This is a guest post by my friend Chloe over at Messy Room, which is a fabulous ‘lil Lifestyle Blog if I do say so myself. For the Digital Nomads and Remote Workers, here are some fabulous tips for working from home. Enjoy!
10 Tips for Efficiently Working From Home
Working from home comes with a lot of distractions. When you’re sitting at home all day, you constantly see chores that need to be done. Sometimes neighbors, maintenance people, and other disturbances stop by. There’s a bed. A couch, probably. Maybe even a TV in front of that couch. Netflix. How I Met Your Mother…Person of Interest…Once Upon a Time…
See how easy it is to get distracted?!
Unfortunately, work won’t wait for us to binge watch all 8 seasons of Psych before it leaves Netflix (still bitter about that one), so it’s important to create processes to help you work efficiently while still being surrounded by all of your things. Here are our tips to stay focused while working from home.
1. Create a designated working space.
Working from home with so many sitting areas makes it seem like you’ve got a lot of choices. But if you work in your bed, a space your body knows as its sleeping area, you’re only going to want to take a nap. If you work on the couch, a space your body recognizes as a place to relax, you’re going to have a tough time staying focused on the task at hand.
However, having a designated work space in your home that you only use for work, helps get you into the right mindset for getting shit done.
2. Establish a morning routine.
Waking up early and putting in the effort to get ready for work, even when you’re working at home, makes a world of difference in your attitude and productivity for the day. Set your alarm for the same time each day, then determine what you want to accomplish before you start working. Maybe you want to work out, take a shower, eat breakfast, get dressed, sit and drink your coffee while catching up on the news, etc. Create a morning routine that works for you and that starts your day off on the right foot.
By actually getting ready for work, you’ll have the frame of mind that you’re actually sitting down to work, rather than lazily moving from the bed–after hitting snooze ten times, naturally–to the couch and pulling out your laptop.
3. Structure your day.
With the flexibility that working from home provides, you might find yourself jumping from one task to another or trying to multitask and, ultimately, getting next to nothing done. Stop that.
Instead, structure your day the same way you would in the office. Do you have certain tasks you like to get done first thing? (These are typically the highest priority tasks, while you’re most focused.) Keep the same routine at home. Take calls during the same time frame each day, work on similar tasks during the same set hours, what have you.
4. Take breaks.
Working eight straight hours can do a number on your productivity. No matter what corporate America says, our brains were not designed to work that way. So take short breaks every couple of hours and move to a different part of the house during your lunch break so you can take some time away from work.
5. Get dressed.
Seemingly, one of the biggest perks of working from home is that you can literally work in whatever you want: pajamas, sweats, your birthday suit. But moving directly from your bed to your work station in the same clothes you slept in makes it difficult for your brain to realize you’re moving on to a new activity.
Making it a priority to actually get dressed every morning is a great way to start off your work day. You don’t need to wear a pant suit or pencil skirt in your home office, but getting out of your pajamas and into some day clothes can help you to define the line between at home time and work time.
6. Get out of the house.
Yes, you should have a comfortable home office to work in the majority of the time, but you have so much flexibility when you work from home, and you’d be a fool not to take advantage of it sometime. Find a cafe with wifi or co-work with a friend or colleague. Take advantage of outdoor public spaces when the weather is nice and grab a nice, hot cup of joe by the window of your favorite coffee shop when the weather is cold and rainy.
7. Keep consistent work hours.
Some of us telecommute some days and are in office others. Some of us work with a completely virtual team. And some of us are freelancers or business owners who get to make our own schedule. If you’re still part of a team, you may already have set hours that your boss requires you to work. But if you answer to yourself, it can be tempting to work sporadic hours.
The best way to work from home efficiently is to keep a consistent work schedule. Maybe that’s 9-5 for you. Some people prefer to have their own time in the morning, and work later in the afternoon/evening. If you have the freedom to create your own schedule, make sure that it’s in your optimum working hours, but also make sure that you keep to that same schedule everyday.
8. Don’t snack.
When you’re only 15 feet from your kitchen, it is way too easy to get up from your desk, walk to your fridge or pantry, and just start grazing all day long. It’s like the Freshman 15 all over again. Whatever you do, don’t allow yourself to snack all day long. Put up caution tape or a baby gate in front of the doorway into the kitchen if you need to.
9. Take advantage of free and inexpensive online apps.
When working remotely, especially when part of a remote team, communication and project management tools are essential. Check out Google Drive or Dropbox to house your files in the cloud, so you have access to them from any computer. Use communication tools like Google Hangouts, Slack, or Hipchat to stay in touch with your team/coworkers and/or your clients. Try project management tools like Trello or Asana to keep up with tasks, especially tasks that require multiple team members to complete.
10. Don’t allow disruptions.
Many people don’t understand that working from home is just that: working, but at home. So when friends and family suggest getting together for lunch, or just want to drop by and hang out, it’s important to make sure they know that you are very much still working, and are not available. It’s okay to take advantage of your flexibility occasionally, but make sure these disruptions aren’t happening so much that you’re not able to get your work done.
With so many jobs being completed fully online, working remotely is becoming more and more popular, and some companies have entirely remote teams. When your team (and also your salary) are relying on you to still complete your work, it’s so important to learn how to work efficiently while still being in your own space.
This is a guest post from Messy Room, a lifestyle blog that discusses jobs, business, finance, home, sex, relationships, and opinion articles that help to empower women.