WH: Set a schedule
After working from home for years, I put together this new series of posts to help those who are working from home for the first time. Tips and tactics to get more done in a day.
Transitioning from working in an office to working from the home can be a lot like a teenager moving out of their parent’s house. From a structured environment to an unstructured one. And what at first seems like unlimited freedom devolves quickly into chaos. We all had different ‘out on your own’ experiences. Some more successful than others. My wife quickly noticed how many of her coworker’s natural schedules started to show through when they’d send emails. Some emailing really earlier, others late at night. Everyone isn’t a natural ‘day person’. I certainly am not.
Here are some tips that I’ve collected over the years:
- Make your bed after you get up – I know it’s a crazy idea, it’s based on a book I read years ago by the same name by Admiral William H. McRaven. The concept is simple, no matter what happens to your day’s schedule, you’ll have accomplished at least one thing.
- Clean the kitchen – following quickly on the first item – get the simple, easy things out of the way. I do it while making breakfast. Slay those easy to do tasks nobody really wants to do.
- Have a specific work area and clean anything with-in eyesight of it. And if there are others home with you, make sure they know that is your work zone. Have little ones at home, then you’ll need to manage this differently than those without — more on that another day. (I’ll link it here when I get around to writing it!).
Okay, so right now you’re probably asking if you’re reading the right list. Yes, you are – this is for people who have regular day jobs, white-collar, work from an office or classroom. Stick with me. One of the biggest distractions from people getting stuff done from home is the distractions of the house. These first three help avoid those distractions and get stuff actually done.
- Set specific “work hours” – otherwise things get out of hand really quick. This is both for your sake and your coworkers, managers, etc. One benefit of working at home is often scheduled flexibility. But what messes this up is bosses who expect you to always be available, and home/family needs who feel you’re totally accessible. Boundaries need to be set on both ends.
- Reinforce your work hours by managing when you communicate with coworkers and the office. If you want to be available 9 to 5, but are sending late-night emails, it communicates that you’re available after hours. Is that what you really want to communicate? Likewise, if you’re tending to your kids during the normal day and really only work before breakfast and after dinner, likewise reinforce that with how and when you communicate. There are several ways (depending on how you’re setup) to even write an email and schedule it to be delivered later, during your ‘office hours’. I used this extensively. I would sometimes burn the midnight oil, but not necessarily want to be ‘available’ for an immediate reply or give the impression that I normally work that late. Instead, I’d write a lot of emails that would go out at 9am.
- Protect your privacy with a virtual phone number – Only answer work calls during your specific work hours. More details at Virtual Phone Numbers article.
This article will be updated as I create more articles that cross-reference each other. None of the links to products or services on here are affiliate links (I don’t make any revenue from them.) Additionally, the WordPress platform I use does provide other advertisement links that generate them revenue but I receive zero financial benefits.