Working From Home Today? Here's How to Actually Get Work Done
Working from home, or "WFH" as the kids say, is one of the miraculous benefits that a lot of modern offices are granting to employees. Since a large majority of work can be done remotely—thanks to the innovations of web-based filing systems, online communication, and widespread laptop and mobile device ownership—just because you're not "in the office" doesn't mean you're not "at work." Get what we're saying?
The problem comes when employees misinterpret the privilege of working from home and think it means "sleep from home" or "do other errands while occasionally checking work emails" or "go to your kid's ballet recital" or "sleep until four." While you're not under watch when you work remotely, that doesn't mean it's a free for all.
Being at home can be distracting, though, as we all know. The dog is barking, your room needs cleaning, and someone's grilling a feast next door. Mmm. Here are some tips on how to make your work from home days just as productive as your office days.
1. Whatever you do, do not work in bed.
If you set up your office in your bed, chances are, you will shortly be asleep, your papers will be a mess, and you'll have an unsightly crease on your forehead from where it landed on your laptop keyboard. Being in bed tells you it's time to go night-night. So if you're planning on going through that 10Q report, you should probably be sitting upright.
2. Tell anyone around you that you are working, so you don't get random interruptions.
"Hey, everyone, I'm working from home today, so please don't bother me." Yeah, that should do. Find a room with a door to close and keep it closed. But that doesn't mean you have to lock yourself up all day. A vital part of productivity is taking time for a lunch break and other breaks throughout the day. When your kids start asking you to build a treehouse at three, resist. You'll have a good excuse to put that off until the weekend.
3. Stick to your schedule.
If you're usually in the office by nine, today shouldn't be the day you just open your computer at eleven after your spin class. In fact, you'll spend less time commuting, so if you really want to impress your boss, send an email at seven! That'll show them that you take working from home seriously. Working from home also means that you don't have to be working all night. When it's quitting time, it's quitting time.
4. Get out of your pajamas.
Working from home gives you the benefit of no necessary human interaction, and it may be tempting to stay in your pajamas all day. But we always find that getting showered and dressed makes us feel fresh and helps boost productivity. Staying in our comfies all day makes us just want to curl up in a ball. Dress for success, even when you're not leaving the house. No need for a suit.
5. Get your work space just right.
Open those windows! Natural light will help you be more productive and stay awake longer. If your abode is a basement, you may consider taking your work to a lively coffee shop or a (less lively) library. Being surrounded by productive-seeming people will be inspiring.
6. Don't sleep through your calls.
We can often lose track of time when we're working from home and not constantly looking at the time on our computers at the office. But make sure you don't neglect any calls that have been scheduled. Also, if you're on a call, it might be a good time to feed the dog so he stops barking while you're trying to have a professional conversation.
7. Don't go AWOL.
Just in case your boss calls! You can run out for a bit, but keep it only to what you would do at the office if at all possible. If you need to be out for an extended period of time, give everyone a courtesy head's up. But you know that already.
We all love working from home once in awhile. And who knows, maybe the better you work from home, the more opportunities you'll have to work from home! Want to find out where to find the best remote jobs? Check this out!
- 10 Tips For Working From Home ›
- 20 Working From Home Tips to Boost Your Productivity ›
- 18 Tips for Working From Home Effectively | Inc.com ›
- Top 30 tips for staying productive and sane while working from home ›
- 12 Tips to Stay Healthy While Working From Home ›
- How to survive working from home: 12 tips and tricks ›
- 10 Tips To Make 'Working From Home' Work For You — Hongkiat.com ›
Every time payday rolls around, I’m on top of the world. Jeff Bezos-level rich - even though I’m anything but. And then somehow the very next day, rent is due.
The cycle continues. The next payday, bills for my apartment. I find myself without a surplus of savings since I just moved and newly-furnished my apartment completely.
Even more terrifying is the looming presence of the holiday season. Halloween’s officially over and before we know it, hello Thanksgiving…and then there’s Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s. It’s insane.
I’ve been feeling very British lately. Not in a Union-Jack-obsessed, “Keep Calm and Carry-On” way. I went through that phase in 2012 with everyone else… no thank you. And it’s not even a surge of patriotism catalyzed by the Queen dying — I’m firmly team Diana and team Meghan.
Now that fall is officially here, the holidays will sweep in and I’ll have to contend with the fact that I won’t be spending them with my family in the UK. I went home to London earlier this year, so there’s not much left in my travel budget for another trip across the pond. A few domestic jaunts might be in my future, but the closest I’ll get to England this winter is watching Love Island and Love, Actually.
So in that spirit, I’ve been filling my days with content from my favorite Brits. I’m listening to all the old British rock bands I grew up listening to, patiently awaiting the new Arctic Monkeys album, and rewatching anything with Michaela Coel in it. I even shipped myself an order of British Baked Beans, so you know it’s dire.
I’ve also been watching British YouTubers like Grace Beverley — my favorite. Generally, I only go on YouTube to watch Vogue Beauty Secrets and AD Open Door videos. But I’m so glad I stumbled on Grace. Her content is a mix of London lifestyle (what lured me in), relatable entrepreneurship, and mindful productivity. I’m not a hustle-and-grind-girlboss, but as a creative person in a 9-to-5, I need all the help I can get to stay plugged in. So, the video “how to be really really really productive without getting overwhelmed” changed my approach to WFH.
Grace outlines her own productivity method: the to-do table. Instead of making a simple to-do list, she divides her tasks into a table that anyone can follow. As someone who’s survived with to-do lists for years, I recently implemented Grace’s method, and it’s revolutionized my workdays.
how to be really really really productive without getting overwhelmedwww.youtube.com
I follow her routine to a tee. Here’s how it works:
Essentially, she divides her daily responsibilities into four categories: quick ticks, tasks, projects, and non-negotiables.
- Quick Ticks: Actions that take less than 5-minutes
- Tasks: To-do’s that take up to 30-minutes. Probably don’t take too much brain energy.
- Projects: Long-term list items. These help guide your priorities, even if you’re not crossing them off in one day.
- Non-negotiables: Pick 3 things each day that you must get done. This is how you’ll truly measure success.
With everything written down and sorted, next address your schedule. Meetings, deadlines, and time blocks — whatever works best for you. Write it down. Then make a pact with yourself to stick to them.
This way of categorization provides a roadmap for prioritizing your day — making you far more productive. Have you ever spent the entire day on small tasks and then suddenly realized you hadn’t moved the needle on any task? Or do you spend way too much time on tasks that aren’t a priority? No more. With your non-negotiables laid out, you know what to laser-focus on and what to dedicate energy towards.
Also, it pays to know your working style. I’m not a morning person. Yet, I have to be up and at ‘em super early. So, first thing in the morning, I march through my Quick Ticks to warm me up. I set a time limit, so I can knock out some easy wins which is totally inspiring. Then I move on to bigger things without lingering on emails or admin. For others, it might be more helpful to tackle the big things with all that early-in-the-day brain power earlier.
Grace has great tips on avoiding overwhelm and burnout. My favorite is taking more intentional breaks rather than scrolling through social media. I call this scrolling “productive” because I’m “coming up with pitches.” Oh, the lies we tell ourselves. It’s more productive in the long run to giving my brain a break with non-screen related stimuli.
Grace’s solution? Set a timer to read a real, an actual book. I’ve never thought of this. It’s a genius way to check off some books on my TBR and kickstart my creativity. After reading a good book, I’m completely inspired to write. So having books near my desk helps me step away from the computer during my lunch break for an actual reset. (And yes, the current books I’m reading are by British authors: Assembly by Natasha Brown, and Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold by Bolu Babalolu.)
In my pursuit of switching out my WFH set-up and getting my life together, I’ve engineered my workstation for success. With my new WFH essentials and Grace’s productivity technique, I’m revitalized for work — despite the fall blues and my melancholy about the pending holidays.
Here are the things getting me hyped for work and helping me crush my Grace Beverley-inspired to-do tables — no lists in sight:
Pack your bags — Southwest Airlines is having a major sale! Fares are as low as $59 one-way if you book by October 3rd.
This end-of-summer super sale is a game-changer for your travel plans through the end of the year. Summertime travel gets all the glory. But why not take advantage of your long weekends, holidays, and PTO this fall. You’ll be surprised at how much travel you can fit in. Keep the fall/winter season exciting with domestic trips that give you all the excitement without breaking the bank. All thanks to Southwest.
Here’s the breakdown:
Where can you go?
You’ll find discounted tickets to and from most airports. Sale fares apply to cross country travel, and even Hawaii, Mexico, and the Caribbean! Whether you’re visiting a new city or revisiting your last beach vacation, this sale has fares to make your travel dreams come true.
What do the fares cover?
Southwest Airlines has multiple fare tiers, each with various benefits. Wanna Get Away fares start at $59, while Wanna Get Away Plus fares start at $89. You can also find great deals on Anytime fares, which offer priority boarding and express lanes. Then there’s Business Select tickets for a luxe experience at an affordable price point.
Do you have to be a Southwest Rapid Rewards member?
You may think these sale fares are too good to be true. Is there a catch? Do you have to be a Southwest Rapid Rewards member to access them? You’re in luck — anyone can attain these fares for a limited time.
But, insider tip, you should consider signing up for Southwest Rapid Rewards. With a free sign up, you earn points and miles with each trip you take. And with this sale, each dollar you spend on these discounted tix can stretch super far until you eventually earn free travel. The only thing better than a sale is free stuff.
I’ve been browsing the Southwest Airlines site, checking out flights and dreaming.