Our Founder, Beck Wadworth, has worked from home for more than 4 years on An Organised Life. Firstly as a side hustle & now full time from New Zealand while the AOL HQ & Team remains in Sydney, Australia. She's used to being self motivated & organised, setting a solid morning routine & managing a team from a far - so naturally - we asked her to share her top 10 tips with us for working from home!
1. Make sure you stick to your morning routine
When you're working from home it's extremely important you create a morning routine as you would if you worked from an office. For example you might go for a walk, come home - have a coffee & breakfast, catch up on the news, get changed (Yes, that's right - don't work in your PJ's!), check your diary, write your to-do list & prioritise it - start your day. This routine creates structure but also direction & focus.
2. Set your work hours
Off the back of tip 1, it's also a good idea to set your work hours. This might stay the same as your normal office hours, or due to family situations or the flexibility of your industry you might be able to pick those hours. If this is the case it's also a good idea to identify when you are the most productive. For some it's in the mornings & for other it's in the afternoons. If you're a morning person, maybe you want to start earlier than you usually would at the office & knock off earlier so you can be present with your kids, etc. Everyone is different so make it work for you.
3. Create a dedicated space
Have a dedicated space to work from, it doesn't have to be a full on home office but set up a wee corner or a space on your dining table that you can pack down easily in the evenings. There are no rules but having a dedicated space you can go to everyday will help you with your daily routine too. Over the next few weeks we're going to be sharing lots of real WFH sets ups over on our Instagram & on the blog. Watch this space.
Note: If you set up in a common area of your home - make sure you pack away everything at the end of each day. Trust me! Otherwise you will constantly feel like 'work' is right there & you're surrounded by it 24/7. It's good to separate personal & professional home life.
4. Utilise a to-do list & prioritise it
Our top way to organise your life, especially when working from home, is to create and utilise a daily to-do list. Jot down every single thing you need to do and prioritise your workload in a methodical way. This allows you to put everything into perspective, immediately reducing your stress levels and giving you a structured way to get through your workload. We love the satisfying feeling of ticking off each task throughout the day too!
Make sure you also prioritise your to-do list every day with a system that works for you – maybe it’s colour coding or it could be utilising symbols. Define your x 3 MIT’s (Most Important Tasks) and focus on these first, while your brain is feeling fresh.
Stationery can be your best friend when WFH, if you're in need of a stationery refresh - this workspace set is for you!
5. Work in time-blocks & schedule breaks
Another great thing to do is to work in time blocks. One of the positives of working from home is that it does give you the flexibility to be able to do more of what you love rather than just being at the office 9-5.30pm straight. If you want to stop for a long lunch, or a midday walk or a coffee/Facetime break with loved ones then you can do this. Just make sure you have divided your day into time blocks to ensure you get everything done. If you don't have anything specific to stop for utilising time blocks is still helpful especially for scheduling proper breaks. For example I might do;
7am - 8am: Walk, coffee & get ready
8am - 9am: Emails
9am - 12.30pm: Top 3 Priorities from my to-do list
12.30 - 1.30pm: Lunch break with Jason
1.30pm - 3pm: Tick off X, Y, Z
3pm - 3.30pm: Coffee or general break, sit outside on the deck for some fresh air
3.30pm - 5.30pm: Tick off X, Y, Z
Note: To take this one step further you can set alarms on your phone!
6. Set Rules With the People in Your Space
If you live with others or if there are multiple people working from the same space at home, make sure you set some ground rules so you can all be as productive as possible. Is music allowed or is it easier if everyone uses headphones? Where should you take your phone calls & remote team meetings? Or it might be rules for your children about not disturbing you, or what they can & can't do, etc.
7. Stay on top of your personal home life too
When you're working from home it's important to try & keep on top of your personal life too. I suggest a simple schedule - we actually have a great Sunday Weekly Planner Downloadable when you sign up to be a VIP or THIS set here.
- Plan your meals for the week & whose turn it is to cook every night
- Schedule what day/time your going to do your shopping
- Plan out what days your going to work out
- Try to do your cleaning out of work hours or do a vacuum when you are in one of your unproductive work moods!
- You could plan your outfits for the week for something fun to do
8. Get fresh air when you need it & stay hydrated.
Firstly - it's simple, stay hydrated! Get in a routine of having a jug of water next to your desk at home & staying on top of your water intake.
Secondly, every single day, I try to get outside & get fresh air. Usually in the morning for a 1 hour walk but sometimes just a 20min stroll. Getting out & about in the sun (safely) provides a natural source of Vitamin D - ideally at sunrise or early in the morning is best even just a walk around the block or sitting outside at home. In humans the sunshine will encourage the hormone endorphin production which gives you that feel good feeling resulting in happiness & satisfaction & preventing depression.
Also if I've had a particularly stressful day or if I start to feel unproductive I make myself stop & go for a walk around the block or sometimes simply sit out on the balcony for 20 minutes or so to take a break & refocus.
9. Wind Down
At the end of the working day, create a wind down routine. I suggest finishing up any outstanding emails, tidying your space (or putting it away if you're in a common area of your home - that's important!!), checking your diary & writing your to-do list for the following day. Switch everything off & walk away. It's important to wind down & then transition back into your personal home life.
10. Stay positive
And... it's important to stay positive. Working from home can have so many benefits & like anything else new & unknown, give yourself a bit of time to get into a routine & get used to it. Remember the positives - you are commuting less so you have more time in the mornings to exercise, spend time with loved ones, cook, up skill, journal or sleep! And... you have the control to create your own routine & space!
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We've also got everything you need to stay productive at home, here.
If you have any other specific questions, challenges or comments please feel free to DM our Founder over at @beckwadworth on Instagram or email us firstname.lastname@example.org