Because of the current situation, I've had to work from home for 2 weeks now.
As a former freelancer, I thought it's gonna be easy to adjust, but that's not the case. I've started to miss small things like coffee breaks with colleagues, walking around the office and face-to-face meetings.
That said, my productivity's higher when working from home and In this post, I'm going to share my tips for boosting your ability of working from home.
1. Have a workspace
Although you're working from home, you should still create a workspace. If you've got a spare room, use that. If not, at least get a table to sit behind that's used only when working.
In my case, I've found it useful for two two reasons
- It draws a clear line between my working environment and the rest of my home
- It lets my partner know that I'm busy and need to concentrate
2. Create a schedule
When working from home for an extended period, it's easy to get lazy. After all, you don't need to get ready for work, commute etc. I've been there before as a freelancer - I wake up 2 mins before the meeting starts and then during the meeting, try to understand what's going on, while yawning like a hippo!
An easy solution - create a schedule! Write down when will you wake up, have breakfast, shower, start working, take breaks, etc. This way you're making a commitment to yourself but also have a better understanding of what your day will look like.
3. Morning routine
To me, mornings set the tone for the whole day. If you're like me, then I recommend you to have a morning routine. You can follow the example of some successful people or do whatever wakes you up and prepares you for the upcoming day.
For example, my morning routine involves(in that order):
- Drinking a glass of water
- Workout and/or stretching
- Breakfast and coffee
- Planning my day
After I've done all the aforementioned things, I'm ready to face the day.
4. Move yourself
I can't emphasize the importance of that point. Even if you weren't active before, you still had to commute. But now you could just wake up, grab your laptop and start working. Yes, it's possible, but please don't do that! There's tons of proof that being active improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, negative mood.
Also, as a developer, you've probably been in a situation where you're stuck with a problem, but after a small break, the solution magically comes to you! Maybe taking breaks and moving yourself every now and then is exactly what you need to find those solutions?
5. Don't forget yourself to work
Now I must be honest and say that I've done it multiple times- It's 5PM, I should stop working but fixing that bug is almost finished. Hours later, I'm still looking for a solution.
When working from office, you've at least got your colleagues leaving the office, signaling you should start going too. But at home it's easy to just continue working, because well...you're at home.
My recommendation is to set an alarmclock to remind yourself that it's time to finish. Or even better, make an appointment with your partner or friends to have a video call or something. Whatever works. Just make sure to get away from work.
When actually talking to someone, besides the verbal communication I can also read their facial expressions and body language to understand we're on the same page.
When communicating online, it's much harder. And that's why I recommend to always ask questions, even if they seem stupid. When you're explaining something, confirm that you're understood. If nobody replies, ask someone by name. I've found these two tips to be simple but effective.
These are the main points I've found useful when working from home. I don't have children nor pets so it's a bit easier for me. But please feel free to leave feedback in comments and share your tips with others!