With the COVID-19 lockdown extended from March 22nd to mid May, working from home has quickly become the only way to get things done. Not only for now, but likely into the future as well as more and more businesses are forced to reevaluate their internal structuring to accommodate this new global reality. However this isn't necessarily a bad thing!
As creators of Goa.me, we've been working remotely for nearly a decade and while we certainly miss the collective energy of our favourite co-work cafes & spaces in Goa, we also know just how beneficial a working from home relationship can be. When done right, of course.
So how to make working from home work for you?
By creating this guide, we not only want to give you tips & tricks on how to build an at home routine that works for you but also provide real life examples of interesting & inspiring individuals who've mastered the art of working remotely and who've taken steps to make the most of the situation they're in.
So instead of simply listing our own suggestions, we reached out to a number of small business owners, freelancers, artists & entrepreneurs and asked them to give you their number one tips on how to build a successful working from home routine.
Here's what they had to say!
1. Accept the situation that you are in...
YOU ARE IN A LOCKDOWN.
Your business will be slow.
Your internet will be slow.
Things might not be looking the way you had planned. There might be people around you when you work. ACCEPT THAT.
If you have room to lock yourself up and work, that's awesome. But if you have your mom, your dad, your little sister, your granny around you, don't get annoyed by their instructions and chatter. This time is a boon for all of us. Use every hour of the day to the fullest. Think of new ways to do your business. Take up an online course on Udemy to improve your skill sets. Don't let your mind interpret 'work from home' as 'end of the world'. Stay positive and stay fit.
Remember - Carpe Diem. Seize the day. Keep dreaming. Stay connected with your folks. Feel blessed.
Co-founder & Creative Director, Goa Bylane
On Instagram @goabylane & Youtube here!
2. Don't be too harsh on yourself...
Working from home has many perks and everyday productivity might not be one and that is OK.
After a decade of working from home, it is not only my second nature but also how I function the best. Some days you work all day and hardly get any work done and on some days you work a little and get a lot done. Set short term goals and wake up early. Mornings are the most pure time to work.
Tea Curator for Tea Amo & Travel Writer
On Instagram @borkakotea & @teaamogoa
3. Start your day off right!
Everyday wake up just like you do when you work from your office, get ready in your office outfit & set up a dedicated desk (preferably outside your bedroom).
Also, do more video calls / organise regular meetings to get yourself up to date with your team’s activities / work progress. This keeps you motivated and can help push away any negative self isolation thoughts.
Founder of Growth Gravy
On Instagram & Twitter @virvazir
4. Identify your peak period of productivity...
Working from home may sound fun, as you are in your own personal space and environment.
It is however very easy to get distracted and not have anyone physically accountable for your work. For first timers, it is important to identify your most productive time of the day. Most of your work will be completed in this time. Set targets. Also it is important to distance yourself from things that may distract you during this time, like the kitchen, your TV, etc.
Artist, Photographer & Co-Founder of Flashbakc Studios
On Instagram @_rahul.dsouza_ & @1morebyrahul
5. Build momentum!
Not feeling productive is something we're all struggling with right now. When you wake up in the morning and complete your routine, do something that puts you in the mindset of conquering the day.
It could be getting into casual work attire – how you look & how you dress is how you're eventually going to think and feel. It could be cooking, drawing, painting, writing, working out....
It could just be watching an awesome TED talk, documentary or a show you love that gets you motivated to do something. It could be attending a live IG session or webinar. The point is, do something that puts you in a mindset to take charge of the day.
Founder CEO, Art&Found + DesignFightsCovid.com
On Instagram @artandfound.co
6. Shut your door and lock it!
What I mean by that is to maintain your focus by shutting out the scope for distractions. If you look at the demographic in Goa, a lot of us live with our family, or extended family - be it parents, elders, or younger siblings, etc. and so with everyone confined to home, there is every possibility of them disturbing your workflow with random conversation, sometimes unknowingly. If you are the designated grocery buyer in your family, ensure that you take care of their needs and get your supplies in - and after that shut your door!
For me, personally, I need absolute silence for my tasks, and this technique has helped me immensely to block out prolonged periods of time where I can actually hear my thoughts and get work done without overhearing the daily kitchen gossip.
Architect & Founder of The Balcão
On Instagram @thebalcao
7. Know your enemy! (hint - Distraction)
Plan your work day the night before. Don't just write your TO DO list, write down a PREMEDITATED EVIL LIST. A list of expected challenges and your solutions to them. Things that might prevent you from achieving your next day's objectives. Mindless surfing on the internet is a big one.
Monitor your internet use. Its easy to get distracted for knowledge workers with all the luring content available on the internet and get drifted away. Plan short but high focussed work sprints and congratulate yourself on achieving the tiniest results. Take breaks & keep hydrated. Switch off the distractions & build depth of focus in your work.
Focus on 80/20 rule - Identify the single most important goal and get down to finish it the first thing in the morning. Build rituals and tiny habits (Tinyhabits.com). A personal one that I've been trying to do is a 'close down ritual' where I announce to myself and my tools - “System Shutdown” - as I close my work for the day. It helps to set a definite start and close time.
And yes take walks, eat right, hydrate, stretch, sleep well. Working from home can be bliss if planned right and executed well. So most importantly have fun!
Musician, Instructor & Founder of Musical Journeys
8. Create a hypothetical universe where current Global uncertainties do not exist...
Read as much as possible.
Books, articles, online courses or whatever subject you’ve been interested in but never found the time for. Watch films. Give a preference to movies over latest web series. Make lists of directors / writers / actors and watch their retrospectives. The face of the internet is surrounded with matters related to one subject. But there’s a lot more out there.
Actively seek it out and consume reliable information that could aid personal growth.
Watch masterclasses (maybe even of professionals from outside your orbit), listen to long seminars and talks from people who interest and motivate you. Being indoors can be harsh on personal fitness, learn home workouts and do them regularly. Do something new every day. What if someone told you to learn everything you can about the World and mankind?
You have the time and infinite information around you. Get to it.
Film Director & Writer
On Instagram / Twitter @ronak_kamat
9. Build a structure for your day as per what could work for YOU!
Be open to changing it up according to your observations and be patient with yourself.
"FIRST step, I write down all the things I want to do on a daily basis (Monday to Friday) This has to be a list of ALL the things that are important to you, that feed you and are possible to do at home.
So an example of the first step could be — exercise, client work, cooking, writing, taking care of pet, making your spaceship model, showering and self care, sleeping. During this step, really dig in and find out what else you’d like to do daily..."
<<< Read Rhea's full 5 Step process to building a routine in a recent post to her Instagram page.
Visual Artist & Photographer
On Instagram @rhea.gupte
10. Give up control & embrace the uncertainty...
We are so used to being certain - about what direction in which we steer our lives and how we want to be feeling.
Let life take its own course and enjoy the little things, develop new hobbies and learn something new. If this is in order, you will find the energy and the right state of mind to clock in work too. It’s a process and there is no right or wrong.
Productivity is a bit overrated anyway!
Artist & Designer
On Instagram @yarramilli
11. Make sure to incorporate physical exercise into your day!
While there are many tips and tricks you can execute to enhance your WFH experience, the lack of daily travel & any other physical activity that normally happen in a typical work day needs to be substituted by a workout routine to maintain that same level of efficiency.
Exercise is proven to improve memory, enhance focus and ensures an energetic approach to any tasks at hand. Even 10 minutes of cardio in a day can go a long way!
Graphic Designer & Media Production Manager at GrowthGravy
On Instagram @shawnkenneth
12. Give space for creativity!
Along with working from home it's nice to try and learn something new during this period of quarantine.
Reading books, learning a new language, trying to paint or write, etc. The possibilities are endless. It's important that we give time for self improvement and come out of this period as better individuals.
<<< See Sidd at work on a recent painting in his video posted to Instagram here!
Artist & Founder of the
On Instagram @siddharthkerkar
A big thank you to all of the above contributors for kindly taking the time to share their tips & tricks and making this Goa.me guide possible!
If you found their advice helpful, don't be shy! Give them some love & let them know by sharing their tips on Instagram & tagging them + @goa in your posts!
Have tips of your own that you'd like to suggest?
Let us know in the comments section below & we'll gladly share them around!