People deciding to or having the opportunity to work from home is becoming increasingly common. And for a lot of students, working from home is an unavoidable reality. But more often than not, we curl up with our work stuff to accomplish… jack sh*t. Here are my top tips for working from home successfully!
- Do NOT work from bed: You will not get a single thing done. Seriously. You’re too comfortable, too cozy, and you will fall asleep. Get up!
- Get dressed: Go through a morning getting-ready routine, whatever that looks like for you. Shower, do your makeup, put on real clothes! If you’re scruffy and in your pajamas, you’re even less motivated to be productive.
- Wear shoes: If you can’t lay down or put your feet up on things, you’re more likely to seated in a normal position that will keep you a little more focused by default.
- Sit at a table or desk: Working at a proper table with lots of light is really important to staying task-oriented. You seldom get anything down while sprawling across the couch.
- Find your focusing instrument: For me, I don’t work well with TV or movies on unless I know them well (e.g. Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Harry Potter), so I tend to crank on my workload with music or podcasts. I need some background noise to help me think effectively. Find what that is for you, be it silence, rain sounds, heavy metal music, or something else.
- Make a to-do list and stick to it: Make a run-down of all the tasks you have to accomplish each day and hold fast to it. I like to write down the small things too because it keeps me on task (e.g. do the dishes, check the mail, answer club email, etc.).
- Do the 25-5 method: Set a timer and work for 25 minutes straight through, then take a five minute break to do something enjoyable. It’s a good way to motor through lots of work without it being quite as torturous.
- Work with others: If you have friends or roommates who want to hang out and get stuff done, make it happen! It’s a really great way to chip away at some of the stress and add camaraderie into the mix. My roommate and I do homework (or regular work) together all the time over a cup of coffee.
- Take a lunch break: You need that little reprieve to relax and refocus yourself. If you can, consider leaving the house for lunch and walking to a deli around the corner (or something similar).
- Try cafés and bookstores: A good old fashioned coffee shop is when I hit my productivity high. There is something about the noise and the energy that keeps me going. The constant lull of noise doesn’t let me get too sleepy, and there is an added pressure to accomplish things when you took the time and effort to get ready and leave the house in order to work.
- Set hours for yourself when possible: It’s not healthy to work 18 hours a day, I say as a chronic workaholic at the most stressful university in the world. If you can limit yourself to an 8-ish-hour window (whatever those hours are for you) as a typical day, that’s a much better approach.
- Know when it’s not working for you: You have to know when to throw in the towel on your concentration. Sometimes you just can’t. And when that happens — and believe me, it will — take the day (if you’re able to) and return to it later. For me, this probably happens once or twice a month, where I just hit a wall and cannot push myself to do any more work. When that happens, listen to your body and take a leave of absence from it. You can take the whole day or even just a few hours to blow off some steam and practice self-care.
I hope you all found some of these tips helpful! If you have any of your own, be sure to leave them in a comment!