(Ironically, this blog post took me two weeks to finish)
The UK business scene is starting to get back on it feet, with some businesses reintroducing employees into the office environment with new rules and restrictions. For me, I’m still working from home, typing and scheming away at my dressing table/workspace. I do miss the commute (kinda), and seeing my colleagues in person, but I’ve really got into the whole WFH thing. I’ve kinda got a rhythm going now, and this WFH schedule makes my med schedule so easy and manageable.
When I first started WFH, I was worried that I wouldn’t be as productive as I am in the office, and that my work would be affected. It was a little like that at the beginning, but thankfully I’ve sorted myself out now. I’m lucky that I’ve had plenty of work to keep me busy.
WFH’s not been plain sailing the whole time, so I thought I’d share the tips and tricks I’ve learnt to keep me motivated and get the most out of my time and tasks.
There’s nothing a good list can’t help you sort out. I make lists for everything, whether it’s for bits I want to buy, goals I want to achieve, all the content I need to shoot in a weekend, or things I need to pack when going away.
Lists are a great way of putting all the things you need to do in one, easy-to-view place, which can help you contextualise them as well as prioritise. Once you see how many tasks you have, you can then decide which are more or less important. Need to have that first draft finished and sent by the end of the day? You should probably do that first. Need to tidy your inbox? You can maybe leave that for the end of the day as a wind-down.
My tip with making lists is that as soon as someone asks you to do something, or a task pops up out of nowhere, write it down immediately. Even if you’re planning on doing it in the next few seconds, that doesn’t matter – write that shit down! I cannot count the number of times I’ve meant to send an email right after doing something, and then totally forgotten. Lists are also a great way of keeping track, and can be really helpful in backing you up in a situation where someone may be under the impression that you’ve been lazy or forgotten to do something.
I know I just said write everything down, but there is a limit, y’know.
If you’re doing a to-do list for your day, or for work, you need to keep in mind that you literally only have the day, or your working hours, to do the stuff on your list.
If you’re a procrastinator like me, you need to keep in mind your limit. What are you capable of getting done before you need to start doing something else? If going to uni, and then working in such a full-on industry, taught me anything, it’s that it is pointless fighting the need to procrastinate because it literally just makes that need stronger. That may sound a bit defeatist, but I actually work better if I do let myself procrastinate! I started my dissertation months earlier than everyone else because I knew that such a big task was going to make me a procrastinating maniac, and it worked. I started early enough that I could procrastinate entire days away, but still make consistent progress on my dissertation and finish it in time (I actually ended up finishing it with over a week to spare!)
Don’t make your lists so long or so unreasonable that you immediately want to leg it. Think carefully about what is on your list for that day and keep your habits in mind.
Keep in contact
If there has been one thing that has saved me from being unproductive, or loosing focus, it’s been communication.
Staying in touch with colleagues has never been more important, and keeping each other updated is almost mandatory to keep everything going smoothly. I make sure to talk to all my colleagues, and have team meetings, every day. I even have catch-ups with my line manager twice a week to give him full rundowns of what I’m up to, and then just have a bit of a chat. At the end of everyday, we have chill team meetings where we all get together and just chat about what we’ve done that day, or what we’re all going to have for dinner. Pretty chill.
Keep each other updated, allow notifications from your work apps on your phone, and check your inbox regularly! Just because you might be working from home doesn’t mean you can become a hermit (note to self).
Like with when we go to sleep at night, you need to takes breaks throughout the day so your brain can have time out in order to keep functioning properly. There is nothing worse than working through brain fog, not being able to string together a basic sentence at the age of 22. It’s embarrassing.
While working at home, you should definitely take your full lunch break and completely unplug from your work – munch on your snacks while you read a book, finish that episode of Expedition Unknown, or indulge in a long Instagram scroll. Maybe even go for a walk and get some fresh air? Your lunch break is for you – it’s not extra email time.
I like to take a break mid-morning, and then a break mid-afternoon, kinda like what I did in primary school. Who knew an institution designed to prepare and condition you to spend the rest of your life in a work environment would have a lasting effect? Hmmm? Breaks like this mean I can check in with my parents, refill my water bottle, maybe vent depending on the day I’m having. Just make sure you check your calendar before you go on a break so you don’t miss any meetings, ok? Do as I say, not as I do (not do).
I am actually planning to start going back into the office one day a week, just to get a bit of normality back. Because I work in a shared office building, there are loads of new restrictions and rules, and then we also have those in our actual office, so it’ll be a little bit of a shock I think, and take some time to get used to.
While I’m very wary about going into such a big city and spending a long period of time on public transport in a stuffy mask, I’m also kinda excited to go back in because I basically get four hours of dedicated reading time, which is just an excuse for me to buy more books, and I also get to use my new Karl Lagerfeld work bag that I basically stole from the ASOS sale. I’m thinking of doing a “What’s In My Work Bag?” post because I know people love to be nosy and I will indulge them.
Have you gone back to work yet, or are you trying to WFH as long as you can?
Talk to you later,