How to Overcome the Challenges of Working From Home

I wasn’t sure what to write about for today’s blog post. Given the weather outside and the school and government closings, it seemed natural that today’s blog post should talk about working from home, or how to work from home. But, we already have a few great blog posts that cover these topics, like What to Consider Before Working from Home, How to Work from Home and Preparing Your Business For Winter.

So, as I sat here, trying to figure out what to write about, I realized there was one topic I hadn’t yet covered when it came to the discussion of working from home: how difficult it can be.

Let’s face it, if you are not used to it, having to work from home can be challenging. There are so many different things to distract you. Here are just a few off the top of my head:

  • TV
  • Pets
  • Kids
  • Housework (who can’t resist the chance to catch up on the cooking, cleaning, and laundry?)
  • No good work space (sitting on the couch with a laptop on your lap doesn’t exactly promote the same kind of productive feeling as your desk in the office)

And I’m sure there are many more.

So, how can we help ourselves (and our businesses) when we have those days we need to work from home? Because business is not just going to stop, and those emails do need to get answered. So unless you are willing to take a vacation day every time there is a snowstorm, you are going to need to put some strategies in to place that will help you work from home.

Here are some that have really helped me:

Wake up!

Once you realize you are going to work from home for the day, it is really tempting to just crawl back into bed for those precious moments of more sleep. But don’t do it. Instead, keep to your normal routine. Get up, shower, eat breakfast, and get all ready as if you were going to work. This is going to help remind you that it is in fact still a work day, and will keep your brain on the same track.

Designate a work space

If you are like me, you don’t really have an office in your house. So, pick a place, and make it your office for the day. It can be your kitchen table, your living room coffee table, or even your extra guest room. Whatever you choose, make sure it is quiet, clear of as many distractions as possible, and somewhere that you have room for your laptop, phone, books, or whatever else you need. Once you have that designated “work space” for the day, you will know that if you are in that space, you are working.

Make up a To-Do list:

When you are at the office it can sometimes feel like there are endless tasks that you need to accomplish. When you are working from home, the first thing you should do is map out a clear plan for the day. What are the tasks that absolutely have to get done? What are the things you can work on from home? Write out this as a checklist and hang it up in your work space. It will help you focus throughout the day and keep reminding you and your brain that it is a real work day.

Take your breaks:

Do you normally take a lunch hour? Great! Do it at home too. Take your lunch hour, your coffee breaks, etc. Anything to help stick as close to your normal routine as possible.

Don’t be too hard on yourself:

After all, this is a day working from home. Is it going to be exactly like working from the office? Absolutely not. Can you spend the day working in your sweatpants? Yes! That is one of the great bonuses of taking a work from home day. Just be honest with yourself about what you can realistically accomplish for the day.

At the end of the day, what is important is that you get done what you need to get done and that your company doesn’t lose a step. By making some small adjustments you can help make sure that happens, even when you are working from home.

I hope everyone out there stays safe and warm today!

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