If you’ve all of a sudden found yourself working from home or doing online classes, I’d love to share some of my tips on the topic!
I’ve been working from home for several years, and I finished the last two years of my undergraduate degree online.
Below are some of the things I’ve learned help me:
Set a schedule: It’s easy to sleep-in, drag out your morning routine and avoid sitting down to work. This only drags your workday later into the day and makes it harder to get to bed on time that night, which turns into a vicious cycle.
Prepare: Gather everything you’ll need ahead of time. Your laptop charger, water, planner, pen/pencil and binder should all be next to you when you sit down. Otherwise, you’ll be jumping up every few minutes to grab that thing you forgot but need.
Proper workspace: You don’t necessarily need a desk and office chair, but make sure you have somewhere that’s ideal for work. As comfy as the couch is, I’ve found I’m more productive sitting at a table.
Don’t work/study in bed: This can make it harder to fall asleep at night; keep your bed a place you wind down, not where you need to focus on work/school.
Move your body: Working/studying at home means you’re even more sedentary than normal because we cut out the walks to and from your car and around campus or your building. If you can, get outside for a little or do a quick workout at home.
Meal prep: Just like you do for work, I’d recommend preparing at least lunch the night before. Have something ready to go so you aren’t cooking a full meal in the middle of your “work day”.
Advice for working from home:
Track your hours: Even if you aren’t being paid hourly, it can help to keep track of when you’re working. This way, you know you’re “on the clock” and can’t get distracted texting or scrolling Facebook until you “clock out”.
Take breaks: Don’t forget to take the breaks you get during a normal day. If you get an hour lunch break, set a timer to ensure you take a full-hour break.
Communicate your schedule: If you have kids, make sure they’re aware of the situation. Explain why you’re working from home in a way they’ll understand and benefit from. If you’re planning a family vacation they’re excited for, explain you need to work to afford the trip.
Advice for online classes:
Turn your video on: I actually enjoyed when teachers required us to have our videos on during class because otherwise I found it so easy to get distracted doing something else. Especially being at home, it’s easy for something else to pop up that you think needs to be handled right away.
Participate: Not only does this help keep you engaged in the content, you’ll stand out and earn bonus points from the teacher.
Fun fact: Interacting over video prepares you for Skype interviews, online trainings, and virtual meetings in the future!