How to Separate Work from Home

A majority of you may be finding your work office suddenly within the confines of your home. While this is the dream situation for many Americans, I would wager that there are an increasing number of people who have found that this is not exactly ideal. Even if you don’t have the extra weight of caring for kids or elderly, I am sure there are still challenges to productivity that we all have to face (hence why you’ve found yourself reading this blog post instead of working on your task). It could be that after just a few days of trying to work from home, you are struggling to find that balance.

I wrote once about how to find a Separate Peace Space for work-at-homes, but I decided to follow up with a succinct list of tips that newly quarantined workers might find useful.

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  • Designate A Work Space – Isolation helps tremendously with focus. Think about the monks who have retreated into a shrine on a mountain. The less distractions you have, the better. You may even find that you’ll need to work less as long as your focus is well-honed for a good chunk of time. I prefer to have really tidy and clean work spaces that face a wall or a corner of the living room. When possible, I like to have natural sunlight nearby so I can feed off of the sun’s energy. For those with little ones at home, a separate room all-together may be necessary too.
  • Create A Schedule – A schedule will greatly help with keeping you on task. Each morning, assign a block of time to each activity you need to get done, and follow the schedule strictly. It will greatly increase awareness for when your mind starts to wander or when you find yourself doing chores instead of work. There will be time for distractions later. I mean, you ARE stuck at home!
  • Fall Into Good Habits – Good habits include waking up at the same time every morning, exercising to increase your energy, limiting coffee to a certain cups per day, and getting enough sleep at night. Good habits also include eating only at designated times for designated meals (no snacking allowed!), creating a schedule every morning, and staying focused on the task at hand.
  • Learn to Prioritize – Perhaps the hardest thing about working from home is now, you are suddenly presented with a to-do list that includes house chores. Before, when you went into work, you had a designated space for professional duties only. But as you check your emails, you might find a sudden callings to clean out the fridge, or do a load of laundry. It’s a quick task, so how can it hurt? This is when prioritization comes in handy. Know what is most important and do those first. As I said before, you have all the time in the world later.
  • Know How You Best Operate – I best operate in complete silence. My sister best operates with music in the background. My mother best operates with ten pen options lined up in a row. My husband seems to best operate later in the morning rather than earlier. Knowing how you best operate will be essential in setting yourself up for success.
  • Have a Conversation with the Household – It’s easier to change what is in your complete control, but it is difficult to shape the world around you. Many of you may be finding yourselves at home with roommates, children, and significant others. The best thing to do is to communicate with each other what works for you and what doesn’t. Maybe some members are better sitting through 8 hours straight of work, while others need occasional breaks. That’s fine, as long as you all know each other’s boundaries. Perhaps setting aside time to hang out is essential, especially when little ones are around. It gives them something to look forward to and motivates them to stay-on-task in order to get that reward at the end. Whatever it is, talk with each other! #distantyettogether, am I right?

How about you? Feel free to share some tips here, I am sure others will be reading. And then afterwards, BACK TO WORK!

With love, of course.