Working from could get a lot harder now that summer has started, but that doesn’t have to be the case. These tips will help you avoid the dreaded summer slump.
Ask any lawyer and they will tell you that working from home may have been challenging over the past few months. But unfortunately, things may get more difficult as summer starts to ramp up. To ensure that you’re able to stay productive this summer as well as not let work take over your life, try these solutions and see what works best for you.
Set a Schedule and Share It
Interruptions are productivity killers, especially during those beautiful summer days. When you work from home, your family and friends can be the most frequent sources of interruption.
That’s why you need to be proactive, set a schedule and, more importantly, share it with everyone. Explain when you’ll be working. Describe how you work best: Whether that’s “You’re free to check in with me from time to time” (probably not) or “Only bother me unless someone is hurt of the house is on fire” (more likely).
Don’t assume people will automatically respect the fact that you’re working from home. They won’t.
Letting them in on your schedule and by setting the precedent when it comes to interruptions, you’ll help them to better understand. Use the schedule as a guide, but don’t worry if you can’t stick to it perfectly. The aim of a schedule is to provide structure to the day, not add more stress to it. You simply want it to help create boundaries between working and living.
Work During the Quiter Hours of the Day
Whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, take advantage of the early morning or late night hours when things are quieter. Essentially, when the kids are asleep and there are few emails/calls coming in! Take this time to organize your thoughts and create a plan for today or tomorrow. Draft up a to-do list to ensure you won’t forget any important tasks and aren’t missing any deadlines.
Taking time to plan your day reduces stress and allows you to focus more intently on your work during the day. Rather than worrying about remembering what needs to be done, you’ll be able to just work and therefore be more productive. This in turn means improved efficiency, which ultimately means fewer hours working.
Block Out Time for Specific Tasks
Block off chunks of time for specific projects. During these deep work periods, focus solely on the task at hand for the allotted time. Don’t answer phones, texts, or emails in these periods. A focused effort is much more productive than so-called multitasking.
Email is an ideal task for time blocking as it’s one of the most frequent distractors during the workday. Give yourself 30 minutes in the morning, afternoon, and the end of the workday to batch reply to emails. For big projects, dedicate larger blocks of time to each component. For example, proposal writing for two hours, budget review for 2 hours, recap for 30 minutes.
Time blocking takes a bit of experimenting to find the right amount of time needed for each task as well as some getting to used to in terms of focus. It’s worth persisting even if you find yourself easily distracted when you’re just getting started. The more you do it, the more natural it will become.
Keep Those Kids Busy
The kids have been home for a few months now, but up until recently, they had school work to occupy part of their day. Now that summer is here and all the freedom that comes with it. For younger children, you might want to check out virtual babysitting. This is a new service that’s popped up in the past couple of months where licensed caregivers have created activities that they can do virtually with children while their parents are working.
Another tip is to try to implement quiet times where they can choose to do an activity like reading, putting together a puzzle, learning a new skill, drawing, playing video games, or anything else that doesn’t require parental supervision.
At the end of the day, give yourself some leeway. These are trying times and no one is perfect. Do your best to take care of yourself and establish boundaries between lawyer time and living time, and you’ll be well on your way to beating the summer slump while also working from home.