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How to make a work at home schedule

Make A Work at Home ScheduleI’ve worked from home for many years now.

And I have many friends that have done the same thing.

We have all had to devise some kind of a work at home schedule to keep ourselves productive and on track.

Whether you’re a work at home pro, or are just getting started working at home, you need to know that it’s really important to set a schedule.

Without a work at home schedule, your whole day will just get lost in an endless stream of chores and distractions.

There’s a few things that are really important for you to keep in mind so that you don’t run into this kind of trouble.

This is really important for those of you who have been working a job and suddenly find themselves working at home.

This may be all new to you.

You are home, but yet you have to put on your work hat.

How do you do that?

Again, you’re going to be overwhelmed by so many distractions that if you’re not used to this, you are going to find it to be quite a bit of a challenge.

You will quickly find that you really need a work at home schedule to get yourself disciplined.

So I thought I’d put together a little list of things to keep you on track.

Start with nutrition

The first thing I want to tell you is to start your day with a good breakfast.

If you’ve been running out to work you may be used to just grabbing some coffee and bagel or something like that, just kind of get you through the morning.

But when you work from home, it takes so much mental alertness that you really want to start your day with some high nutrition.

Eat good stuff that will get your immune system pumping right away, and give you some endurance and energy as you set out to implement your work at home schedule.

I think starting a day with a warm glass of water and lemon is also a good way to just kind of clear your mind and get yourself in gear.

This will put your body and mind into action, and get you moving in the direction you want.

Clean up your act

After breakfast, jump in the shower.

I know, you’re working at home and you could put this off until after lunch.

But don’t!

You want to tell yourself… your subconscious self… “I’m going to work for the day.”

You still have to get yourself ready as if you were going out to meet the world.

Because in fact, you will be meeting the world.

You’ll simply be meeting people on your computer instead of in person.

Do your hair, put on some makeup, or whatever else you would normally do for a day on the job.

Then get dressed for the day.

You can’t begin your work at home day by thinking that all you have to do is lounge.

Know it’s time to get into your business mode.

You may not think so, but it’s really hard when you’re working in your bathrobe.

I know.

I’ve done it sometimes.

But my day always gets off to a sluggish start when I hang around in my PJs and think that I can be productive.

You will simply be far more productive when you get yourself cleaned up and dressed.

That doesn’t mean you have to get dressed for the office.

You can wear a t-shirt, sweatpants or whatever casual wear you like.

But get cleaned up and get dressed and tell yourself this is my work outfit for the day.

Get yourself into gear.

Exercise

Integrate exercise into your work at home schedule.

You don’t necessarily have to do this the first thing in the morning.

But keep in mind that during the day you’re going to want to take little exercise breaks.

Try to exercise periodically to keep the blood flowing, your joints loose and your mind sharp.

It’s far better to take 15 minute exercise breaks several times during the day than to try to take an hour and a half all at once and do some big mega workout.

Work in chunks

I always find that working in chunks is much better than doing long periods of work.

That’s why I say to exercise in small chunks throughout the day, too.

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The idea here is to intersperse your work chunks with some exercise chunks.

Maybe you’ll have a morning routine where you have to do your morning business things.

Then in the afternoon, maybe you’ll want to do some more intense, deeper work.

And later in the day you might want to lighten up.

That could be the best time to do some catching up on things that you started yesterday and have to finish up now.

It’s also probably a good time for catching up on some phone calls, talking to some clients doing a little teaching or some videos… those kinds of thing.

This is how you want to make your work at home schedule to include all these chores, activities and projects.

And you see, the times in between all those chunks could be when you want to take a walk or a bike ride, maybe do some stretching or some weight training… whatever it is you do.

The idea here is to avoid spending long periods of time doing any one thing.

According to the well-established principle of diminishing returns, the longer you work on something the less effective you become at it.

So if you have a very long blog post to write, for instance, and it’s going to take you four hours… it’s better to do it in four 1-hour chunks.

Keep sharp focus

If you sit and work four hours straight, then as each hour goes on, you’re going to be less and less sharp and focused on what you’re doing.

Your work will start getting sloppy and meandering.

It will lose focus as you do.

Instead, you could do four 1-hour work chunks, and in between do a 15-minute workout or some other different kind of projects.

Then, you will be more likely to have better long-term results with your project.

Now, you may already be used to working in chunks.

That’s because many work routines are set up this way.

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You may have a job where you are routinely told “okay, this morning I want this done,” and then in the afternoon you will have to do something different.

So you might be used to the fact that you have to chunk your work when you’re on the job.

The same thing applies now, when you create your own work at home schedule.

Think project-by-project.

Don’t start your day by just saying “oh, today I have to do my business, but what am I going to do?”

Instead, think “today I have to accomplish ABC.”

That means you will have to do A in the morning.

In the afternoon, you’ll do B.

And you can keep the end of the day for doing C.

So by chunking your ABC day into three separate projects, you will make each of them more manageable and more effective.

Plan your day

Plan your day on paper.

This is really the most important format for you work at home schedule.

Write down exactly what you’ll do today, and break that down into chunks.

As you accomplish each chunk, you get to check it off from your to-do list for the day.

Use checklists to
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So you can visually see yourself accomplishing things, one step at a time.

It doesn’t matter if it’s your own work, or maybe you’re working at home for your company.

Either way, the work has to get done, right?

So organize your day into a clear plan of action.

Then get to work on implementing it.

This way you have a work at home schedule to follow.

You know exactly what to do first, second and third.

Be your own boss

This is really no different than when you’re out in the workplace.

Somebody tells you that you’ve got to get this done first, then after that make sure you get something else done, and so on.

You may not even know what the plan is overall because you don’t see the bigger plan.

But your boss will tell you “take care of this.”

After doing that, you say “here it is.”

Your boss says “okay, now I want you to do this next thing.”

That’s because your boss has a plan.

Your boss has a clear idea of what you need to accomplish during the day.

But things are only given to you piecemeal.

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That’s because your boss knows that if you are given the whole work schedule all at once, you probably will get confused and overwhelmed.

So Be Your Own Boss.

This is what being your own boss means.

YOU be the boss.

Write and hold the master plan… your work at home schedule.

And you give yourself the marching orders required to make it all happen.

Plan your meals

When working your chunks, and including some exercise and maybe some time for meditation or relaxation… take a peek at your meal planning list, too.

What will you do for lunch?

How about dinner?

When working at home, you have to think about these things.

You’re not going to be running out to the diner or the deli to get your lunch or dinner.

So when you’re in between work chunks, you can exercise, take a walk or something like that.

But you can also spend some time going down to the kitchen and seeing just what you have to do to get your meals prepared.

Maybe you want to spend 10 minutes chopping up some onions, and then putting them away to toss into a dish later.

Or, maybe you’ll make some sauce now, put it in the refrigerator and have it ready to go with the pasta later.

Think ahead.

Remember to chunk everything

And again, think in chunks.

You don’t have to make yourself stand in the kitchen for an hour and a half cooking dinner.

And you can do it in little 10 minutes segments throughout the day.

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That gives you a mental break from your work and also moves you toward having your dinner prepared.

Again, like with everything else, make this part of your action plan for the day.

Write it down on a piece of paper…

  • Tonight, I’m going to make this for dinner.
  • So at one point of the day I’ll do the chopping.
  • In another part of the day I’ll make the sauce.
  • Later part of the day, I’ll put together some salad.
  • And then when I’m ready to eat, I’ll just put in the pasta and throw it all together.

Be sure to write it down so that you remember, and you won’t get to the end of the day and say 3x

  • Oh, now I guess I have to make a sauce.
  • But it’s too late, now.
  • I’d better just grab something from the freezer and heat it up.

Just like you want to schedule your work day, you also want to use your work at home schedule for your personal life.

After all, you can’t separate your work projects from your personal life.

That’s what’s working at home is all about.

Child Care

Let’s not forget this one.

A lot of people working at home have children to take care of, too.

If you’re working at home because of the current pandemic lockdown, then your kids are going to be home with you, too.

That’s because all the schools are closed.

But this can be at other times. Too.

Like during the summer or any other time when the kids are off school for holidays or vacations.

You have to integrate your work at home schedule with your children.

So make sure that they know that at certain times you will be working, and have to be left alone.

Set boundaries

Maybe you could have a physical boundary.

Like “when my door is closed, I’m working. Only knock on it if there’s something really important.”

Or if they’re very young, you might have to simply be working in a different part of the room, from where you can keep your eye on them.

This will sort of balance your work and your child care.

I know it’s not easy, but it’s part of the work at home world.

Part of your work at home schedule should include things you’ve planned out for your kids to do.

The same as you have things planned out for yourself.

Get some activities together.

Have a time when they can watch something on YouTube or TV.

But then have time when they’ll sit at the table and do some work.

Or some arts and crafts.

Just like you to schedule your work you need to schedule your kids activities.

You’ll have to put on the hat of the boss and feed your kids chunks of things to do, just like your boss would feed you chunks of things to do when you’re at work.

How to make a work at home schedule

I’ve been working at home for a long time, and so I’m kind of used to doing this balancing act.

And I know there’s a lot of other people who are also entrepreneurs.

The work at home, laptop lifestyle may sound great, but is actually quite a job.

Especially when it happens unexpectedly and suddenly.

You have to be focused and have a very clear plan.

Then you have to chunk your plan into actionable steps.

Finally, you have to actually implement them.

This can be quite a challenge, especially if you’ve been working a job and suddenly you’re working at home.

I know this is going to be a struggle at first.

But I’m sure that some of the tips I’m giving you here will help you ease into it and make things work for you.

Top Tier CoachingSo, please, let me know what your situation is.

Leave me a comment below.

Have you been forced into a work at home lifestyle because of the pandemic shutdown?

Or have you been working from home all along?

Either way, I’d love to hear about your work at home schedule.

Donna

Donna Merrill
Donna is a well known blogger and creator of "Blogging Magic" - an intensive guide to blogging. "Blogging Magic" is for beginners who are trying to figure out how to bring their blogs to life with tons of visits, comments and social media interaction. It's even for advanced bloggers looking to reach new levels of authority and engagement with their audience.

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19 Responses to How to make a work at home schedule

  1. Mission June 25, 2020 at 11:38 am #

    Hi Donna,
    Awesome and well-structured post, Just what I associate with your blog.
    But first, I hope you’re well and staying safe.
    I really love these tips. work from home is not a luxury but these days it is the way to survive because of lockdown in various countries, The best way to make your work from home effective is to schedule everything and work accordingly.

  2. Neha June 17, 2020 at 12:18 pm #

    It is difficult to switch between working from office environment and working from home. The recent pandemic has made things really difficult. However we have to make it work. Great article, you have sum up each and every single thing that we need to do for creating a better atmosphere even during work from home.

  3. Cha May 4, 2020 at 6:13 am #

    Hello Donna,
    Thank you for sharing this excellent tips! This is a great help for those still working at home and have some responsibilities to do who struggles on managing their time.

  4. Mary
    Twitter:
    April 29, 2020 at 3:09 pm #

    Hi Donna,
    These are really great tips! Silly, but I learned long ago I need to fix my hair and make-up, just in case I have an unexpected Zoom call! LOL It does help in general, though too. Who wants to walk around all day with bed head!!

  5. Philip Verghese Ariel
    Twitter:
    April 23, 2020 at 11:11 am #

    Hi Donna,
    What a joy to be here again after a bit gap.
    This post is indeed a very timely one as we are all in the lockdown period and shut at home! 🙂
    You very well explained the different aspects in relation to this period as well as working from home with a well-made schedule.
    I am sure this will be a good guide and a great help to all who are at WfH.
    I will incorporate this post in one of my posts I wrote in relation to remote working.
    I hope you and yours are safe at your place.
    Be safe and take care. Stay Home, Be Safe.
    All the Best
    ~ Phil

  6. Moss Clement
    Twitter:
    April 20, 2020 at 7:26 am #

    Hi Donna,

    Working from home is not the fort of everyone. Some strive at home while others won’t make it. And since the Cov-19 pandemic, many have started working from home, with more people soon to join the work from home league. So, without the right strategy, it becomes difficult to cope as a remote worker. Your tips are fantastic and timely as well.

    Thanks for sharing!

    By the way, I syndicated this post on a couple of sites for more exposure!

    Moss Clement recently posted.. How to Quickly Attract More Blog Readers to Your Website

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 22, 2020 at 10:02 pm #

      Hi Moss

      Thanks for you syndication, my friend 🙂

      And yes, some people will be able to make the transition to work at home, while others will not.

      That’s why I wanted to give some guidance on this topic.

      Hopefully, real soon, those that are uncomfortable working at home will be able to get back to their more familiar job surroundings.

      Hopefully, too, many will learn how to add some new found security by working online, even if it’s just a side hustle to their regular job.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Is blogging a risky businessMy Profile

  7. Pedro
    Twitter:
    April 16, 2020 at 9:22 am #

    Hi Donna,
    Amazing, detailed, well structured and practical post, just what I associate with your blog.
    But first, hope you’re well and staying safe.
    I really love the tips.
    However, my pick of the bunch will be ‘remembering to chunk everything’. I think working in chunks helps to plan, work ahead of myself and avoid procrastination. That way, I don’t get overwhelmed.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Best,
    Pedro

    Pedro Okoro recently posted.. COVID-19: Experts Reveal How To Make Money Online During Lockdown

  8. Benjamin Ehinger
    Twitter:
    April 14, 2020 at 11:11 pm #

    All excellent tips for sure! I have to say, using the old-school method of writing things out on actual paper has always been my go-to and I believe it’s the reason I am so productive.

    This pandemic, however, threw everything off and I had to reset. You’d think someone working from home for more than a decade could figure it out, but those days away from the house are so important to those of us using our home as an office.

    Longer walks outside and allowing my schedule to be a bit unique made all the difference. Instead of a four or five-day work week, I just made my days shorter and went for seven days. This has helped me to work less each day and spend more downtime trying to distract my mind.

  9. Gaurav Kumar
    Twitter:
    April 14, 2020 at 9:09 am #

    Hi Donna,

    Work from home is not a luxury but these days it is the way to survive because of lockdown in various countries, The best way to make your work from home effective is to schedule everything and work accordingly.

    Keep you mind calm and stay focused. Stay away from social distractions.

    Thanks for these tips.
    Gaurav Kumar recently posted..How to Obtain Start-up Grind for Your Small BusinessMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 22, 2020 at 9:41 pm #

      Hi Gaurav

      Working from home certainly is not a luxury.

      It’s work.

      I think that’s what so many new work-at-homers find difficult… understanding that they have to set that schedule, like you say… and then “work accordingly.

      It’s a tough mindset shift for people who are accustomed to being told what to do in a job-setting.

      But it can totally be done 🙂

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Build your blogging business fastMy Profile

  10. Vishwajeet Kumar
    Twitter:
    April 14, 2020 at 6:04 am #

    Hello Donna,

    Being a full-time Blogger I always be on work from home. So, in this pandemic situation, I don’t have so many effects. However, many businesses and companies have allowed their employees to work from home. This might be an issue for many of them but eventually, they adapt to it. It is always advisable to have multiple sources of income because we really don’t know when uncertainity happens. Thanks for sharing this great post.

    Regards,
    Vishwajeet Kumar
    Vishwajeet Kumar recently posted..3 Elements to Smart Blog CommentingMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 17, 2020 at 9:18 am #

      Hi Vishwajeet

      You make a really great point here… that everyone really should build multiple streams of income.

      And some of that should come from online business.

      Not only for pandemics, but if you lose your job, get sick or injured etc etc.

      So if you’re working from home unexpectedly… take advantage of the time to build an online presence that may become a great source of security down the road.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Rapid-fire method to easily create content for your blogMy Profile

  11. Lisa sicard
    Twitter:
    April 14, 2020 at 5:41 am #

    Hi Donna,
    What a great list of things to do working from home! It is funny, before the crisis, I used to shower sometimes at 10 or 11 am but now with everyone wanting to video call me, I’m in the shower by 7 or 8 am now. 🙂
    I still need to work on my diet. I do have protein shakes which help a lot but when I don’t have them I get all out of sorts. I must remember to eat lunch or I’ll be very cranky by dinnertime when my hubs comes home.
    We use HelloFresh every other week with 3 meals and that’s helpful. I find myself making more grocery lists and ordering online then I ever have before.
    I can’t imagine doing all this with the kiddos – I feel for those parents at home with home schooling, working and keeping the kids occupied. We lost power and I thought of those with the kids 🙁
    I like Ryan’s comment above with boundries too 🙂 That’s a very good point.
    Stay well Donna and thanks for your tips, you’ve been at this home work thing much longer than I.
    Lisa sicard recently posted..Make Your Facebook Feed Work Absolutely Wonderful For YouMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 17, 2020 at 8:35 am #

      Hi Lisa

      You sound like you’ve got a lot of balancing to do.

      Make sure to eat good… otherwise everything crashes in on you fast.

      Exercise really helps keep you focused and energized too.

      I like Ryan’s energy work routine… wish I was that disciplined.

      Keep rolling, and hey… so glad you’re doing all that live video work… what a great opportunity to build out that part of your business 🙂

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..How to do live video and meetings in an emergencyMy Profile

  12. Ryan K Biddulph
    Twitter:
    April 14, 2020 at 3:02 am #

    Hi Donna,

    All are sensational tips. Working in chunks helps me heaps. Key for me to stay energized.

    Currently, I am on a super late schedule. Writing this comment at 3 AM. But it is working incredibly well for me so I stick with it. I do wake at roughly 10:30 AM or 11 AM daily so I get my 8 hours. I suspect the culprit is my 4 hour energizing practices daily. Icy cold shower on waking, Kriya yoga, Kundalini yoga, work, lunch, work, Kriya yoga again, then another Kriya, then power walking and yin yoga. In between, I work in blocks as you suggest, taking short, frequent breaks daily.

    We need to set and maintain boundaries. I lock the door basically and throw away the key. Even though Kelli works across the hallway, we see each other little until late afternoon, when I dive deeper into my energizing practices.

    Ryan

    Ryan Biddulph recently posted.. Blogging During a Personal Crisis: 3 Tips

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 16, 2020 at 10:06 pm #

      Hi Ryan

      What a great lesson you’ve shared here with us.

      Set up boundaries and compartmentalize your efforts.

      Your 4 hour energy ritual is really a key to your productivity.

      I used to be a late nighter, but have changed my routine over the last few years.

      Now I get up early to start work.

      It doesn’t matter so much what the routine is, but sticking with it.

      That’s the magic.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Working a side hustle for securityMy Profile

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