For many people, working from home is the dream.
No commute time.
No office distractions.
Better work-life balance.
Setting up an ideal work space.
The ability to do things in your own time.
However, the reality of working from home is that it can create a number of challenges, from losing motivation and direction to feeling isolated. It can be important to set yourself up with a balanced working-from-home routine so you can work to the best of your ability and actually enjoy the opportunity!
Here are some simple ways you can create a balanced and productive working-from-home routine.
1: Create a daily “will do” list.
Every morning before you get started with your working day, create a “will do” list.
However, don’t just include work items – be sure to write down anything else you need to do throughout the day. Try to include fun things, too!
Below is an example of what this might look like.
Today, I will…
Write an article
Wash and hang the laundry
Walk the dogs
Eat a nutritious lunch mindfully
Listen to an educational podcast
Schedule Instagram posts for the next 5 days
Write in a journal
The great thing about working from home is that we can cultivate balance throughout the day – we don’t necessarily need to work flat out all the time. Instead, we can incorporate productive breaks (like self-care and housework) to not only bring balance to the day, but to stay on top of the other “life” stuff.
As you complete the list, make sure to cross things off so you can easily see what is left to do! If anything is left over at the end of the day, prioritize it on the next “will do” list.
2. Use a productivity app.
Find an app which helps you stay focused during your work time and encourages you to stay on track with tasks, time-wise.
When you work at home, it can be easy to lose yourself in tasks and forget the time. Before you know it, lunch time rolls around and you’ve spent the whole morning on something unimportant.
Use an app which allows you to track the amount of time you spend on something (and even better, sounds an alarm when you reach a time limit).
MinimaList can be a great app to do this – it allows you to create to-do lists, then set a timer for a task.
Forest is another great app that stops you from picking up your phone and scrolling or browsing needlessly. You set a time limit and over that time, a tree will grow in the app. If you pick up your phone during that time, the tree will die. It’s a great way to kick that mid-morning social media scrolling habit!
3. Get out of the house.
Working from home can look shiny and fun and exciting from the outside, but just like any other type of work – it has its challenges.
You might feel lonely and isolated at times.
You might struggle to find a balance that works for you.
You might start to miss your previous colleagues, a predictable income, or your old work environment.
You might find yourself indulging in unhelpful habits (reality television marathon for the afternoon, anyone?).
Sometimes, a great way to deal with the challenges of working from home is actually to leave your home for a while.
Spend an afternoon in a library, café, or co-working space.
Collaborate on projects and actually meet up with your team members in person.
Find a nearby friend who also works from home and work together for a day.
Go to in-person conferences, workshops and seminars.
Make it a priority to leave the house regularly and spend time with people who help you feel energized and refreshed.
4. Develop a schedule.
Do you often complete similar tasks each week? Rather than creating a “will do” list, try to develop a schedule instead. For example, each Wednesday, your schedule might look like this:
8am – answer social media comments and messages
8.30am – answer emails
9am – write an article
11am – design images for the article
11.30am – schedule article on blog and social media
12.30pm – lunch and walk
1.15pm – listen to an educational podcast
2pm – develop content for online course
4pm – housework
5pm – meditate and write in journal
Try to block similar tasks together and if you finish something early, take a break!
For example, if your emails only take 15 minutes, use the other 15 minutes to engage in self-care, like a meditation or listening to music.
Developing a schedule can work really well when you do similar things each week because you get to know how long each activity takes so you can set realistic time frames.
5. Set fresh goals.
Feeling a bit uninspired as you work from home? Sometimes it can help to set fresh, exciting and meaningful goals. You could even spend some time putting together a vision board to collect ideas (and then keep your vision board near your desk for inspiration).
Take some time to really think about the big dreams you’d like to achieve in your work and start to break them down into smaller goals.
For example, do you want to write a book or create an online course? Would you like to start a podcast? Do you feel excited about the idea of studying something and gaining a qualification that will support your work?
Figure out what you’d really love to achieve and start putting together a solid, step-by-step plan.
Implement these tips to help yourself create a balanced and productive working-from-home routine and don’t forget to switch off at the end of the day! You deserve time to unwind and take a proper break from your work.
Written by Rachael Kable.
Rachael Kable is a mindfulness and meditation teacher from Mount Beauty, Australia. She is the host of The Mindful Kind podcast and her first book – also called The Mindful Kind – was published in early 2019. With a background in psychology, coaching and meditation, Rachael whole-heartedly supports people around the world to implement mindfulness and manage stress.