My first day working from home went a little something like this: Job starts at 8:00 AM, so I set my alarm for 7:55 AM. That just gives me just enough time to get the coffee brewing and to turn on my computer. How awesome is that? No need to shower, dress, or hop in the car for a long, traffic-filled commute! Still in my pajamas, I park myself on the couch, check a few emails…what now? This is weird. I’m getting paid to be sitting on my computer at home, which is what I pretty much do in my free time anyway. Now I’m not really sure where to start. I could go on…but does this scenario sound familiar?
Working from home is initially challenging because you need to make a mental shift from your living space being your place of relaxation to now also becoming your professional work environment. You need to become a master of self-discipline. Management can no longer walk around and make sure you are working on what you need to be doing; they trust that you are following your schedules and meeting your deadlines.
So before you succumb to browsing Reddit all day, suddenly realizing you’ve achieved absolutely nothing in the past eight hours, check out these tips for adjusting to your new "work from home" environment.
Create an office
By that I mean get a desk. You need one. Even if you have a tiny space, I promise you can make this work. My first desk was very small, about 40" x 19" that I crammed in the corner of my bedroom. No matter the size, you now have an official working space, congratulations! This truly helps to overcome that mental barrier I mentioned earlier. It gives you an official place to go once you’ve woken up, you can keep all work related items there, and when you are done for the day, you can walk away from it.
Create a daily task checklist
This is the first thing I do after I’ve sat with my coffee and finish catching up on e-mails. I like to physically write a checklist in a notebook. I like the feeling of crossing things off the list throughout the day; seeing lots of items checked off makes me feel very productive. Then the next day, you can see which tasks you were unable to finish, transfer those over, and add any new tasks you’ve been assigned. This is a really strong start for being self-disciplined.
Establish your work ethic with your roommates
The people you live with forget that you are working when you are home. They may interrupt you for something minor, but this is still an interruption that you wouldn’t normally receive in an office. Be sure you establish your boundaries. When they interrupt you, don’t be afraid to start your sentence with "I’m working now," such as "I’m working now, but I can take out the trash when I have a break in between tasks."
You can honestly spend your entire work week in jammies, but doesn’t that sound kind of sad? Actually, getting dressed has the psychological effect of making you feel more confident and professional, even if the people you are working with can’t see you. I set my goal to be dressed before noon.
Want to love Mondays? It’s possible when you love what you do. Paradigm is a San Diego staffing agency dedicated to finding the perfect job for candidates like you. We’re connected with some of the most innovative tech companies around, giving our employees that competitive edge needed in today’s job market. We hope to hear from you today, and let's make your career goals happen.