Working from home can be a great opportunity as it offers flexibility to set your schedule and fit work around your priorities. I have been working from home for the past 16 months and I love it. I’m not sure I will be able to motivate myself to return to the corporate world but time will tell. Having learnt some things by trial and error, I wanted to share some of my best tips for working from home to save you time and set you up for success in this area.
Here is my list of best tips for working from home:
1. Maintain work times
You have the freedom to choose exactly when you want to work. What’s key though, is that whatever times you choose to work, you stick to these (barring emergencies of course). Procrastination is still a real issue and to be productive and effective in your work, you need to actually do the work. The other benefit of keeping work times is that you can then have your free time. Working at home (with easy access to your work) can cause you to overwork. If you don’t work on weekends, just because you can access your emails over the weekends doesn’t mean you should. Personal & family time is important so set some boundaries to help prevent your work from spilling over.
2. Embrace online work & cloud technologies
Although working from home also gives me flexibility in terms of my location, I don’t take advantage of this one often enough. By working with data on clouds and other online platforms, it really means that your work is portable as long as you have an internet connection. There may be some other fun locations that you can enjoy while you work rather than your usual area. It also comes in handy if you want to explore a certain area or you have an event that is far from where you usually work. You have the option to work in a new location for the day. You find somewhere nearby with wifi so you can do your work. Then it’s a short trip to the destination of your choice.
This one is motivating me to find some new locations which will give me a nice change of scenery.
3. Plan your day and week in advance
This may not be a favourite of everyone but it’s been really helpful for me to look at what I need to do for the week. I look closely at those tasks and errands that involve me being on the road and travelling. Next, I plan and combine my trips so that I can save time and money for gas by avoiding repeat trips. By taking 10-15 minutes to do this, it makes me more efficient as I spend less time behind the wheel and more time at my desk.
4. Know thyself
This point relates to understanding your personality and setting yourself up for success. I touched on this briefly in point#1 when I mentioned choosing your times to work. This goes a bit further though as you plan your day to your strengths. For example, if you find that after spending time on the road, you are not motivated to go do work at your desk. You can set up your day so that you do work in the morning that requires more concentration. Then following your time on the road, you complete short simple tasks that require little brain power.
5. Set limits for social media
Assuming that your work doesn’t involve the use of social media, this is one of the biggest time wasters these days. Without someone checking over your shoulder, this can be an even bigger issue for those of us who work at home. One way I limit my social media usage is by turning off notifications for various social media. Also, I am only logged into certain social media apps on my phone. So if I want to access these, I need to do it via the browser on my laptop, which for me is an extra step that usually deters me.
6. Have a dedicated space to work
I work in my study and when I go in and shut the door, this signals to my mind that I am work-mode. It also signals to those that I live with that I’m in work mode and it keeps interruptions to the minimum. It also has the reverse effect so when I leave and go into another area of the house for a break or after I finish work, I automatically start to relax. Having a dedicated space is also a good way to keep your work separate from the rest of your life.
These tips are part of my schedule and help to keep me in line so that I am productive. Which tip would be most helpful to you?