The Ultimate Working-From-Home To-Do List
If you’ve just recently started working from home, you may still be experiencing some teething problems in terms of getting yourself organized each day for the week ahead.
Working at home means having to be in charge of your own levels of productivity, and I’ve found that keeping yourself accountable in that respect tends to take a lot more than just being a little strict with yourself.
For that reason, it’s a good idea to make a list that you can consult at the beginning of each week and – for some items – each working day, to help you get into a good mindset to be productive, stay focused and get things done.
Here are a few ideas for what that should contain to get the most out of your working day.
Refine your morning routine.
Be sure you’re getting up at the same time each working morning, and giving yourself plenty of time to get ready for the day.
Make sure you’ve got ample opportunity to get dressed, do any recreational activities you would normally do in the morning (whether that’s meditation, checking social media, home workout, walking the dog, etc.) and get yourself breakfast – don’t be tempted to leave it last minute and eat at your desk!
Prepare your lunch and break ahead.
On the subject of food, it’s a good idea to prepare your lunch before you start work for the day if it’s the sort of thing that needs pre-preparing.
If you’d normally take a sandwich or salad to the office, get that ready before you get to your desk for the day - yes even if you are working from home in your home office.
You’ll find your lunch break goes far quicker if you spend a part of it actually getting your lunch ready, and not getting the most from your lunch break can lead to a dip in productivity during the afternoon.
Take a bottle of water to your desk with you, too – it’s just as energizing as a second coffee, but far less likely to have you crashing mid-morning.
Set your goals for the day.
When you sit down at your desk to start work, take a few minutes to establish and write down what you need to do that day, in the order that these individual tasks need completing.
It’s far easier to structure your working day if you know what’s you have to do, and being able to have your daily goals in front of you will remind you to keep at it when the distractions and the urge to procrastinate inevitably start creeping in later on.
Set your phone to ‘Do Not Disturb’.
When there’s nobody else around to make sure you’re not flouting your responsibilities in favor of scrolling through social media, it’s far easier to succumb to the urge to respond to your Facebook notifications as soon as they light up your lock screen.
To avoid this, if your phone has a Do Not Disturb feature, enable it as soon as you start work, and don’t be tempted to turn it off until your lunch break, or after you’ve logged off for the evening.
If your phone doesn’t have a feature like this, either turn it off or leave it somewhere that it’s not within reach from your desk – remember, out of sight, out of mind!
Make the most of your break.
As we mentioned earlier, it’s best to prepare your lunch before you start work if you can. Of course, that’s not necessary if it’s something that takes just a couple of minutes in the microwave or a cup of boiling water to get it ready.
One thing that is important, though, as with breakfast – don’t eat at your desk!
Your lunch break is your free time, and if you don’t spend it away from your work responsibilities, then you’re going to find it far harder to keep yourself focused later on in the day.
Spend that time on whatever you feel like doing, and it won’t feel like a wasted break!
Mark your to-do list as you go along.
Once you’ve finished a task, cross it off your list. Once you’ve completed a good share of what you’d set out to do for the day, your remaining workload feels a lot lighter, and you can see the end in sight!
It’s a good way to stay motivated and stop yourself from feeling a little more overwhelmed by the work you have to do that day.
Take a moment for yourself and relax.
If you start to feel a dip in your energy and productivity coming on, beat it before it starts by taking a few minutes away from your screen.
Don’t be tempted to use this time to check your phone again, as you’ll fall down the rabbit hole and won’t be able to get back into it! Instead, take a minute to stretch, meditate, go outside… something to refresh your brain a little.
Reflect each evening on your workday.
At the end of each working day, take a moment to look back on your to-do list, and reflect on how much progress you’ve made that day.
Did you get it all done? Is there anything you have to do tomorrow instead? What aspects of your working environment or routine were effective, and which weren’t?
Reviewing these things often will allow you to eventually find a working routine that works perfectly for you.
It sounds obvious, but once you’ve finished for the day, finish for the day!
Don’t let yourself use up your free time by occasionally checking your emails, or worrying about what you need to do tomorrow.
If you don’t make the most of your evenings, your productivity will suffer the next day!
These were just a few pointers that I, personally, find helpful for getting the most out of the working day in a home-working environment, whilst also trying to maintain a good work/life balance.
Some may work for you and some may not work so well – in the end, it’s all about trial and error, and finding out what works best for you.