Are you having a hard time working from home? It can be an extremely difficult thing to do if you’re not used to it. I’ve been doing it for the last 12 years, and currently with three kids under the age of 7.
It can be a challenge, so I’m going to share how I do it effectively and efficiently every single day.
Here are 7 tips I follow to effectively work from home.
How to Work From Home
1. Work in a secluded space.
You need to pick an ideal spot to work that is arguably secluded in your house. I’m fortunate enough to have an office in my house that I can close the door to.
If you don’t have a home office where you can set up a workstation, you need to find the most secluded point in your house. You could use a bedroom once everyone is out and about for the day, for example. Having that dedicated workspace is incredibly important because then everybody in your house knows when you’re in that space you’re working.
2. Stick to a schedule.
Now, the second thing I do is keep a daily schedule.
It’s very easy to stick to when you have to show up at the office at 9:00 and leave by 5:00. You know what your workday is going to look like. From home, that’s not always as obvious, but you need to make it as obvious. Not only do you need the schedule, your family needs to know your schedule so that everybody can respect it.
In my case, I start work at 7:30 in the morning, eat lunch around noon, and then I’ll have playtime with the kids between 2:00 and 3:00. I have this very set schedule every single day that is consistent. Not only is it good for me to know when I can work and what I need to get done within that window of work, but my kids know when they can come and play with me.
3. Keep snacks with you.
Gather all the food and beverages you need for a half a day at a time.
In the morning, I take my breakfast, snacks, water, and coffee into my office. This ensures a couple of things. One, that I’m not going back to the refrigerator every 30 minutes to load up on snacks because that’s not healthy. Two, out of sight, out of mind. If I’m walking through the house and the kids see me, they want to play. If I keep everything in my office for half a day at a time, I don’t have to be leaving that room to come out and disturb the family.
4. Invest in an ergonomic workspace.
The fourth tip is that you need to invest in an ergonomic workstation.
If you’re going to be working from home for any period of time, it’s really important you protect your body. This means getting a good chair investing in a standing desk. I highly recommend standing desks because you can get up and down during the day. It’s not good to just sit for 8 or 10 hours. You need to be able to stand while you’re working too. I recommend Vari desks. It’s just very easy to put on top of your existing desk and boom, you have a standing desk. It comes fully assembled so you don’t have to put anything together.
5. Buy noise-canceling headphones.
My fifth piece of advice is to invest in noise-canceling headphones.
There are very few houses in America where you’re going to be able to work from a room and not hear everything else that’s going on. If you can put on noise-canceling headphones, some calm music, it’s going to let you focus in on your work rather than hearing all the distractions around the house. This is an incredibly important investment and probably one that I would make and spend good money on. I have a pair of Bose noise-canceling headphones. I think they’re great. If the kids are running around, I’m still able to get my work done and they’re still able to play and have a good time.
6. Get outside every day.
My sixth tip is you need to get outside and take walks.
This could be a break from work, or while taking calls. When you’re on a call, just go and walk around the block. Get outside, get fresh air, get some sun on your face. It’s so important not to just be inside all day.
Also, if you’re used to commuting, you’re used to that time where you have to go outside, you get on the train, you get in your car, etc. If you’re not commuting anymore, all of a sudden, you’re just inside 24/7.
I’m known in my neighborhood as the guy who just walks around the block endlessly because I’ll be on a 30-minute call and I’ll do 4 laps. What else am I going to do? Just sit on my desk and be on the phone? This is no fun.
7. Develop a work-out routine.
Ensure you work out. It’s so easy to just say you’ll go back to the gym once it reopens, but, quite honestly, we don’t know when that will be. You need to figure out how you’re going to work out from home for the foreseeable future.
I would start investing in some minor equipment. I bought some dumbbells and mats so that I can do some very basic workouts from home. It’s not going to be the same as the gym, but I need to maintain some level of activity.
Maybe even look out new workouts that you could try, switch it up a little bit, but make sure you’re setting aside 45 minutes to an hour every day to work out. If you don’t set aside the time, it’ll never happen.
For what it’s worth, I work-out between 11:00 and 12:00 every day. I make sure nothing is on my schedule because that’s an hour that I know I’m going to take for myself to maintain my physical health. That’s so important in today’s environment. Even just with the pandemic going on, the studies have shown that people in better physical health will handle the virus better if they get it. So, make it a priority. If you don’t have your health, you don’t have much.
3 Hacks for Working From Home With Kids:
I have three kids under 7, and anybody that has young children in the house knows that it’s incredibly difficult to try to work because there’s a lot of things that are going on. Here are some hacks that I have found, especially just recently during the quarantine period.
1. Devote an hour during the workday to play-time.
Set up a playtime each day for the kids during the work hours. You’re not going to be able to work 8:00 to 5:00 and not have time for the kids. So, I have an hour set aside every single day from 2:00 to 3:00 in the afternoon where we go outside and play. If it’s not nice outside, we go in the basement and we play. They get an hour of dad time to get some energy out, give mom a break, and even I get a break from work. It’s really nice.
If you don’t set aside that consistent time, the kids don’t know when to expect it and they’re constantly asking when it’s going to happen.
2. Talk to your kids about why you need to work.
If you’re still having an issue, I’ve talked to my kids about why I have to work. It’s how I buy food and toys. We can have these adult conversations with our kids so that they know what we’re doing and why.
3. Limit how often you leave your work area.
When you’re working, you need to try to stay out of view for a little while. Make sure you have everything you need in your office or work area so that you aren’t back and forth to the main rooms of the house. If you come across your children, you’re probably going to get distracted.
So, that was most of the tips that I have developed over the years on how to work from home. However, I asked our staff to give me their tips that I want to share.
1. Get outside during lunch.
This one comes from Tessa, our paralegal. She says that it’s really important to get outside during lunch that you shouldn’t be stuck inside all day. It’s very depressing to all of a sudden realize it’s 5:00 and you haven’t even stepped outside. So, make sure to at least get outside during lunch.
2. Split up your workday.
Tessa also recommends trying to split up your day. She indicated she sometimes works 8:00 to 11:00, 1:00 to 4:00, then 5:00 to 7:00 and getting significant breaks in between because there’s no need to commute. There’s nowhere to go. So, why not break up the workday a little bit?
3. Change your scenery.
Grace, our digital marketing director, told us that she likes to work from different rooms in the house. Now, Grace doesn’t have young kids, but she thinks that changing scenery throughout the day is really important and getting a fresh view of where you are. And I agree with that. I actually like to move around my office, in different locations in my office, in my self-isolation here, but I think that’s a great idea. If you can move around a house and find different workstations during the day, get a fresh perspective, that could be really helpful.
4. Take breaks with hobbies.
Eric, who’s a partner here at Gerben Law, says you should really make sure you have hobbies that you can do throughout the day. He likes to play guitar, so he leaves a guitar by his desk and takes breaks to play. Really calms him down, resets him, let’s him get back in the work.
5. Stay social.
Eric has also been doing the work from home thing for over five years and he says you really need to keep up your socialization. You need to make sure you’re staying in touch with your friends, doing the Zoom calls, doing the phone calls.
For those of us who used to go into an office, you get the socialization there and a lot of things tend to happen in your social life that extend from work. When you’re not having that, you really have to reach out to people. That’s something that all of us that have been working from home for years know and we encourage you to do now if you’re also stuck working from home.
I hope this has given you some good ideas on how to make your day-to-day a little bit better during the Coronavirus pandemic and all the time we’re going to spend working from home the next few months. I hope you’re taking good care of your families. Make sure you’re staying home, make sure you staying safe. If you have any additional tips, please email them to me at, firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love your tips.
As a reminder, my son Jake has “The Jake Show” on YouTube. Please go check that out and give him a subscribe and a thumbs up as well.