One of the biggest challenges of remote workers is not falling in the claws of procrastination. The freedom to choose your work hours or to organize your work tasks can easily lead you to inconsistent work habits. Before you know it, that inconsistency will negatively reflect on your work. It will also bring you unneeded stress as you will be unorganized and always handling your work obligations at the last minute. That’s why you need to have work from home schedule.
Creating a work from home schedule usually isn’t a problem but sticking to it is. This is what most remote workers struggle with. For that reason, we have compiled a list of the best ways to stick to a schedule when working from home. Let’s get started!
1. Schedule Your Work Hours at the Same Time Each DaySetting your work hours at the approximately same time each day can benefit your consistency in many ways. For starters, your work from home schedule will become a habit for you. The consistent repetition will eventually grow roots in your life and ensure its position.
What this does for your mind is that you’ll no longer need the same amount of effort to get yourself to work. Since it will feel like a habit you’ll do it automatically. You know how people who wake up each day at the same time no longer need an alarm clock? That’s what working at the same time can do for you. When you get used to it, you’ll need less discipline to stick to the schedule.
2. Adjust Your Work Hours based on Your Productivity PeakWhile some people feel most productive in the morning, others get their boost of energy in the evening. Even though it is usually advised that you finish your work obligations in the morning, you shouldn’t rely on others. Rely on your internal clock.
Listen to your body and mind and handle your work obligations at the part of the day when you feel most productive. Why is this helpful? Because the more productive you feel the quicker you’ll finish all your work tasks. Not to mention that the obligations won’t seem tedious when you are “in the zone.”
3. Take BreaksOverwhelming yourself with work can only be contra-productive. The crucial part of your work from home schedule is including break time. According to Forbes, “Without taking adequate breaks from work, employee productivity, mental well-being, and overall work performance begin to suffer.” You don’t want that, don’t you?
Set breaks after a certain period of time (1 or 2 hours for example) and allow yourself to clear your mind. The break can only be 15-20 minutes long, but it will still bring the desired effect. “All my freelancing friends and I religiously respect our work breaks. I used to have a hard time sticking to my schedule but that was only because I had high expectations. As ideal as working 6 hours consistently sounds, it won’t help with your productivity, trust me,” says Bridgette Hernandez, a writer at TopEssayWriting.
4. Have a RoutineHaving a routine around your work from home schedule will help you prepare yourself for your "workday." This routine can consist of simple things like taking a walk outside, preparing a cup of coffee, or having a snack before you start working. The reason why such a routine is useful is that it prepares you for what is coming.
The bestselling author Haruki Murakami shared what routine does for him, “The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind.” The beauty of routine is that with time, your mind will instantly get ready for work when the initial phase of your work routine is completed.
5. Shut Down DistractorsSocial media, games, and other fun apps can be productivity's worst enemies. You might think "I'll just check my Instagram for a second” but then you get into mindless scrolling and before you know it, you’ve wasted an hour of your work time.
While you can count on your strong willpower to resists such temptation, the bulletproof solution is to simply get an app blocker. There are numerous apps for that purpose such as Offtime, Freedom, or Flipd. “I started using app blockers because I realized that my “I’ll just check this message” attitude is costing me a lot of time. I highly recommend it to anyone who has the same issue,” advises Diana Adjadj, a freelance writer and a contributor writer at BestEssayEducation.
6. Set MilestonesNow, here's a fun little trick that will keep you motivated to stick to your schedule. Set milestones in the form of "rewards" like going to a movie with friends or binge-watching your favorite show. If you don’t respect the schedule, you’ll have to work longer and consequently, you won’t be able to enjoy your reward. It’s as simple as that.
These milestones can be set for example in the middle of the week and at the end of the week. Having a new milestone every few days or even every day will keep you encouraged to finish your daily tasks.
7. Create a Comfortable Work AtmospherePleasant workspace can help you be more inspired for work. This doesn't mean that you need a fancy office. It just means that you should have a comfortable work corner that will boost your creativity.
Get a comfy chair, put up some motivational quotes, add some plants, and possibly even light a candle. The proof of how a simple change like adding a plant can be useful is a research by the University of Exeter that found that productivity jumps 15% when previously lean work environments are filled with just a handful of houseplants. Decorate your workspace so that it exudes confidence and increases your motivational energy. You’ll see how a pleasant workspace positively affects your desire to work.
Final ThoughtsWith these helpful ways of sticking to a work schedule, you'll finally be able to achieve the consistency and discipline you aim for. Introduce the changes that work best for you and stay true to your plans. Remember that there isn't a trick in the world that will turn you into an exemplary remote worker if you don't have a strong will to change your work habits.