When I eventually need to update my CV, I need to add ‘multi-tasker extraordinaire”, because I feel like I got a degree in multi-tasking in 2020! Can you relate?? While I type this post, I’m waiting for responses to urgent work emails. My 5yr old is setup with a Play-doh station, I’ve left the 9yr old with his breakfast….and I’ve got my cleaning products ready to dash into the bathroom to do a quick clean up. Life is real crazy!
I was chasing my tail last year, and only realised that I needed to change my work-from-home strategy (or lack thereof) after I read The Ultimate Guide to Working from Home. This post is going to be a mix of a book review, as well as how I’ve implemented the practical tips from the book to make my life a bit easier.
What is The Ultimate Guide to Working From Home about?
Are you one of the millions of people now working from home? It’s not easy but it needn’t be stressful. The Ultimate Guide to Working from Home will help you set up your desk, stay sane, healthy and be more productive than ever, even if you have family or housemates at home with you.
You’ll learn how to get in the zone, how to maintain focus and how to reward yourself as you work. You’ll learn the importance of setting and maintaining boundaries both inside and outside the home and how to establish a routine that suits your lifestyle. And you may not want to return to the office at all once this is over. The Ultimate Guide to Working from Home can help you with that, too.
Packed with research and helpful statistics, you’ll also find tips for managers and employees alike on how to approach more flexible working when the time comes. Stop typing ‘how to set up a work station at the kitchen table’ into the search bar late at night. Start getting the most out of working from home, today.
The Benefits of working from home
I have to say, that I didn’t realise so many people worked from home pre-Covid. It has honestly always been my dream to work from home…2020 was definitely not a dream come true, but I guess this was my one silver lining, as I have worked from home since March of last year. To me, the benefits are:
Working in my PJ’s (though we’ll touch on this later)
Being available to attend the kids school sports matches (though that’s been non-existent for the duration of my work-from-home career)
Saving on travel time and fuel (I LOATHED the 30km trek to and from work everyday)
Improved health (I’ve had one minor cold in the last 10 months, that’s it)
Better mental health space (I have basically no friends at work, so it was honestly the loneliest, most depressing thing for me….to go to a place that I spent 8hrs at, in isolation)
Okay, so now that I have touched on the benefits, to me, let’s touch on the tips that I picked up from this book!
1. A good home office setup
It’s important to seperate your work space from your home space. I was working from my bed everyday. Taking breaks to read….on my bed. Having coffee, on my bed…. Crying about deadlines, on my bed. My bedroom was not feeling like a sanctuary anymore.
Sadly, I don’t have a spare room for an office space, so I had to make do. My husband put a desk in the corner of our lounge. There is good lighting there, I got my office chair so I am not sitting on a dining room chair….that would be very bad for my back. I have a really cool mouse…the Logitech Pebble M350 that you can check out over HERE😉 I also got a pot plant!
Really just make an effort to set it up to feel like a seperate space. Your space needs to be ergonomic, comfortable and effective!
2. Get out of your pyjamas!
Wasn’t this the dream though??? To work in PJ’s??? It was, and it is….but for my productivity, this did not work. Even if I just changed into clean PJ’s and put on a bra, it made me feel more work-y (yes that isn’t a word!). Most days I just put on a tank top & leggings (though slippers are non-negotiable) and that just makes such a difference. It changes my mindset from….slum in bed…to ‘hey, it’s hammer work time.‘.
BUT…..a tank top ain’t appropriate for Zoom meetings, so make sure to check when you have meetings, and make an effort to dress up!
3. Create a routine
I find that it’s really important to have some sort of purpose and routine to my day. I did not implement the to-do list in 2020, but this is definitely important for me in 2021. In 2020 I think we all thought….this won’t be permanent, I’ll be back at work in 3 months, etc. Now, I don’t know what will happen…if my institution will implement a work-from-home policy so it’s an option going forward? Until ‘normal’ though, this is my normal.
Right now I am the cleaner, the nanny, the employee….as well as the blogger. I am not sure if employers factor this in, but people….it’s A LOT! So my work day may not be as simple as 7:30am – 4pm anymore, when I have so many tasks to perform. I break my day up into tasks, a to-do list, breaks, etc. For example:
I need to set aside an hour to tidy up.
The kids need breakfast, lunch, snacks.
The kids also need some one on one time, some game time, chat time….something that involves me.
Important emails need to be replied to.
Zoom meetings need to be attended.
Deadlines set for work tasks.
A break…some reading time, a Netflix show. Something.
I’m just getting into my 2021 routine, and once the kids are back at school…it will need to be tweaked again.
4. Look after your body
In 2020, I enjoyed working from home, but I also really fell short. Many days I didn’t eat anything until almost supper time. I never saw the sun outside. I would be replying to emails and sending reports out at 2am. Where work ended and where my life started, I didn’t know. Many days I felt so close to having a nervous breakdown. I cried. A LOT.
Mental health, physical health and a work-life balance are all VERY IMPORTANT!
Schedule work out time…a walk. Something.
Plan your meals. Eat healthily.
Do breathing exercises.
Decide on a cut off time for work and emails.
This book has honestly been such a game changer for me….so practical and also, SHORT! I read this in the waiting room at the Pediatrician’s office one day with the kids. The Ultimate Guide to Working from home is filled with resources, practical ideas, podcast and book recommendations and more to help you get the best out of your work-from-home experience. I highly recommend this one if you need to find some way to stay sane and be more productive, while working from home.
The Ultimate Guide to Working From Home is available at all leading book retailers and retails for around R215. I see it’s on special on Loot.co.za for R172 at the moment.
Let me know what your top tips are for working from home. If you’re not working from home, would you prefer to?
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Disclaimer: The Ultimate Guide to Working From Home was sent to me by Jonathan Ball Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.