Working from home - our top tips, along with a figure sitting in front of a rainbow, balancing a cog and heart to represent work and life.

Tips for working from home

Are you working from home and looking for ways to increase your productivity? Or perhaps you are moving to a hybrid or fully-remote position and not sure how to separate work life from personal life. 

Working from home - our top tips, along with a figure sitting in front of a rainbow, balancing a cog and heart to represent work and life.Here at Sorted we’ve been working remotely since we began over ten years ago, so it’s fair to say we’ve picked up a few hints and tips along the way. We asked our team for their top tips on how to successfully work from home.

SPOILER ALERT: We really like biscuits. 

Headphones and biscuits

Alison says: “I find headphones really help me concentrate when I’m having a ‘butterfly brain’ day, even though I’m alone in the house all day. Music on the Google speaker isn’t nearly so effective, for some reason. I have an app called Freedom on my PC that stops me faffing about on the internet between certain times. I’m also a morning person (in the extreme!), so getting up before everyone else is my best strategy for getting work done on days when I’m not here by myself.

I also find that setting small goals helps me complete a task. For example, if I say to myself “I’ll get to the end of this section, then I can have a biscuit.” That works, sometimes. Sometimes I just go straight for the biscuit.”

Be prepared with lists

Laura says “I write a list of what I need to get done over the whole week, then write sub lists of what I want to get done each day – if I ever tick off everything on my list for that day and still have time to spare, I go back to my big-week list and see if I can tick off anything else. Sometimes I colour-code things based on whether it’s something I can get done now (green) or if it’s waiting on someone/something (orange) – that prompts me to follow up on things if needed.”

Separate your space

Ali says: “Have some way of clearly distinguishing between office/work time and off-duty. If you have an actual separate office that you can shut the door on, then great. I don’t; I work in the living room, but when I start work I move the table to under the window, then at the end of the day I put my laptop away in a drawer, completely clear the table and move it back to in between the two windows, so the room looks/feels different and we don’t feel like we’re sitting in my office when we’re watching TV in the evening”

Food is good

Jo P says: “I usually make sure I have a routine based around food. I breakfast just before I start and try to have lunch at the same time every day so I know when my break is due. Then I try to draw the end of the day line at about 5.30pm, especially in the summer, so I can spend plenty of guilt free time in the garden. I also try to stick to a regular bedtime.

I consider the opportunity to bring in the washing if it starts to rain, banking or calling utility companies etc during the day as a great benefit of working from home on my own watch. It removes a lot of stress and helps me relax in proper down time. All little things, but it can make a big difference.”

Fresh air and biscuits

Leanne says: “I have a home office which is very helpful for distinguishing between work and home life. I am also partial to the biscuit goals policy. And I have a weekly planner that has all my tasks on too. Once they’re done I know I’m finished for the week and it’s sofa time!

I try to break up the day by going for a walk after school drop off so it feels like I’m going ‘to work’. And I also like to have a walk after finishing a task to get some head space for the next thing.

I think it’s important to know when to take a break and just put the work down and come back to it later if it’s taking too long and you don’t have your mojo.”

The sound of silence (and biscuits)

Lorna says: “I have noise cancelling headphones for when I’m proof reading as I’m not in a separate room at home. They really help me to focus. Also, if I’ve got a long document to read, I like to set up my desk first with a big mug of coffee and a couple of biscuits or a banana so I don’t have to break my concentration when I fancy a snack! I try to plan my day around when I know it will be quiet. So I’ll do house tasks before the kids go to or get home from school so we can chat but once they’re out the door or in their rooms, I’ll work so I know I won’t be interrupted…however, no-one seems to have told my dog this!”

Keep talking

Katie says: “Despite thoroughly enjoying my own company, I do think it’s important to plan in some actual face to face human contact throughout the week (other than the people you live with) otherwise even I think it can get a bit lonely!

And my husband and I tend to treat each other as work besties and plan our lunch break etc together so we have some company!”

Mini breaks and mega biscuits

Harry says: “I like to work in bursts as staring at a screen for prolonged periods can give me quite the headache. So, cup of coffee and biscuit in hand, I’ll focus for around 30 – 45 minutes before walking away for five minutes. It’s my own version of the Pomodoro technique. This is a good time to decompress, focus my eyes on things that aren’t my screen and also consider what I’m going to write next. And I’ll probably see if there are any more biscuits, too.”

A personal choice

Finding your perfect way to work from home will come with time, but hopefully these tips will speed up the process for you. We all love this way of working as it means we can balance our work and personal life exactly how we want to. Good for us, even better for our clients!

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