I’ve been working remotely for about three years now. It sounds like a dream, right? I have to admit that I love working from home, and I’m not sure if I could ever go back to an actual office setting. However, it’s taken a lot to get here, and things weren’t always this great. If you work from home, it can be easy to slack off thanks to your newfound freedom.
Trust me, I’ve been there. I said I was getting stuff done when really I was laying in bed watching season 4 of “Sex and the City” for the one millionth time. I’ve also had my boyfriend barge in half a dozen times a day with the cutest Tweets about dogs, thus, making me spend 20 minutes trying to figure out where I left off on an assignment.
Working from home can be the best thing that’s ever happened to you, so long as you follow certain rules. In fact, there are various studies in favor of working from home. As an introvert and socially awkward millennial, I’ve finally found a way to get work done without all of the anxiety that can come with office settings.
Team GG is fully remote, so you can bet that we know what we’re talking about when we say these are the best tips to ensure that working from home works for you!
Stick to a Routine
Finally, you no longer have to wake up at 6 a.m. to ensure that you get to the office by 9 a.m. However, that doesn’t mean you should totally throw a wrench in the idea of working 9 to 5. You should still consider the work week seriously and set up office times for yourself.
I try to be up and about by 10 a.m. I have my coffee, turn on some “Real Housewives” reruns and start working on getting to inbox zero before doing anything else. I check social media and use Feedly and Bloglovin’ to check what’s new from different resources. By 11 or 12, I start my hard stuff. By 1 p.m., I’m hungry so I take a break from my laptop. I make a quick meal, play with my dog and maybe check Instagram. After that, I’m back at my desk from 2 p.m. until 5 or 6 p.m., depending on what else I have left to work on for the afternoon.
Say No to Distractions
If you have the pleasure of having your home to yourself during the day, then you’re pretty lucky. My boyfriend is retired from the Air Force, and he works on side projects from home. So, having my own home office is necessary. I know, it’s a privilege to have my own room for work. I totally understand that many people don’t have an extra room to convert into their workspace. But you should set up in a room with a door rather than the kitchen table or living room.
Otherwise, it will be easy for anyone to run through and interrupt you. If you don’t have the option to work behind closed doors, then be sure to let everyone who is home know that you’re working and shouldn’t be interrupted for a couple of hours. Put on the noise-canceling headphones if you have to.
If I’m writing an article or press release for one of my clients, then I even go as far as to silence notifications on my phone and Macbook. Otherwise, I will get pings every eight minutes, and take much longer to complete an assignment.
Use a Planner
I used to use Post-its and a notebook to gather everything for my workday together. The day I got my first paper planner, it was like I finally found my way. I use a daily planner to keep track of everything, and use it together with my digital calendar. If it’s not in my planner, then it doesn’t exist.
Even if you hate using pen and paper, then at least having a daily checklist on your phone and laptop can make a huge difference. I’ve used OneNote to create various checklists. You can also use programs like Asana and Trello to keep track of your tasks and set up due dates. The important thing here is that you find something that works for you.
Plan for the Week, Not the Day
Every Sunday evening, I sit down with my paper planner and plot out how the rest of my week will go. Of course, things are always changing. The point is that I’m planning everything important ahead of time to prepare myself for my workload rather than wake up Friday and realize nothing important was accomplished.
You can always go back and change things, or add to daily task lists. But you should sit down on Sunday and do this. That way, when you wake up Monday, you’re not wasting time trying to figure out your to-do list. You can get straight to work. And every evening before signing off, you can update your task lists as well. Planning ahead will save you so much time and worry.
Communication is Part of Your Job
It’s important to stay in contact with your coworkers throughout the day. Team GG loves using Slack to get in touch with one another. Plenty of workplaces use it as well. You should have a way of staying in touch with everyone. You may even want to consider sending your boss a sign-off email.
Communicating directly with virtual colleagues and bosses will do wonders. It’s really the only way that a remote job can successfully work.