Fun fact, I was an independent consultant for over 17 years before I agreed to work for GIGABYTE Notebooks. You see, I was one of the early adopters of the internet economy, why did I stop being my own boss? Cause I'm a tech nerd who has always wanted to work in tech and I love, love, love the laptops I get to work and play with here, and it was time for something new. That being said, as I watch all of the work from home orders, school closures and quarantine notices get broadcasted on my Twitter feed (go ahead and give us a follow on Twitter to stay up to date), I've been thinking, "How ironic, I finally go back to a 9-5 and people end up having to work from home."
After the first couple of heady days of being able to walk around in no pants, working from home can end up a challenge for people not used to the lack of structure. There's no one watching you, there's no official break or lunch time, and there are a ton of distractions. Not to mention if you're worried about the state of the world, family health concerns, or other things in general, It's easy to lose focus. Here's the deal, I've worked from home in boom and bust times, during major life transitions and personal tragedies, and there are a few things you need to know in order to keep moving forward.
1. Use Productivity Apps To Stay On Track
Whether you're using Asana, Google Calendar, Gantt charts or you use something else at work, make sure you keep using it at home. No, you will not remember to do it later, in fact you're more likely to forget more outside of your office setting. Especially if your family members or roommates are also at home, there's just more distraction happening. Plus, you don't have your favorite (or not so favorite) co-workers or supervisors reminding you of those less desirable tasks. I've used Asana for years to stay on track of projects and monster todo lists and prefer using it in calendar mode, that way I miss nothing. I still use it on the job here at Gigabyte and give my team access so there's transparency on who's doing what. (Hint for remote teams... it helps everyone to stay on track.)
2. Create A Schedule - Now.
A simple schedule will help you stay focused, and for your mental health, don't check the news first thing. I stopped doing that sometime in the early 2000's and never looked back. I get up, shower, get dressed, take the dog out, have coffee and start my day out relaxed. I don't check email until 9 am, I don't look at the news until lunch time, I only check email at 9 am, 11 am, 2 pm, and at 5pm - yup, four times a day. The rest of the time I'm writing, editing video, shooting video, in meetings, or writing reports. I do not work through lunch, that's me time, I don't work past dinner time, that's me time, I do not work on days off, that's me time. Oh, because I work for a company? Again, I started this policy in the mid-2000's. After all, I worked for myself, and if I didn't make a time off policy it was work all day, everyday and that spells burnout. Don't do it. Make a schedule and let it work for you.
3. Self Care Is Essential
Look, it's crazy out there in the world right now. If you're going to stock up on things, besides TP, grab some comfort food and make sure you have access to things that make you feel good. Whether you're into watching movies, reading books, or taking long Epsom salts baths or drinking piping hot cups of tea, make sure you're covered and then make time for these self care moments. Working from home can be stressful, especially when everyone in the house is stressed out. Take breaks, go outside and stretch, take care of yourself and get some exercise. Getting stressed out isn't healthy and it isn't productive.
4. Learn to Prioritize
One thing that leads to overwhelm is thinking EVERYTHING is important. Guess what, not everything is important. There are one or two things on your monster list that are the MOST IMPORTANT, and others that are IMPORTANT and the rest are all kind of important. Knowing the difference is crucial to ticking down your list. Keller Williams founder, Gary Keller suggests in his book, The One Thing, to choose one thing on your list and do that first, don't think about anything else, just do that, then do the next thing. It sounds like a no brainer, but it really is a great way to get things done.
Like you, I have a monster to do list, with somethings that take priority, as mentioned above, I use Asana in calendar mode and I make note of the #1 thing each day and do that first. Once that task is done I do the next thing, and the blog is usually #3 or #4 on the priority list, I will move tasks down the week on the calendar as urgent matters pop up or certain tasks take longer than originally expected. Sometimes there are projects that require someone else to finish a part, before yours can complete, give those roomier deadlines so there's less stress.
5. Set Healthy Boundaries
Okay, so you're on a work from home order (meeee tooo), and you probably have family members or roommates at home. In a world where people were trained that work happens in the office and recreation happens at home it's hard for people to understand that pants or no pants, you're working.
a) Carve out a spot for work. (if there's more than one of you working from home, make sure you're all getting the room you need.) Working from the couch might work if you don't have anyone else at home, but if the kids are out of school and the whole family is home, it's going to be next to impossible to get anything done. If you can find a room with a door you can close that can help in huge ways to have the quiet you need to focus, if not make sure you have some good headphones. (shameless plug for the AERO Beats headphones which we're running low on, so you might want to grab a pair while they last.)
b) Use your phone alarm to signal lunch time and break time. Look, just cause you're working from home doesn't mean you don't need to take breaks. You do need to get up and walk around, stretch, eat, give your mind a break.
c) Communicate with your family/roommates to ensure there's understanding. Obviously if you have little ones at home, cats or dogs, they do not understand you're working and neither do you want to ignore their needs. Adult sized family or household members however do need respect each other's work time. Sit down and discuss your needs, like how you deal with interruptions, your conference call schedule, what you need as far as sound levels go, and there will be far less stress.
d) Keep your normal work hours. Working from home doesn't mean you're working all day and all night and into the weekend. If you don't normally work all the hours, then don't do it now, unless your work has a policy for measuring your work and compensating you. Work/life balance is really important when you're working from home, so be sure you give yourself some real transition in and out of work mode to signal your mind it's time to relax.
And one last thing, nothing is worse than trying to get your work done on a slow out of date laptop. Keeping your tech fresh and up to date is a serious must when you're working at home or on the go. With the current state of the world, having the right tech to keep you connected is essential. At GIGABYTE Notebooks we're dedicated to ensuring you have the best laptops at the best price to keep your work going and flowing. If your frustrated with your old machine, don't add to your stress levels, upgrade now, take advantage of our weekly deals to help you stay on track.