lounge chairs do. Kitchen chairs also aren't great for slouching in; so you're more likely to assume the posture you have at work. Moreover, the kitchen table is a lot more like a desk than your lap is. Call it a personal theory, but I think the similarities between the kitchen eating area and a work station desk queue the habits I've built while sitting at a desk. Those habits are usually work-related, and so they tend to benefit my productivity.
3. Dress like you're working
Continuing that same line of reasoning, it makes sense to dress like you do while working. I've also found that, at the very least, it helps to avoid dressing in the clothes I wear when I'm relaxing. So no jogging pants, no pajamas, etc. I don't always go all the way to wearing a blazer when I'm at home. However, when I work at home, I try and dress well enough that I wouldn't be embarrassed to meet a client in that attire. Put on a decent pair of pants and tuck in your shirt. Of everything you can put on to elicit your productive habits, I've found leather shoes to be the most powerful. It's hard to feel like you're home and relaxing when you have dress shoes on.
4. Set some boundaries with your children
If you have children, they may be tempted to interact with you like they normally do. My mother was an urban planning consultant. She had the benefit of a home office. More importantly, she had the benefit of a door between her work and us. She explained to us that, when the door was closed, we should act like she was in an office somewhere else. In fact, if we wanted to talk to her during work hours, we had had to call her.
5. Mix some activity into your work
Even desk work has some amount of movement involves. You walk to your car, to the printer, into meetings, and so on. For a non-physical job, my work has more movement than most. I've found that being stationary can weigh on me. To fix the problem I set up a desk at my treadmill. I live fairly close to a few shops, so I also make a point of walking to do the errands that take me there. Lastly, on mornings where I'm having a hard time kicking myself into gear, I do jumping jacks. Ten or twenty jumping jacks will get you ready to go. If there's one advantage working at home has over working from the office - it's the option to do jumping jacks when you need energy.
You can stay productive at home by making your work from home experience as similar as possible to your usual work experience, minimizing interruptions, and by staying active.
Get To It!
What is one change you will make to your current working conditions that will help improve your productivity? These tips will only help you if you commit to using them, so choose ATLEAST one that you will follow through on.
About The Author
John Castle is a top-performing investment real estate agent with Keller Williams in Ottawa Ontario. You can find him at www.johncastle.ca