Year 2020 has thrown the world a curve ball, shifting the landscape from working at the office to working from home. While this is relatively “new” to many professionals, working from a home office has been the desired normal for freelancers, coaches, educators, content creators, influencers, small business owners, to name a few.
As a person who enjoys working from a home office for many years, I cannot deny that this set-up comes with its own set of challenges and the most one being the self-sabotage distractions. It is easy to become your own worst enemy.
However, after years of working from home and connecting with many professionals who have the same set-up, I’ve compiled below 15 tips & tricks that will help you in working successfully from home:
- Start your day early: If you were going to the office, you would need to wake up early to commute to the office. Have the same mindset when working from home. Having an early start can positively affect your productivity when working from home
- Get dressed: It is easy to fall into the trap of working in-bed and in your PJs but that attitude is not sustainable in keeping you focused day after day. No need for the fancy outfits, just make sure to get out of your sleeping clothes and get dressed to start your day
- Design your workspace: Having a dedicated workspace is key to keeping you in the working mindset. If you do not have the a spare room or basement to use, create a dedicated space for your desk, work supplies, printer and anything else you might need. This space is designed to be comfortable and suitable for your working needs, even if it’s a corner in a room. Make sure you have all the work supplies, so your working day is not interrupted
- Take advantage of scheduling: Just like in an office setting, you need to keep a structure to your day and have all your appointments scheduled and organized
- Time your work: If you are the type who can be easily distracted, create 45 minutes or 90 minutes slots of complete focus on work. Use an alarm to assist you and after each slot, take a break. You can use this technique to use each slot to complete a task on your to-do list
- No Social Media distractions. No TV. No taking calls that are not urgent or related to work
- Communicate a Do Not Disturb Policy: If your family is also at home, communicate your work schedule and agree on a “Do Not Disturb” time frame
- Don’t stay home: When possible, take a lunch break outside and meet a friend, or a colleague, or simply go and get coffee for yourself and a quick bite. Work lunch breaks are usually an hour, so factor that timing into your breaks, to keep feeling motivated, then go back and finish your work
- Schedule calls and teleconferencing for the afternoon: Try to make use of the most productive time to complete your tasks and push calls and meetings to after lunch, so it doesn’t bite a chunk out of your working day
- Schedule 1-on-1 meetings for a full day: If your type of work requires in-person meetings, schedule all of them by dedicating a day for meetings. Commuting from one place to another takes up a lot of time, so by dedicating a meeting day, you have the rest of the week to work on actual tasks and projects
- For working parents, factor your home tasks into your schedule, so you don’t feel like home chores are dragging you away from completing your work
- Prepare lunch the night before: don’t waste time in the kitchen thinking about your lunch. Create a meal schedule for the week or prepare lunch the night before, so your lunch break is a real break, where you will re-charge and refuel to finish work
- Have a clear end-of-work timing: just like office hours, try to have home work hours, giving yourself a chance to wind-down and spend time with your family
- Attend networking events: fill up your calendar with networking or industry events, and make it a point to seek out contacts within your profession. Today, there are many networking events that are delivered on-line
- Automate or Eliminate: to decrease and control any kind of overwhelm, use technology to automate work or simply eliminate any unnecessary tasks that take time and will not add value to your work. Work smart
What tactics have you been using to maximize productivity when working from home? Let us know in the comments below and let’s share experiences.
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