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How to commute while working from home

Aug 20, 2020

Are you finding it hard to switch off from work? Moira Dunne suggests fencing off pockets of time to "commute" to and from work.

One of the perks of working from home is having no commute to deal with every day. We gain extra time each morning and evening and there is no traffic stress to contend with. But a daily commute does have a benefit – it helps us separate our work lives from our personal lives.

A big challenge of working from home is the blurring of the lines. As we are working in the same spaces where we live, the transition from one to the other can be too sudden. Minutes after breakfast you may need to solve a challenging work problem or run a difficult online meeting. There is no time to adjust your mind; no time to get into “work mode”.

The daily commute allowed time for this transition. So, here are three things you can do to gain the benefit of commuting without the associated stress.

1. Daily routine

The first thing is to make sure that you have a daily routine. Start work at approximately the same time every day, whatever time that is. This especially helps on a day when motivation is low – a day when you may procrastinate and start later. The routine helps you “work yourself” into a productive mood. It also sets the boundaries for other family members in your house.

2. Commute to work

Before you start work, do something to help you transition into work mode. This will be your ‘commute’ to work. It could be a quick walk around the block, an exercise routine or 10 minutes reading a business article. Find what suits you. This provides the time to park any personal thoughts and consider the work for the day.

3. Commute from work

It is equally important to ‘commute home’ from work in the evening. An evening transition helps you tune out of work and be more present with family or friends. Again, identify an activity that helps you clear work thoughts from your mind. This could be planning the next day, committing to a family activity or some exercise or personal downtime.

Even simply putting away your work devices can help you switch off. If you can see your technology after hours, you may be tempted to work on emails. Remember, getting some work done in the evening may be productive at the time but it can impact your ability to get things done the next day.

Commute to separate work from home

Being productive while working from home feels good. It also helps to reduce stress. Use these commuting tips to take control of your time so you will have more productive days.

Moira Dunne is founder of beproductive.ie.