Life Mode Hacks For Working From Home
Times like these really put things into perspective. Just a week ago many of us were gearing up for festival season, booking our summer travel plans, and generally just enjoying some warmer weather. But today, we may have other things on our mind that we think we would be thinking about currently. At Palm, we want to do everything possible to help one another to stay connected and informed during these uncertain times.
Working from home—as great as it sounds to some—is not for everyone. It can be hard to stay productive and on-task with all the inevitable distractions you have to deal with. On the other hand, some people strive when working from home. Those with a long commute suddenly have a nice extra chunk of time to get ahead of everything. Others have trouble staying focused or inspired in an office environment with all the chatting, water-cooler talk and meetings that break up the workflow.
In a perfect world, you could work from home and be more productive than ever. But, we all know in reality, it’s never that easy. So, we put together a few helpful tips to help you not just survive, but strive, when working from home.
Don’t Work From Bed
Let’s start first thing in the morning. As tempting as it might be to just pull out your laptop and start firing off emails before you even roll out of bed, it probably isn’t a good idea. You’ll be better prepared for the day if you get up, get dressed, eat some breakfast, hop in the shower, grab your coffee (or tea), and take some time to properly wake up before tackling the day. Without a buffer between waking up and starting work, you might come to dread those early mornings at home. It’s also much harder to keep track of time when you’re lounging in bed. The next thing you know, you’ve got 5 minutes to get ready for a conference call and your coworkers are about to realize that you just rolled out of bed… literally!
Don’t Skip Your Morning Routine
We all have different morning routines that help get us through the day… Listening to your favorite podcast on the commute. An early morning workout session. The obligatory coffee stop on the way to the office. Rituals like these not only wake us up and do wonders for our health, they get us in the right mindset to handle the day’s work. So, even though you’re not going to leave the house before starting your workday, you shouldn’t skip your rituals, even if this means making some minor adjustments. For instance, you can still listen to your morning podcast even if your “commute” is just a 5 second walk down the hall to your office. Instead of stopping at your favorite coffee joint, spend a little extra time perfecting your home brew. And there’s nothing wrong with a little at-home morning yoga to help get you in the right mindset before combing through your inbox. Your morning routine is really the last bit of “you” time before jumping into a full work day, so do your best to maintain it as well as possible.
Designate Your Workspace
Anyone who has ever worked in an office or sat in a cubicle has daydreamed about being back home on the couch. We think to ourselves, “I could be at home in my sweat pants, and be even more productive away from all this office hustle and bustle.” And now that you’re actually being asked to work from home, it’s tempting to pull out the laptop, plop on the couch and start working. This is probably not going to work for most people. The thing is, you sit on your couch to be comfortable, watch TV, socialize and relax. These are things that aren’t very conducive to productivity. In fact, these are things you do when you’re 100% done with work and ready to fall back into the real world. So, you can’t expect to effectively take care of business when you’re glued to the couch.
You’ll be far more productive if you can set up some sort of desk or workstation. You want to create a space in your home that allows you to focus and get into that get-it-done headspace. Even if you don’t have a traditional office space at home, you can create an effective workspace just about anywhere. You might need to take over the kitchen table for now. Or, take it a step further and move a table into the quietest room in the house. You might need to move a little furniture around and get creative, but having a workspace that allows you to focus will improve your productivity.
Stand Up. Sit Down. Repeat.
No matter where you are working from, experts have been telling us for years how important it is to get up and stretch every once in a while. Research even suggests that you should only sit for 20 out of every 30 minutes. While getting up that often is bound to interrupt your workflow, you should at least stand up for a few seconds every half hour just to promote good blood flow. Adjustable standing desks are great because you can alternate between sitting and standing without interrupting your workflow. Once again, experts suggest switching between the two every 15 to 30 minutes. In addition to these small breaks, you need to actually take a few longer breaks throughout the day. Take a few minutes to close your laptop, turn on Life Mode (or airplane mode) and throw on your favorite Spotify playlist while you do some stretching and walking around your house.
Treat Yourself To Lunch
One great perk of working from home is that you can make your own lunch. No need to pack your meager leftovers into the shared office fridge. With access to your entire kitchen, you can take your lunch breaks to the next level. Whether you cook yourself something nice or just fire up a quick quesadilla, it is vital that your lunch is your lunch. That is, don’t work during lunch. Eat well. Enjoy your food. Listen to music. Watch a short show. Whatever you do, disconnect from work for at least a short time to eat a full meal. When you get back to work (even if it just means walking 15 feet from the kitchen to your workspace) you’ll be more refreshed, energized and ready to tackle the rest of the day.
How Do I Get Anything Done With Kids At Home?
If you work from home and have kids, this is the million dollar question. Now that most daycares and schools are suspended, your house will suddenly seem smaller, louder and more cramped than ever as you try to handle your normal workload amongst the chaos. No matter how old your children are, you’ll have some unique sources of distraction to deal with. Drafting an email that usually takes 5 minutes can take about 2 hours when you need to calm an irrational toddler who refuses to eat her carrots or if you need to broker a peace treaty between two teens arguing over the remote. Having a significant other or babysitter around to distract and entertain the kids is probably the only way to get anything done.
Even with help noise can be an issue. With all that commotion it can be really hard to be productive. Find some noise cancelling headphones and put on some music that won’t distract you. And if your kids are still taking midday naps, this is your chance to focus on the most attention-consuming tasks of the day. The beauty of working from home when you have kids is that, if you can manage your time wisely (admittedly, that’s a big if), you can actually spend quality time with them during lunch and other breaks without interrupting your workflow.
Put Your Phone Down
With all that’s going on in the world, and with everybody working from home, we’re more reliant on our phones than ever. The great thing about our phones is that they can make us much more productive and keep us connected to key updates and information from our local leaders. But, they can also be a huge distraction. You can pick up your phone to check a work-related email and then end up retweeting a meme and checking the latest news before you realize 26 minutes have come and gone. But all this really means is that you have to try a little harder to ignore the distractions when working from home. One trick is to turn off all push notifications on your social apps. If you have a Palm, customize your Life Mode settings so that you’re only getting work-related notifications.
When Your Work Day Ends, It Ends!
When it comes time to end your work day, stop working! As simple as that sounds, many of us end up checking and responding to work emails well after dinner and throughout the night. Even if this is how you operate on a normal workday, you should try extra hard to avoid doing this when working from home. If the last thing you read at night, and the first thing you read in the morning are related to work, you’re going to feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
Take Care of Yourself
Ultimately, working from home is still work. Many people will thrive because they won’t have to deal with all the distractions that come with working in a busy office. Not only that, they can save some time and money by skipping the morning commute. Others night struggle to stay focused and motivated throughout the day without the ability to just turn to a coworker to discuss an issue or develop new strategies.
Regardless of which camp you fall into, we hope these tips can help you tackle the coming days with a little less stress and a lot more confidence. If you can make your home a happy and productive workplace—for however long that might be necessary—you can get through this in one piece.
As important as it is to look after your physical health, staying at home for an extended period of time can also strain your mental health. When working from home, you’ll need to try harder to separate the stresses of your work life from the joys of your home life. Whether you’re a Palm user or not, we hope you can find those Life Mode moments to focus on what really matters. What tricks and tips do you have for maintaining a healthy balance when working from home? Share your #LifeMode hacks with us!