With the spread of COVID-19 driving many more people to work from home, I thought I'd share some of my tips for working from home (based on my 10+ years of experience):
- Get organized
Make a daily, weekly, and long-term plan for goals and tasks you need to complete. Set realistic deadlines and stick to them. (Google Docs, Google Keep, Evernote, and similar tools are great for this.)
- Reduce distractions
De-clutter your workspace and listen to instrumental study music with headphones. Leave a note on your door asking friends/family not to distract you from deep work. Use a browser extension like StayFocused to limit your time on YouTube, social media, and other time-wasters during your work hours.
- Stay motivated
Make and stick to a routine. Getting up early is hard, but it lets you finish your work for the day sooner. Find an accountability buddy and check-in every week to make sure you're staying on track. Know yourself - your distractions and weaknesses - and ask a friend for help if you're struggling before it's too late! Just because nobody's watching you doesn't mean you have permission to slack off. Your future self wants you to work hard right now. :)
- Stay healthy
Take short breaks at least every few hours: get up, move around, stretch, drink some water or tea. Make sure you don't slouch when sitting and give your eyes some rest from screen time. Try to eat healthy, and call a friend occasionally to maintain relationships.
- Reward your progress
When you finish a bigger task or complete a few hours of deep work, reward yourself! Take a break, listen to your favorite podcast, meditate, or have a snack. At the end of a productive day, celebrate with your favorite Netflix show or sweet treat.
- Enjoy your freedom
Working from home can be really rewarding and comes with a lot of flexibility - enjoy it! Do your laundry during a break. Go for a run in the afternoon. Make the most of this time, and be safe out there.
And to those people who cannot work from home — health care workers, truck drivers, store stockers, delivery drivers, and many others — a heart-felt thank you for the sacrifices you're making for the rest of us.
This article was updated on March 13, 2020