“No, I am not talking about Madonna.”

Alright, my colleagues. It is time for some tips and tricks to help get us in the groove of working from home. This is my first job where I work as a remote contractor, and for me, it was a bit difficult to adjust. I used to wake up every morning, wearing the same routine, drinking the same coffee, doing the same nothing. I wanted something new.

The point is, I now have a work from home job, and I needed to know how to adjust to things, fast. It had taken me some time to realize, “oh, I don’t have to get up two hours early anymore.” I also came to the question, “how can I be the most productive at home?” because let’s be honest; when we are at home, we do not want to deal with anything work-related. My version of having a good time at home is sitting on the couch with my cat, watching the Golden Girls, and eating cheesecake.

After understanding all the requirements needed to have a successful work from home job, I knew I needed a routine. Here are five ways to help get you in the groove of working from home.

1. Make a plan in the Morning.

Making a plan every morning of what I will conquer for the day has proved to be extremely helpful. Making a plan allows for a clear and focused mind, along with the motivation to get work done. Even if you are interrupted, always ensure that you can get your three tasks done. One of the platforms I use to help organize my tasks, is Trello, the digital scrum board.

It also helps if you implement a consistent schedule. Get up at the same time, get ready as if you were about to go to work, and then go and start today’s duties. Similarly, wrap up work at about the same time every day. Keeping up a rigorous schedule helps you maintain consistency over the long run and builds up good habits.

Though you don’t have to dress up every morning and physically leave for work, it is always a good idea to keep that consistent schedule. I have also found that keeping a regular schedule in a relaxed environment ensures higher and quicker productivity.

2. Move Around!

Much like a professional office, you will be sitting on average 8-10 hours a day, and often after a long and tiring day, we find ourselves sitting some more! STOP! Don’t get the wrong idea; it is great to relax at home; however, when you have a job that is coinciding with your home life, it is important to keep your body active.

Take some walks during your breaks to get some fresh air, tend to your pepper garden (because everyone totally has one), meditate, and even stretching goes a long way. When your body moves around, there is an increase in blood flow, which then allows for more of a positive mindset, ergo more productivity. Moving around> positivity> motivation> increased productivity.

3. Put on the Jams.

One of my favorite jams to listen to is Lo-Fi hip-hop. Lo-fi is a music or production quality in which elements usually regarded as imperfections of a recording or performance are audible, sometimes as a deliberate aesthetic choice.

In other words, lo-fi is an ironic style of music in that the imperfections are quite soothing. The soothing element is what inspires me to be productive. These are some of my favorite channels I recommend listening to Chilled Cow, College Music, The Jazz Hop Cafe, and Chillhop Music

For more recommendations, you can visit a playlist I have created that has various types of productive music. Of course, your jams do not have to surround lo-fi music. As long as your jams inspire you to be productive, then you are on the right track

4. Communication.

Again, since you are no longer in an office, it is crucial to have all forms of communication open. Do not be afraid to ask co-workers advice, questions, or to have a small chat to get to one another. Remember, an essential skill in remote work is communication.

We all need to be aware that we have to be very responsive and also honor and respect others. Of course, keep the conversation in moderation. It is easy for communication to become a form of distraction. What I find works best is that if you have multiple tasks to work on, mute all types of notifications, so that you have 100% focus on what is in front of you.

5. Separate Work from Down Time.

Keeping work and personal time separate is probably one of the most crucial aspects to remember when you are working from home. The hardest part of remote work is that there is no separation of time for work and time for being completely switched off. Without the downtime, it is hard to recharge and work your best.

Here is my advice from someone who told me the same thing: Try not to check email from your mobile every few mins, turn off notifications outside of your working hours, etc. It also helps to keep your workplace only for work, and you don’t use the same space (if possible) when you are off. While it is important to be productive and focus on getting work done, it is also vital to focus on yourself and have “me time.” Without taking time for yourself to recharge, your productivity will falter. 

These are my five methods to help get me into the groove when working from home. It takes time to adapt, but once you set a routine for yourself, you will find working to be much more comfortable, and you will be happier. 

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