We’ve been working remotely since 2017 so now that the whole world is doing the same, here’s a few things we’ve learned along the way, so you don’t have to learn them the hard way.
Do – Set a Routine
Just like being at work it’s important to have some discipline with yourself. Make sure that you establish a set of realistic goals that you can maintain – don’t go crazy – you still need to work reasonable hours, take some time for yourself, eat, etc. If your routine only has busy tasks in it, you’re going to have a bad time – make sure that you’re including some ‘me’ time in your routine.
And remember, since you’re pretty much in the office all evening and night too, if you do have a bad day, you can always work an extra hour later on in the day. I, for example, am not always my most productive first thing in the morning (the Frenches are not morning people), so I often tack on an hour or so in the evening, sometimes even after dinner or a movie to clear my head.
The important take away is find something that works for you. If you are getting your work done, and don’t feel totally fried you’re on the right track.
Do – Take a Walk
When you got to the office you’d already had a whole commute to wake up and ready yourself, you don’t get that working from home. For me it’s wake up, make a cup of coffee, sit at my computer. When I was office based I had a 10 minute walk and a 30 minute tram before I got to the office.
So taking a walk in the morning – even if it’s just to the end of the street – is a great way of priming your mind and your body to be in work mode, rather than an entire week of Sundays. I notice a dramatic difference in how clearheaded I feel and how productive I can be if I’ve been out of the house that day. Get it in early to reap the benefits all day long.
Don’t – Stay in your PJs
Our minds are clever things, they make associations that can be good or bad. One thing I can guarantee you, unless you are some kind of pyjama model, your mind has NOT associated being in comfy PJs all day with having a productive day working.
Get out of your PJs, put on some clothes, if you do have a dress-code for work, wearing the same type of clothes will help even more. Give it a try, you’ll see!
Do – Establish a Work Area
It doesn’t have to be a desk, it can be a dining table or a coffee table even, but what’s important is that what you do when you sit there is work. Same as with clothes, your mind will associate being there with busy time. I know many people who could do their job from their beds or couch, but I know very few who actually do it… I know some who’ve tried, especially these last few weeks, but invariably the work days ends and they got nothing done. You have been warned.
Do – Be Social (from a distance)
Just because you’re not in the office doesn’t mean that you can’t be with your colleagues. Staying in touch throughout the day with multiple people, such as colleagues, can be a nice break and motivator for us. Take me for example, I’m competitive, so seeing colleagues getting on with their tasks is a great way to kick my ass into gear if I’m feeling unmotivated.
There’s tonnes of ways you can do this these days. Some great tools for group video meetings are Google Hangouts, and Zoom. But I’m not reviewing those right now, here’s a helpful article a quick google search found – https://www.wired.co.uk/article/best-video-conference-apps
Don’t – Expect Too Much
You’re new to this. No one expects you to smash your previous month’s performance… They may want you to, but they don’t realistically expect it. You will feel unmotivated sometimes. You will feel lazy some days. You will be tempted to put the TV on.
Do try to fight those thoughts obviously, but don’t feel bad about having them.