Although remote work has been trending for quite some time, it is going to be a new norm because of the current situation of the earth with coronavirus, where everyone is expected to work from home.
I am one of the early adopters of remote work, been working remotely from the past 3 years, I have faced a lot of issues along the way. I have tried to improve myself in every way and failed many times. But each time I failed, I earned experiences on how to make myself better, keep myself productive, be motivated and separate work from life.
It might seem really easy at the beginning, breathing the fresh air of freedom to working from home, avoiding traveling in traffic for 2 hours a day. The boon turns into a curse if we are not serious enough. The worst enemies are laziness and procrastination. When these 2 sit on your workstation, it is really hard to throw them away. You fall into a bad routine, waking up at 10 AM or even 11 AM sometimes although you slept really early at 10 PM. Even after waking up so late, you will feel like doing your work later because you have a whole day to complete your tasks, sometimes you might even think you can complete all your tasks sitting 1 night. Spoilers: You are wrong.
I won't say I have perfected working from home, but I am forming a routine and really wanted to stick to it, whatever happens. I do sometimes skip a few things from my routine by sleeping late watching some movie late night and wake up really late because of that, to reset my messed up sleep cycle because of watching moving, It sometimes took a week to fix my sleep cycle back to normal and get back to my daily routine.
Well, let me cut to my routine, maybe you can pick 1 or 2 or all the points if you think you are slacking, but it's good to pick up a few even if you think you doing well, but you don't have a routine set already.
Have all the tasks that you wanted to do tomorrow.
Obviously, you won't have all the tasks noted, there might be some unforeseen things, but it's ok.
I simply manage my todo's in google keep or sometimes Trello.
Always wake up at the same time
Even if you have slept really late, wake up at the same time. If you don't, waking up late becomes your new habit. Do not break your old habit of waking up early, just because you work from home. Always wake up at the same time as you were waking up while going to the office, or a bit early.
Keep your workplace separate from the living room or bedroom
The worst place to work is from your bedroom, even if you have your desk set up there. The moment I used to see my bed, I suddenly start to feel an urge to sleep. I used to finish 1 small task and go to sleep for hour and get a warning from my client for not completing my tasks at said time.
I really struggled to break this habit. I failed a lot of times until I moved to a new place with an extra room. If you don't have such privileges, I would suggest you turn away from your bed while working.
When you feel lazy, sleep or feel like you can do it later
Pick up a small task which doesn't require a lot of brainpower, do a small bug fix or maybe some redundant task which just needs a copy-paste. If you don't have any such thing, don't distract yourself with Youtube or Facebook. Get up, have some water, coffee or go for a short walk. Just stay away from the bed.
Make sure to check all your toxic media before work
Check your personal emails, Facebook, Instagram, and other toxic media before starting your work, do not open it again until you have accomplished your daily tasks.
(Exceptions: work email, slack and, anything related to work)
Keep a playlist of comfortable music, the music that you enjoy
Obviously not the sad or sleepy ones. You don't have to doze off or start to feel about some bad situation or your break up which happened a few years ago.
I suggest, the music to be progressive, even if it's classical. The nature of progressive music gives you a boost in energy. But, you decide your taste.
Set the timing for your work
You are doing your office work, so set a schedule just like your office work timings. Keep your family informed so they don't disturb you while you are working. All those snacks can be delivered to you when you get out of your office room for a break. Until then, help them read the "Danger 440 volts, mad dev working, Keep away" board has written on your door, if it's not there already, write that down and hang it.
Make sure you have an end of day ritual
Let it be a fake yawn or you can shout "I'm done for the day" or silently shut down your laptop/desktop. This indicates that you have achieved what you had to do this day. The rest of the day is for yourself and your family. But don't forget to add a list of items to your todo for the next day before that. Also, go to bed on time.
It took me almost 3 years to compile and follow these points as much as possible, but even now I miss few of it, but I jump back to the routine or these rules that I set for myself when I go off track.
I was a strong believer that routines are useless, being free will give me new ideas and new ways to build ideas. But, I slowly started to realize that routines of our own are very much required to stay productive, motivated and to stay sane by not getting into the depression mode.
Stay in routine, stay blessed, stay alive.