5 tips that can help you be a work-from-home superstar

By Stacey Guard-Langal 

Vice President, Charitable Giving & Events Operations at Kaulig Companies 

Many of us are working from home right now due to the coronavirus pandemic. I’ve seen others sharing a lot of tips, but if I know anything, it is how to kick butt working from home! I successfully reached lofty fundraising goals year after year working from home for a non-profit for fifteen years. Even now and before this unfortunate global issue dealt to us, I build work-from-home days into my weekly schedule to save time as well as some miles on my car. At the office or home, I’m able to easily juggle all of my roles, which includes leading Kaulig Giving, the Kaulig Foundation and our Kaulig Media Events team.

I’m happy to share my top 5 tips that may help you be a work-from-home superstar too!

1  Get and stay organized. Everyone who has ever worked with me knows I rely on my Franklin Planner every day! I keep long term project lists in there as well create a prioritized daily list of tasks for work and home. All ideas and meetings notes go in my planner, and my calendar is always up to date. This is my guidebook regardless of my work spot.

2. Check the most important task or two off your list every day. Figure out the most important task to accomplish for the day and do it! This approach is effective whether you are juggling a lot of responsibility, work life is unusual (like now) or you just need to get focused. I use this approach for chores at home as well. In the end, you will be effective and feel so much better when that most important task or two is checked off your list!

3. Do your best to not get distracted by kids, email or social media. When my kids were small and I worked from home, I was fortunate to have a family member or friend help me with the kids. I know managing kids while working from home can be challenging, but staying organized and everyone having a routine helps. As for email, I try to respond to messages when I’m organizing my planner for the day, so that I can focus on a project or meetings later. In reality, emails pile up at times, and I’ll spend an entire work day catching up on email only. The next day, my attention moves to a project. As for social media, be disciplined, check in occasionally and set aside the phone just like we would tell our kids. When others tell you not to get distracted by home life, I sort of disagree! The beauty of working from home is the quintessential multi-tasking that can happen. It’s not unusual for my laundry to be going while I work, or for me to empty the dishwasher while I’m warming up my lunch. I don’t waste a minute!

4. Identify and create a productive work space. Your space should be clean, organized and comfortable encouraging you to want to sink in, stay and work. For me, I like my desk clean, open space for my laptop and Franklin Planner, papers and supplies organized, the temperature moderate, and the area quiet and smelling good. I enjoy being here and working.

5. Take breaks. Again, when my kids were small, it seemed like there were more natural ebbs and flows to my day. Now that they are teenagers and rather independent, it’s easy to hunker down and work for hours on end. I need to force myself to break for lunch whether that’s a meal or workout, make a phone call or go outside for fresh air for a few moments. After hunching over for hours, my back thanks me for those breaks too!