The amazing members of Team LSDS work remotely every day, and we have compiled our list of top ten tips to help you work from home efficiently, effectively and sanely.
Continue reading below, or download list here.
Tip #1 - Establish Your Office Space
Firmly establish your Office Space and immediately forbid your offspring and other household members from entering it while you are working. Make sure it is well organized and contains everything you will need for a productive workday (files, headphones, snacks, etc.). This is now your Safe Space away from the other beings also trapped in your home, and also a room in which to leave your work at the end of the day so it doesn’t feel like it is following you around the house. If your spouse is also working from home and/or your children are home from school, make sure they have their own designated work/study spaces.
Tip #2 - Get a Routine Going
Get a routine going and stick to it as much as possible. Schedule your day based on what works best for your work style and requirements at home. If you are most creative early in the morning, carve out time at the beginning of the day to tackle creative work, rather than attempting it at 4PM when your brain is tired and your creativity has dwindled. Establish split work hours with your spouse if you are both working from home and your kids are home full-time so you can each fully focus on the daily work you need to accomplish. Post your schedules on the fridge or in a shared calendar so everyone, including you, can see the daily plan.
Tip #3 - Make a Daily Task List
Make a daily task list to help you stay focused and organized. Plan out what you are going to do, when you are going to do it, and check it off your list when the task is complete. Make sure to celebrate the completion of any and all onerous tasks in the best (legal) way you see fit. Unfinished items can be moved to the top of tomorrow’s task list at the end of each day so you have a good starting point in the morning.
Tip #4 - Procrastinate Proactively
If you know that you will get distracted by projects around the house, checking personal email, shopping online, browsing social media, walking your dog, playing with your kids, etc., be purposeful about building specific times for these into your work day so tackling them doesn’t feel like procrastinating. Set an alarm or calendar alert to both start and stop the activity, just as you would with any other work task. If building these into your daily routine isn’t enough to help keep you on track, modify your workspace and your routine to limit the availability of distractions as much as possible.
Tip #5 - Keep a Record of Your Activity Every Day
Keeping a detailed record of your activity every day forces reflection on productivity, establishes accountability, and sets the standard of accomplishment higher than “I put on pants today.” Daily records can also help you refine your routine to make sure you are working effectively, as well as highlight achievements you might not otherwise notice. Bonus points for using your Daily Task List to help you record your activity (see Tip #3).
Tip #6 - Phone a (Teacher) Friend
Reach out to a school teacher friend when you’re suddenly a homeschool parent and aren’t sure what to do with all the curiosity and energy in your home during daylight hours. Extra credit and gold stars to all teachers who proactively reach out to their new homeschool parent friends with amazing educational resources and activities.
Tip #7 - Get Ready for the Day
Wake up, make the bed, wash your face, fix your hair, get dressed, and do everything you normally would to get ready for the day. You’ll feel more proactive and more like yourself. If you are craving a casual Friday, you can always designate a specific day to work in your PJs . . . preferably one in which you don’t have a video conference call.
Tip #8 - Take a Break
Take a break. In fact, take lots of breaks during the day. Go for a walk outside with your dog so he will stop staring at you disapprovingly, have a one-song dance party with everyone in your house, enjoy eating lunch away from your desk, close your eyes and breathe, read a chapter of that book you just can’t put down, refill your glass of water (or cup of coffee), call your best friend . . . the possibilities are endless!
Tip #9 - Interact with Your Team
Interacting with your team is a key component of successfully working from home. Email is great, but formal and informal kick-off/check-in/catch up group phone calls and video conferences are even better, and can help to reduce feelings of distance and isolation.
Tip #10 - Harness the Power of Technology
Harness the power of modern technology by setting calendar reminders or alarms to alert you when it is time to go from one task to another, take a break, join a remote meeting, and, most importantly, when it is time to call it a day. Bonus points for using technology to interact with your team (see Tip #9), remind you to take a break (see Tip #8), get ready for the day (see Tip #7), phone your (teacher) friend (see Tip #6), keep a record of daily activities (see Tip #5), procrastinate proactively (see Tip #4), create your daily task list (see Tip #3), help you stick to your daily routine (see Tip #2), and customize your Office Space (see Tip #1).