Working From Home Guide
It is time to focus on being as productive as you can. Time management is a difficult skill to master in the best of times. Add in having your fridge, tv, family and internet close by with no one supervising how much and when you use them adds another layer of temptation to our productivity that was not there before.
While it can be difficult to manage your time when you literally have all day to fit things in, there are a few things you can do to make sure you get the biggest bang for your productivity buck.
Rule Number One
Make good use of your time by constructing a schedule and sticking to it. It can be tempting to sleep in an extra half hour one morning or take an extra 15 minutes to finish your lunch but try to avoid that temptation. When you do finally settle on a schedule (it is ok to have some trial and error) you feel is conducive to your needs, stick to it. The more you create a pattern of behavior and a good work rhythm, the better you will do working from home.
In order to help you achieve the first rule of working from home, there are smaller, subsections you can follow that will help you set and stay with the schedule you create for yourself.
Make sure you have a space that is truly yours to work in. This is particularly important if you have roommates or a family you are sharing space with. You do not want your work intruding on how others need to go about their lives, but you also do not want everyone around you affecting your work either. Try to avoid setting up camp in front of the TV, or in high traffic areas. Your workspace needs to be your area of solitude where you can concentrate fully on what you are doing. This will also help you to be able to separate work from your home life as well.
Some people do like a little noise and activity around them to concentrate, but if you are like most people you probably prefer quiet to get your work done. When you are at home there is no telling what kind of noises you may be subjected to daily. Perhaps your neighbor is in the middle of a remodel or has a dog that barks all day. Maybe you just have to deal with restless children. Whatever the case, if you can not deal with the noise around you, a pair of noise cancelling headphones will be your best friend while working from home. Need a little bit of noise? Try some soothing music or nature sounds so your area is still a fortress of thinking solitude, but not totally devoid of life.
Be steadfast in your boundaries. Treat your at-home work area like a regular office and ask that any housemates respect that unless it is an absolute emergency. When working from home it can be easy for your spouse to want to come in to chat, or friends to come over and visit. However, as innocent as these interactions can seem, they are concentration breakers and can mess with your productivity. Just be honest with everyone. How often did they visit you at your actual office? Most likely it was rarely and that is what you need them to abide by even though you are technically more “available” at home.
A Few More Tips
A few other tips and tricks to keep in mind and utilize to keep you productive throughout your day include:
1) Changing your clothes- it helps create a schedule and transitions you from relaxation mode into work mode.
2) Plan any meals or snacks ahead of time- this way you avoid loitering around the fridge hoping for “better” food to magically materialize or wasting a lot of time actually making something.
3) Disable social media notifications- we have all been there. That “quick” check on breaking news can quickly turn into a half hour. (The average user spends 2 hours and 24 minutes per day on social media!)
4)Use timers- this helps create a sense of urgency for tasks to get done in appropriate amounts of time.