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Have any tips on working from home?

19 Mar 2020 5:58 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Share any tips you have for working at home!

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  • 25 Mar 2020 11:43 AM | Nora Ellertsen
    I have found over almost a decade of working from home that having very clear boundaries for space and for time is the most important thing for me. I hope these tools work for you if you're new to working from home.

    For space: If you are lucky enough to have a spare bedroom, a big closet, or any other separate space with a close-able door, that's ideal. But if not, strong recommend to designate ONE space in your home for work- kitchen table, coffee table, whatever- and use it ONLY for work. (That means no working from bed or couch, which usually feels nice in the moment, but it creates a situation where you can't actually shift gears when it's time to relax later.) And if that's not an option, either, try to keep your work stuff organized in one folder or box so you can pack it up and put it out of sight when you're not using it. You can even go so far as to make a certain coffee cup or water glass a work-time-only item. Anything you can do to show your brain that "this is for work" and "this is for home."

    For time: So hard, but I really recommend making on-hours and off-hours for yourself if at all possible. I know some of our nonprofits need to be more openly available, but if it's an option for you to make your official workday start at 8:00 or 9:00 a.m. and end at 5:00 or 6:00 p.m., and to REALLY commit yourself to it, you will probably lessen the extent of that "I AM ALWAYS AT WORK NOW" feeling.

    Looking forward to hearing what others folks can recommend. Stay safe and healthy, everyone.
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    • 1 Apr 2020 3:33 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
      Nora's advice is excellent, and you should definitely do all of that. Creating a routine with triggers is important for focus-- including time and space.

      Distractions are a real barrier to working at home-- those created by other people and those that you allow for yourself, i.e., "I'll just start a load of laundry before I get back to answering that email." I find it effective to "schedule" your to-do list, creating milestones throughout the day and keeping tight reins on your schedule are helpful. It's so easy to drift off to Facebook when no one is around to see it, so if you schedule things like: finish direct mail appeal draft from 1:00-3:00, it's easier to maintain focus.

      Be sure to schedule breaks in there, too. If you live with other people, let them know when your breaks will be so that they can hold any non-urgent conversations that may come up for that time.
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