The 9 Rules Of Planning Your Work-from-home Schedule

Last updated 3 Oct 2016 . 7 min read

Every time the doorbell rings, I just go and hide. I am expected to be exchanging pleasantries with guests and repeat instructions to the mailman, cook, plumber, electrician and gardener etc. When friends and family call me, if I tell them I am caught up with work, they give me that disapproving silence, which I can hear across the phone. Anyone can barge into my room and start a conversation. Jibes are made at me about how I have a good life and my work is like a walk in the park.

Most people believe I just pretend to work, as I do it from home.

Working from home comes with truckloads of obstacles, which become a barrier to being constructive, impactful and efficient at your job.

I felt exasperated with the situation most times, till I streamlined a few things. Here’s a list of things I incorporated into my routine.

1. Figure out your work personality.

My work requires me to spend time alone with my own self. Isolation, alone time and empty spaces are extremely important for me to able to focus and get me going. I function well individually.

It was essential to be aware of about my own personality before I took the plunge into operating out of home.  

If one has to interact with a team, brainstorm on ideas, engage with people, feed on others’ thoughts, loves the office chit-chat and manage their team, then working from home can be an epic struggle for them. Figuring this bit out is an essential first.  

It can be convenient only if it compliments your kind of work, style and personality to deal with what comes with this choice.

Trust me; you need to be 100 times more disciplined, reliable and accountable than your friend who drives miles to their office to spend 10 hours at their workplace.  It is not an easier way out. Is this your cup of tea or you just drifting into an unmanageable situation?  

Be honest with yourself.

2. No one is watching over you.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer banned working from home and cited it was a move to augment productivity and communication for her employees. A move which was largely seen as totally ineffective, regressive and redundant. When you work from home there is no boss/cop or competitive colleague watching over you all day thankfully.

However the predisposition to get lost, lackadaisical, and drift away and get distracted is higher. As long as one doesn’t need another person to kick their ass and is self-driven, then they can sign up for this.

Planning the week, day and following it through sets the pace and gets the job done.    

3. Create boundaries

If one worked out of an external office, people would have to schedule meetings to get time with them, knock before barging in, call and ask first if the person is free, right?

Apply the same rules when working from home. Politely draw similar boundaries and stop being available as a doorman, manager, receptionist, parent or partner unless there is a real emergency. Giving out the message that one is not free is not a crime. That is not mean and selfish.

This way, one is able to do justice to their work and has far better meaningful interactions in their personal time.

4. Distractions are break times

Without any company, it can get dull, boring and lonely. There is a big chance of getting mislaid in thoughts and space. And nothing works better than mindless surfing over Facebook, Twitter, trending articles and WhatsApp jokes. They are interesting, knowledge-building, funny and good for breaking the monotony.

Yup, abstinence and suppression doesn’t work here, but scheduling short 20-minute breaks after a few hours can be magical. Taking small well-paced breaks and using them to do what one pleases acts like a reward system.

Eat, nap or surf then. Otherwise, it becomes a great day at day dreaming.

5. Get dressed for work

Jumping into work mode with coffee in hand and in PJs is simply drab and drags one down. Get breakfast, maybe some form of physical exercise, shower and dress in clean clothes. The process may seem unnecessary; what it actually does is acts as a prep time to get oneself together bodily, mentally and in thoughts.

It does make one aligned and prepared to work.   

6. Work station is your sanctum

A designated space, work station, ergonomically-built table and chair, proper lighting, access to fresh air are key to functioning proficiently. One can’t be sitting on the bed or operating out of the dining table. It is about respecting one’s own space and health. When one does this, others around bestow the same respect.  

7. Adhere to timelines

The one inhibition most have about people who work from home is that they suck at adhering to deadlines and timelines.

This is an indispensable quality each one of us who is a bastion of working from home needs to hold up, without failing: Follow timelines at any cost. Excuses, problems, disasters can’t seem to be striking us more than others.

Finishing off one day before the committed day to the external agency is power and success.

8. Switch off

Honestly, the biggest disadvantage with working from home is that it is very difficult to switch off from work. It runs at the back of head all the time.

Like for me, there are no fixed time tables for writing. I write all the time, keep thinking about it and go back to it. My head-space is so full that it is muddled and chaotic.

For a few hours, I switch off to break out of this delirious state and do other things. It may be just chilling, spending time with friends and family, going for a walk, running errands, reading or just watching a movie etc.

Constantly working at the job turns into a disease when there is no physical division between personal and professional space. A tendency to stay cooped up and inherently being homebodies is common. Those four walls can rut the mind.

Having an active personal and social life becomes imperative. New ideas, processes, ways and creativity get fueled that way.

9. I heart my work

My work is in one my passions. I do it essentially because it is what makes who I am. I have evolved and transformed as a person because of my work. Every day, I wake up eager and looking forward to it.  That is why I don’t let anyone come in between me and my work, even if it is from home. It is not just a job.

Unless one truly loves what they do, it can be very difficult especially if it is about functioning out of home.

image not our own

Piyali Dasgupta
A writer and an educator with expertise in experiential learning,capacity building, counselling & content development. A feminist, wit addict and time/life traveler. She loves trees, water bodies, vintage,cooking and arts

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