How to stay sane working from home

Here’s how to make working from home productive and free from distractions. 

work from home

© Asawin Klabma | 123rf

Working from home has its benefits, like no longer getting stuck in traffic or a crowded train during rush hour. Better yet, you can wear anything you want with zero repercussions. However, it does bring its own set of challenges. There’s plenty of distractions all over the house and for some, not being in a “work environment” can make you lose focus.

→ Navigate Covid-19: Property knowledge, stay at home articles and tools. Get started now.

It’s time to get your work done. Whether you’re just starting your work from home adventure, you’re doing in part-time or you’re in it for the long haul, these tips will help you stay focused on earning your monthly paycheck.

1. Structure a work routine

work from home

© primagefactory | 123rf

If you’re used to waking up at 7:00 AM to get ready for work or you need a morning coffee before you start your workday, keep doing so. Pretend like you’re going to the office so you can be mentally prepared for working at home. Stick to defined work times or you might either have an unproductive day or end up overworking yourself.

Also, just because you’re working remotely doesn’t mean you need to stay in your pyjamas all day. We’re not forcing you to wear proper work clothes, but at least get into something like athletic wear to feel comfortable throughout the workday. But don’t forget to be presentable for video call work meetings.

2. Create a dedicated workspace

work from home

© marctran | 123rf

Reserve a spot in your home purely for working. It can be the corner of the dining table or a study desk in your room, but make sure this is where you stay for the duration of your daily “workday”. This might sound insignificant, but without a defined workspace you might start to blur the lines between your home and work, and that might be stressful for some. When you’re done with work, shut down and leave the space.

If you have kids, speak to them about your new working arrangement. They need to be mindful about the noise they make when you’re in your workspace and only come to you in an emergency.

When you really want to dedicate a space in your home for work, here are the essential things you’ll need: 4 essentials for your home office

3. Plan your workday

work from home

© beer5020 | 123rf

Ready your agenda beforehand to boost productivity and stick to it. Plan your workday to the time of the day you feel the most effective, whether it’s early morning or late afternoon – save your hardest tasks for then and keep the low times for logistical work.

4. Take breaks

work from home

© rawpixel | 123rf

Even though we provided tips to stay focused when working at home, it doesn’t mean that you need to deprive yourself of breaks (don’t tell me that you don’t slack off for a few minutes in the office anyway).

Get in your toilet breaks, move around the house occasionally to keep the blood flowing or sneak in a healthy snack break if you’re feeling peckish. Best if you can take a few minutes every hour to stand up and stretch your entire body. Preserve your sanity and don’t stay glued in front of your computer for hours on end.

5. Keep in touch and work to deadlines

work from home

© Vasin Leenanuruksa | 123rf

Employers need to know that they can count on you when you’re out of sight. Working from home is the best opportunity to show your bosses that you can do your job well. Set reminders for scheduled meetings and add your deadlines to a calendar so that you’re always prepared for whatever work throws at you.

In fact, you might start to like video calls with your colleagues when you start working remotely. Not only is it much faster to discuss things in person rather than e-mail, but it’s also great to get some human contact other than your kids or your better half.

6. Get some exercise

exercise at home

© Shao-Chun Wang | 123rf

If you’re going to be stuck at home all day or you’re lazy to go out after grinding at work, its better to get some actual exercise done – YouTube has plenty of home exercise routines to help you stay in shape. Many can be done in a few short minutes.

7. Set some ground rules for your kids

work from home with kids

© Dean Drobot | 123rf

Once you’re in the “office” space, you should not be disturbed, especially when taking calls. Plan some activities for your children to keep them occupied when you’re busy, like homework and housework, with breaks so they can ask you questions, or you can speak with them. This is also a great time to show your kids the value of hard work and effort.

8. Let your colleagues/clients know

Say you’re taking a meeting call with colleagues or you need to speak with a client – let them know that your child is with you and warn them that it might be noisy. Most people understand and are more forgiving knowing that you have to multitask with a kid in tow.

Working from home can be difficult, especially when no one is watching you to get stuff done. But it can be a stress-free experience if you’re well prepared.