Managing your time when working from home

A picture of a couple working from home

Working from home is one of those things that works better for some people than others. If you are naturally self-motivated and prefer your own company, it can be a preferable option to commuting to an office every day.

When we consider also the disparity in opportunities available in different parts of the country, with the rural north having comparably limited work to the metropolitan south, it does certainly seem that remote working will be a more viable option for the future.

However, it does come with a couple of disadvantages. Those include:

  1. Risk of isolation
  2. Loss of structure
  3. Time management

Working at home, it is incredibly easy to procrastinate. When you are working in an office with your line manager beside you, there is a far greater impetus to get work done. At home, you’re on your own with only yourself to keep you motivated.

Here are some tips on how you can create the best working environment for yourself possible, and help keep your mental health in good shape.

Don’t work in bed

Yes, it is tempting to bring your laptop to bed and work under blankets. However, lying in bed while typing is not only terrible for your posture, it will also give you insomnia. This is because if you spend your working or waking hours in bed, you will subconsciously stop associating the bed with sleep, cue tossing and turning all night.

It’s also more likely to give you a lacklustre attitude to your work in general. Being comfortable is important, but if you literally don’t even change your position from “sleep” to “work”, it will be hard for your brain to catch up and get itself out of sleep mode too.

So resist the urge to work in bed, and get up.

Task lists are your best friend

Working at home can be even more stressful than working in an office because your workload will feel more sporadic and weirder. In the office, you know where you are (we hope) and you know what is expected. At home, it can get really difficult to prioritise different tasks, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed.

Take some time to breathe, close your eyes and write down all the tasks you have to complete. Work out what’s going to take the longest, or be the most boring, and do that first. Once you’ve got that out of the way, the quick stuff will fall into place.

You even get that dopamine hit for ticking off yet another task!

Remember to drink water

When you’re working from home, and you don’t have set breaks imposed by your office mates, sometimes you can forget to drink and eat. If you are that type of person, there is no shame in setting yourself an alarm to get water or eat, because the alternative is that it gets to 6pm, you have a splitting headache and you feel dizzy.

It’s wise to have designated work snacks as well, like nuts, crackers and dried fruit to keep you fuelled throughout the day.

The new normal can feel overwhelming and unsettling, but it doesn’t have to. Working from home doesn’t have to feel so terrifying either: If you are struggling mentally, always speak to someone, don’t suffer alone.