April 15, 2020 - 5 minute read

Working from Home : Basics (part 2)

More basic tips for working from home. Part 1 has more technical advice.

Keep your working rituals

Wake up.
Take a shower.
Get dressed.
Eat breakfast.
Commute.
Take a black coffee.
Get to your desk, read emails.

We all have a routine we follow only during workdays. Those rituals are often associated to the place we work. Our body and mind understand that if we are at home we should relax, it's a day off.

Those rituals are not only part of the routine. They are the ON/OFF switch of the work-mode self. It's like an athlete moments before getting into the competition floor. The rituals are there to get them into the right mindset for optimal performance. If taking a black coffee makes you ready to tackle your email inbox in the morning, go for it.

You can do any sort of ritual as long as it feels authentic and accessible to you.

Keep defined work hours

Freelance jobs and some companies measure profit by results. They understand that hours do not equal productivity. Unfortunately, at most traditional offices, people tend to associate how productive you are by the time you spend in the building. The problem of working at home with that mentality is that you are in the building all the time, every day.

That mentality is so messed up that I prefer to lash at it later in another post.

Being at home can tempt anyone to bend the rules a little bit. Which is fine if you know what you are doing. If not, it will back-fire hard. Point is, at most companies, the flex-hours policy is often pretty gray and half-baked. In the end, chances are that working all the time will be the default expectation.

Expectations are resentments waiting to happen. The only way to avoid further suffering is to communicate how you manage your hours. So, if you go with flex-hours, know how to manage those hours because no one will understand them. Communicate often. Communicate a lot. In a perfect scenario, people will stop caring about hours and start caring about results.

If a flexible workday isn't something you care about, then the traditional 9 to 6 set-up suits you. Even then, stick with those times. Make sure that everyone else understands you are sticking with those times. Communicate and make it very clear at what times you are available.

Understand what distracts you

Time management is pain management. This is why understanding distraction can help you stay on task.

How to get back on track:

Take proper breaks

Research proves that fatigue negatively influences decision-making. Working non-stop will do you more harm than good. You will make more mistakes, stress will pile up. Productivity will be a wishful thinking.

That is why you should take regular breaks. Let me say it again. TAKE BREAKS!

How to take breaks:

Taking proper breaks also means proper sleep.

Poor sleep affects the brain and cognitive function. That can cause deficit in attention and working memory. Most healthy adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best. No amount of breaks will fix a sleep deprived brain, so keep some decent sleep hours as well.

Harness the power of flexibility

Remember you are at home for a reason: because you can. Not everyone have the privilege of work flexibility.

This flexibility brings a few perks:

But there are also challenges:

Self-awareness is a necessity. Doing too much or too little happens because you don't know why are you doing it. The first step is to observe and be mindful of your actions. Then focus on what is important to you and you will learn how to fit the pieces together.