Last week I had 5 tips for remote working, so equally I thought it might be a good idea to post 5 DON’TS that will maybe help you find a good balance between your personal and your remote working life. Of course, some may disagree with these as there’s no one-size-fits-all that works for everyone, but hopefully, a few tips here will help if you are new to remote working and maybe struggling to adjust properly right now.
1. Don’t work in your PJs!
When you first start working from home, it can be extremely tempting to stay in your pajamas all day and not get dressed. But it’s the start of a slippery road to bad habits. It’s just not professional attire for working, and I think it’s important to get into the ‘work mindset’ if you want to just get things done. Luckily, your usual office gear probably isn’t necessary now you’re working remotely, by still dressing presentable while working from home it’ll help you get into a structure and routine. You’ll adapt to remote working quicker and be ready for any video calls at least!
2. Don’t work in bed or on the couch
This can also be very tempting if you’re new to remote working but it’s not the best idea. Before you know you’ll be tempted either by sleeping in or binging Netflix. Separate these things by compartmentalising your work with your personal life. Keep these for your personal time when you’re not thinking about work and you’ll feel a hell of alot better in the main. If you have set yourself up with a designated workspace, this shouldn’t even be an issue for you.
3. Don’t answer calls from numbers you don’t know when you’re working
Unless you’re expecting a really urgent call, just let it go to voicemail if you don’t recognise the number. Like answering emails, answering calls out of the blue can make you reactive, resulting in you not starting on what you planned on doing. Also, you now have the added hassle of maybe being caught off guard as well which is never good. Ignore these calls or put your phone on do-not-disturb for a time. Or just turning off notifications for a while isn’t a bad idea either.
4. Don’t buy substandard headphones
If you listen to music or podcasts etc while you are working, you should invest in a decent pair of headphones. A decent set of headphones with bluetooth so you don’t have to deal with wires, and noise cancelling to help block out other distractions, will save you money down the line in replacements. I went through a whole bunch that lasted a few months max. Depending on your budget of course, you really can’t go wrong with investing in Cowin E7 Wireless Bluetooth Headphones for approx $45. They sounded great and they lasted about 2 years!
5. Don’t work more to combat feeling overwhelmed
If you are working from home, other things outside of work will compete for your attention just by the mere fact you’ll seem more accessible. Life happens, but it can lead to that horrible feeling of overwhelm if you’re constantly behind. I’ve since realised that in the main, being overwhelmed is a choice and just by ruthlessly prioritising 1 or 2 big things that needed to get done each day meant I was working smarter, and getting caught up. Prioritize ruthlessly, protect your time and cut out distractions when you can will help although I know for many people it’s not easy. Working 12-15 hour days is NOT the answer though. Have a good work/life balance and be good to yourself.
Anyway, hope these are helpful. Please do let me know if any of these work for you or if you have any tips, thoughts and opinions. Good luck and stay safe.
-Mark Coulter (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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