Here are a few suggestions to help you structure your day as a remote worker.
8 Ways to Structure Your Remote Work Day
1. Organize Your Workspace
If you want to have a structured day, you first need the right place to work. Set aside a spot in your home as your work area, choosing a place that will help you focus and avoid distractions. Make sure it has all of the equipment you will need as you go about your daily tasks. Keep your workspace organized and free of clutter to have a more productive day.
2. Use a Task List
Without a manager nearby or coworkers stopping by to talk about projects, you may find yourself spending hours going down the proverbial rabbit hole on one task when you need to be paying attention to others. Make a list of tasks you need to complete each day, with the expected time you will spend on each one of them.
Review that list as you begin your day, and continue to refer back to it. At the end of the day, evaluate your progress and make your list for the following day. This will help you stay on track and on target.
3. Establish Working Hours
While you likely have at least some ability to decide when you will start and stop your workday, it's still wise to set aside some regular work hours. If you're changing your schedule every day, it can be difficult for you to find a rhythm, both physically and mentally. When you have set your own schedule, be sure to share it with your boss and colleagues, too. They need to know how you are structuring your time so they can contact you when they need to.
4. Get Dressed
Sure, the stereotype of working from home is never changing out of your pajamas! While you can do that, you shouldn't. Establish a morning routine that includes getting up and preparing for the day almost like you would if you were going to an office; if you do, you'll find yourself more mentally ready for a day of work. The simple act of getting dressed can have an amazing and positive psychological effect.
5. Schedule Times to Check In
It's vital that you all stay on the same page as your boss and your peers. Scheduling regular meetings will also help you build a more structured day, because it will force you to be present and prepared for those check-in times.
6. Remember to Take Breaks
Some people who work from home get so engrossed in a project that they forget to take a break for lunch, or even to stretch their legs. With no cues from coworkers heading out for a break, it's understandable how this can happen. However, it's important to step away from the computer now and then to take breaks to recharge, refuel, and refocus.
If necessary, set an alarm to remind you when it's time to take a break. At those times, be sure to leave your workspace. When you get back to work, you'll find you're much more productive than you would have been had you skipped the break.
7. Pat Yourself on the Back
Hopefully, your manager will recognize your successes, even if you're working remotely. But just in case you're both out of sight and out of mind, take time to congratulate yourself for a job well-done. Don't hesitate to make yourself a luxurious cup of tea after working through a job-related challenge, or to take a long break after completing a huge task that's been on your to-do list for weeks. Rewarding yourself throughout the day gives you consistent positive feedback that will keep you motivated.
Also, remember that your home environment likely provides more opportunities for enjoyment and relaxation than a typical office, so use them to your advantage!
8. Quit Working When the Day Is Done
Some remote employees find that their work hours get longer and longer. However, since you can't really leave work when it's in your home, force yourself to wrap things up and stop for the day. If you truly find that you work best in the evening hours, you can set your schedule to take advantage of that. But do it on purpose, not as a result of not setting boundaries.
Find Your Structure
As you build a more structured—and, hopefully, productive—work-from-home environment, you may find that some strategies work better for you than others. With a little trial and error, you can create the right amount of structure that allows you to get into a rhythm at home, avoid distractions, focus on tasks, and truly excel in your work.
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This article was provided by Greg Katz, Contributing Writer, and brought to you by the Ronald J. Fichera Law Firm, where our mission is to provide trusted, professional legal services and strategic advice to assist our clients in their personal and business matters. Our firm is committed to delivering efficient and cost-effective legal services focusing on communication, responsiveness, and attention to detail. For more information about our services, contact us today!
This is not tax advice and should not be construed as such. Please seek professional tax services for more information and advice that will apply to your specific tax situation.