As a writer, I am no stranger to working alone. I am no stranger to being alone with myself for hours on end. I thrive in that environment and I LOVE that I can do the bulk of the work I do without having to leave my house or meet others face-to-face.
However, not everyone is built for this kind of lifestyle, and like it or not, it looks like for the time being, we’re all going to have to learn how to work together separately – in our own homes.
Of course just like anyone who has a home based business – learning how to be productive and work from home took some trial and error and it can still be a struggle some days. It also takes some self-motivation. So here are some tips to help you stay motivated and actually get work done.
- Do your best to set aside a space in your home that you ONLY USE FOR WORK. That way when you enter the space you will be mentally preparing yourself to *work* – not binge watch your favorite show while you work. I have an actual office — with a door that I close. When my door is closed — my family knows not to bother me (unless they have a death wish).
- Set office hours and break periods and make sure everyone else in the house is on board! Making sure family and other roommates are respectful of office hours is important if you want to stay productive.
- If you have kids attending classes remotely — you won’t have a choice but to keep an eye on them and keep them on task. Help them set their schedule, too, or even keep them in your “office” if they need strict supervision to stay focused. Of course, this also scatters your focus, which is why it’s so important that you try your hardest to work within a schedule. Like 45 minutes work, 15 minutes to stand/stretch, snack, coffee refill etc…. Then back to work. During lunch, maybe take the kids out into the backyard for some recreation, or walk to the park and back (gotta wear those little buggers out – I once convinced my nephew to run laps just to tire him out a little and if you can sneak an impromptu relay race with siblings in there — ahhh, more quiet time for you later maybe).
- If you can, turn off notifications while you’re actually working — unless your job is based on notifications. In which case leave them on. With writing – cutting off internet access and notifications for 45 minutes at a time MAKES me focus on the writing and I get more done.
- Keep your work chat windows minimized and only check them periodically. Like every 20-30 minutes, or even once an hour if you can get away with it.
- Unless your job requires you to be on social media — stay off of social media until work hours are over. It’s just a distraction.
- Make your coworkers SCHEDULE video chats or phone meetings. That way you can let everyone in your house know ahead of time that a meeting will be in progress and they will have time to mentally prepare themselves for your “absence”.
- Slack, Zoom, and Google Drive are all easy to use and make working remotely rather simple. I collaborate with other writers on these platforms (and Skype) all the time. I do 99.9% of my work remotely. (The rest is book signings, conventions, etc…)
- Give yourself an actual time to STOP working! Otherwise those workaholics among you will be tempted to work more now that you’re working from home. Stop doing that. 😉
- Fill your work space with plants, pictures, and other things that you enjoy. You should do this at your office away from home, too, btw. Having homey touches in an office makes it more personal and fun and makes you want to be there.
Looking for more tips on working from home?
An Article in the Atlantic – The Coronavirus Experiment in Working from Home