As we've seen many companies around the world adhering to the Work From Home (WFH) strategy in an attempt to stop the spreading of the coronavirus, this was not different here.
Last month, we released everyone from the company to WFH and to give them some inspiration and a guideline on how to keep focused and highly motivated, I shared with them the following tips, which may also be very useful to you, if you're in the same page. Here we go:
Doesn’t matter what time you’ve gone to bed in the previous day, avoid waking up right before you start working. Try to have (at least) 7 hours of sleep and wake up at the same time.
Oh, yeah! Sounds like mom's advice, right? But making your bed every morning after you get up will create a sense of accomplishment and will give your brain (and body) the message that a (productive) day has started.
Stretching in the morning will help your blood to circulate and take off from you the laziness. Doing some sort of exercise also helps you to energize your body (and mind) to start a fresh and productive day.
Taking a shower in the morning is optional (even tho advised). But, definitely, you should dress up if you’re going out. I know it’s tempting to work the entire day in your pajamas, but you should avoid it. Dressing up will give your brain the message that it should wake up and get vigilant to whatever comes next.
Coffee is optional, but I’d really suggest you have a good cup of it in the morning! However, eating something fresh and tasteful in the morning helps a lot by giving you the energy to start the day.
I know, it sounds like a cliché!
But finding a comfortable place to sit down and work helps you get focused and does not harm your body after a long working journey. Places close to the window will give you enough natural light to work and do not give you the enclosure feeling.
Oh, sure … get out of the bed! Working sitting on your bed (with your laptop) sounds tempting, right? But that’s what you must avoid at all costs. As time passes, you’ll get sleepy, the “comfortable” becomes “uncomfortable” and your productivity (and focus) will drop sharp!
Working from home is awesome, but you need to secure the right tools and environment for doing it great. Since every tool we use is on the cloud (or based on online services) a good Internet connection is extremely necessary and important.
Give priority to a wired network (if you can) over the wireless one, because it will give you higher speed connection and less latency. If not possible, try to stay closer to the Wi-Fi router to avoid shadow zones where your connection may get unstable.
Writing down a to-do list with the tasks you’re expected to do helps you stay focused and gives you a strong sense of accomplishment as always one of the written tasks are complete. This motivates you to keep moving and at the end of the day, you’ll see you have been more productive and efficient with your work.
Try to do this ahead of your day. Create your to-do list in the previous day, thinking and planning the tasks you need to perform the next day.
Let’s be honest here. Working from home creates a huge opportunity for us to get more relaxed, therefore distracted, because there’s no one looking on our shoulders, right? So easy to keep the TV on and spend an enormous amount of time surfing online (or even watching Netflix or YouTube) … procrastinating!
Wrong! First because, even tho no one is physically watching you to work, your results and performance can be easily measured at the end of the day (week, month or quarter) by the results you bring, the intensity of your communication with others and online presence and, of course, with the help of all the logs from all the services and tools we use for work.
So, avoid distractions while working at all costs! Turn off the TV and stay away from online streaming services, unless you use them to stream some (cool and inspiring) music to animate your environment if that makes you get more focused. ;)
When working from home we need to be even more focused and organized. That’s the key to keep up productivity and performance. Just be 200% focused while working.
However, to be really focused you need some break time as well. So, I strongly recommend that you take a 5 - 10 minutes break every 1 (or two) hours … this will help you to keep the focus by refreshing your mind.
Stand up, go to the window and look up to the horizons. This will help your eyes to get relaxed from the focus on the laptop screen and also helps your mind to relax and, perhaps, get insights about how to finish up one of your written tasks (perhaps you’d like to review the tip #4!).
Work from home also brings some sort of “isolation” feeling, I know, especially if you leave alone. Because you’re not in the office, sharing a space with other people who you can simply jump to a professional or a casual conversation, sometimes this slows you down.
Keep the communication up! We have good tools available to keep the (written and spoken) communication alive. The more you communicate, the more your team and coworkers will understand what tasks you’re working on, what challenges you’re facing and, perhaps, how they can help you.
Send regular updates on chat channels. When some topic needs to be discussed, jump straight to a video (or audio) call that speeds up the understanding of whatever needs to be discussed.
Oh, yeah! At the end of the day, we have focused a lot and spent a lot of energy working and finding new ways to be productive and bring (excellent) results, right? Yes, right.
So, don’t forget to disconnect when your job is done! You will need the time to relax and refresh to get prepared for the next day of work, that you’ll need to be (again) 200% committed to.
When your work-day gets to the end, make sure to clean (and organize) your working space in a way you can get back in the next day and feel comfortable again.