Working from home, whether you live with others or on your own, can be challenging. Each day may be different as may every individual (the clue is in the word individual!), but planning like everything else will help you achieve more and make you feel good before giving you a well earned reward after the work day is done.
If you can use the same structure for each day then great. However with a house full of other people, especially children and pets, daily demands may change. So why not try scheduling for the day ahead before heading off to bed. Make a simple preparation list.
- Write down on a single piece of paper how many hours you need to work.
- Block out the times in the day you need to set aside for non work demands. (You could even allocate some time to mow the lawn, do that bit of DIY and just work later or earlier to make up for it).
- Once completed, you now have a list of slots free to allocate your work items too.
- Make a list of the key work items you want to fulfil. Label each task into Must, Should, Could and Won’t. The must items are those that you have a commitment to deliver, others might be important, but these are the ones that are essential.
- If a MUST task is bigger than the work time you have set aside for the day, then break it down into smaller achievable chunks. Prioritise each chunk as in step 4 . Completing each one through the day will ensure you don’t get bogged down and risk putting off addressing a task. It will also help you feel better as each task is ticked off as completed.
- Remember sometimes plans change, an unexpected phone call, an essential contact isn’t available. Don’t stress over it, it is out of your control. Just park that piece of work and move on to the next task in hand.
- Review what you achieved at the end of the working day. It is not unusual to find on day 1 you have given yourself too much or too little to do. Conversely on day 2, you may over compensate in the opposite direction. However by day 3 you will probably be getting closer to predicting your achievable daily workload, subject to uncontrollable disruptions.
- Don’t beat yourself up, review, adapt and go again.
Ok, so now you have a plan and ready to go once you have woken up. No plan is worthwhile without successful execution. You may want to consider the following to help ensure your plan stays on track as much as possible.
- Share your plan with other family members pointing out the times you need to be left alone to do your work. (After all they would not be able to get hold of you to do other errands if you weren’t at home).
- If you have a room where you won’t be disturbed, then use it.
- Don’t forget to pace your work. Break it into small chunks, get that drink in breaks. The military work on the premise of resting frequently but in short breaks before you get tired. That way your work chunks stay more productive.
- Don’t let yourself get distracted in your work chunks by TV, the internet, games etc. Save the for treats at your scheduled time from your plan created earlier.