The Leadership Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question, “What are your strategies for staying effective while working remotely?” is written by Gina Argento, president and CEO of Broadway Stages.
For many employees, working remotely sounds like the perfect scenario. Roll out of bed, hang out in your pajamas, get comfortable in front of the television—what can go wrong?
But getting work done when you’re working from home doesn’t always translate into a successful day. When telecommuting, it’s important to strategize and figure out how to get all of your work done effectively. Here are some strategies that work for me and that I think could be helpful for others:
Create a dedicated workspace
Because it’s so easy to get distracted in the comfort of your home, it is important to create a dedicated workspace where you can tune out distractions and just focus on your job. If you can, pick a room in your home as far away as possible from potential distractions. If you don’t have the extra space to dedicate an office, cordon off an area in the kitchen or dining room.
Next, get rid of all potential distractions by keeping your television remotes hidden from plain sight and putting away your tablets and any other unnecessary technology that will hinder your work. If you feel the urge to open the refrigerator for no apparent reason or converse with a family member regarding a pressing matter, think to yourself, “What would you do right now if your boss was sitting across from you?”
Let the children play
If you’re a parent with young children, you know that they are often balls of energy who need a release. For that reason, it’s important to let your children run around, and once they start to tire, take them home and start your work. When I used to have my kids home with me, I’d take them to the park to play if it was nice out. When it was nasty out, I’d take them to the museums in the area.
Take frequent breaks
If you don’t have children or your children aren’t home, it’s important that you take a few minutes every so often to walk around. Chances are that when you’re in the office, you’re not at your computer eight to nine hours straight—you get up, walk around, and go out for lunch.
So make sure you’re doing that when you’re working remotely too. When you sit at a desk for long periods of time, you can feel stagnant both physically and creatively. Walking around will free up your mind.
Create a to-do list
I find that I’m most productive when I prepare a to-do list the night before work. As a CEO, my mind is always in a million places since I have my hands in so many different parts of the company. So to stay organized and on top of everything that needs to get done, I always prepare a to-do list to ensure I can get to everything and don’t leave something important out. Of course, as things come up during the day, I add them to the list as well. I also find lists to be great because as I finish things up, I get to cross them off—this gives me a great sense of accomplishment.
While working remotely definitely has its perks—being in the comfort of your own home or hanging out in the local coffee shop—it also has its challenges. But with a little strategic planning and preparation, you can be just as successful working from home as you can be at the office.