Working from home is a pipe-dream for many. Those who work in an office setting often fantasize about what it would be like to roll out of bed, open their laptop and ‘be at work’. The reality is that working from home can actually prove to be challenging in more than one way. I, self-admittedly, struggle with working from home and I have had to implement my own strategies to ensure I am staying on track (and on task!).
Whether you are working remotely for a company or you are your own boss, this list likely includes some of the challenges you run up against as well.
Eat healthy, eat regularly!
One of my biggest struggles is making sure I don’t let too many hours slip by in the day without topping up my energy tank. I manage to make myself enough coffees to caffeinate the entire neighbourhood, but I somehow forget to eat a proper lunch. I find myself snacking much too late in the day, when I finally realise I have let my blood-sugar levels crash.
Solution: Prepare a lunch the night before to pull it out the next day at lunch. If we worked in an office, we would make our lunch to take to work with us, so why not get into that same habit of being prepared at home ? There are so many great recipes out there for ‘salads in a jar’ or delicious sandwiches which could be thrown together in no time. I just know that when I make sure to eat properly in the day, I am much more focussed.
When you’re in an office, surrounded by your colleagues, it’s unlikely you would sit on your phone perusing Instagram or have every social media and online shopping site open in your tabs on your computer screen. Some companies even make it impossible to access certain sites from your work computer. At home though, on your own personal computer, and on your own schedule, online distractions are abundant and too easily accessible. These distractions are also the biggest time suck, as we all know to well.
Solution: Close out every tab on your browser than isn’t the exact tab you need open to knock items off your to-do list. If you’re writing a blog post (like I am right now), there is no need for Facebook to be open in my browser. Seeing the little number in brackets informing me of new notifications is a distraction no matter how hard I try to ignore it. As for text messages and Instagram (and all the other goodies that smartphones provide us), leaving your phone in another room will work wonders on that report that is now much-overdue.
But, the house is A MESS!
I don’t know about you, but I cannot work in a messy environment. It actually drives me a bit nutty and it steals away brain capacity from my task at hand to look around at clutter or mess. With 2 kids, working full-time and no one hired to help me clean, the truth is that my house is never as clean as I would like it to be. My choice every day after school drop-off is: do I clean for the next 2 hours and cut into my work day or do I turn a blind eye and get straight to work? Some days, the former wins, but I have been working on letting the latter win the battle more and more, otherwise I can never seem to get ahead!
Solution: Set aside cleaning times + create a designated workspace. This solution is two-fold. Carving out a space in your home that is explicitly for work really helps to keep both focus and productivity flowing. You may not have a home that would allow for an entire room to be turned into an office, but you can surely find a clean and cleared-off surface to house your laptop or a desk to spread your work out on that becomes ‘the work spot’. Bonus points if this space allows you to turn your back on the rest of the house so you can’t see the mess. 😉
The mess does still need to be addressed, but if you want to stay on task and get a full workday in, cleaning will have to be assigned to either before of after your working hours. Creating a routine where 20 minutes before and after your workday are devoted to tidying, cleaning will allow you to feel that you’re not letting everything fall to pieces around you, while also freeing up that valuable window of productivity that is needed to feel accomplished in your work.
No really, get out! Working from home can feel oddly isolating. It’s just you, your thoughts and your messy house. Especially if you are a one-person team, like I am, the days can feel lonely in a way (and the poor partners who come home to someone who hasn’t spoken to anyone all day 😛 ).
Solution: Changing up the environment we work in, makes long work days more palatable sometimes. Working from home doesn’t mean you have to stay within the walls of your humble abode. As long as you feel you can stay focussed in a coffee shop… get out there, see other humans, and breathe in some fresh air. We are lucky these days because we have everything we need accessible to us to make working from a coffee shop (or a sunny patio- shhh!) a breeze.
I have been to a few cafés lately where Wifi was not offered (what’s up with that, ps?) but being a TELUS customer, I was able to jump on the #TELUS network and be fully connected. To me, that is an amazing perk of being with TELUS, because being without internet connection is not ok. Amiright? If you’re wondering where you can jump onto the TELUS network for instant internet access, there’s a handy wifi map so you can locate a hotspot nearby! Click here to see the map!
Set a timer!
It’s amazing how long one task can take me sometimes. My mind wanders, more than I’d care to admit. Some days, I run out the door to pick the kids up from school and I honestly wonder if I even fully completed one thing off my long list!
Solution: I’ve started getting in the habit of setting a timer to keep me on track. If I know I have a blog post to write, I will set a timer for 90 minutes and I literally will not move from my desk until that timer goes off. When I’m trying to work my way through my emails, I’ll often set a timer for 30 minutes and just get as far as I can. It’s amazing how much you can get done by the time that timer goes off!
I hope you have found these solutions to be helpful and I’d love to hear if you are implementing any of these (or others) in the comments below!
Disclosure: I am a blog ambassador for TELUS and receive special perks to share TELUS messages with my readers. All opinions are 100% my own.