Working From Home
I have worked in various different working environments, and some of my jobs have involved working from home. Working from home effectively and achieving goals can come easier to some. It doesn’t suit everyone. It could be down to personality, the nature of the task or home distraction.
If you are focused then working from home effectively is less of an issue. However, if loading the washing machine or putting on the television is the first thing you do, you might be the kind of person who struggles to work alone.
Everyone is different and we all work in slightly different ways, but here are a few tips to keep motivated and stay on track.
Set Your Working Hours
This depends of course if you are your own boss or have flexible working hours. If that is the case then set your working hours and stick to them. If you get up early and find working for the first part of the day is more efficient then stick to that. Or you may prefer to start work slightly later. Working from home effectively will require you to work out when you are at your best.
Create a Work Space
Having an area dedicated to you while you work is important. It could be a home office, garage, shed or loft. Personally I sit at the dining table in the kitchen. Keep that area for you and all the things you need for your working day.
If you cannot find an area at home or there are other people there, why not head to a cafe with free WiFi (if you need it)? If you are able to work remotely then heading out might also give you the head space that you need.
‘Walk to Work’
This may sound crazy if you choose to work at home rather than in a cafe (or library etc). But treat working from home in the same way as working in an office by walking there. Do this by having a walk around the block before you day begins or start work after doing the school run. As soon as you return to your desk, sit down and get working!
Get Dressed for Work
Now this again goes on personality. Some people quite enjoy sitting in their pyjamas with a cup of coffee while they work away. If you stay motivated that way then that’s great.
For me, staying in pyjamas makes me feel a bit lazy and not very fresh for the day (even if they are clean on!). Instead, set your alarm and get yourself up like you would on any working day. Have your coffee and breakfast if that’s what you do, take a shower and wear something smart/casual. I will make sure I’ve washed and blow dried my hair and put on some makeup as it makes me feel awake and motivated for the day.
Don’t Turn on the Television!
That’s fatal! The TV can be a major distraction and if you start getting into a program (or even a movie), you risk getting less done. Stay at your work space and not on the sofa and keep disciplined. You need to be working from home effectively.
Set Regular Breaks
Treat working from home as you would if you had a manager breathing down your neck, and take proper breaks at proper times. Your break may involve having a cigarette (in which case, go outside as you would in any other workplace to remind you that you are actually at work) or just grabbing a coffee.
If you work while you lunch then that’s fine, but stick to set times when you eat or go and fetch your coffee. If you head out for lunch, make sure you are back home within an hour.
Take a Breather
It’s okay to go out if you work from home. Especially if you are struggling with motivation or tiredness. Stretching your legs is good if you are sitting at a desk and heading out for a walk can combat fatigue. Having a break can also give you inspiration or just get you away from the computer screen or telephone.
A small bit of exercise or taking time out to go to the gym will help with energy and mindset.
Have a Planner
Scheduling your work and help you to set realistic goals for the day or week. As well as having your diary (which you should keep up to date), have a wall planner or notebook to brain storm or write down what you need to do. There are also task management apps (like Trello) that are great. Prioritise the important tasks or the ones you really don’t want to do. By making that awkward call first thing or doing the boring jobs first, you can breeze through the rest of the day without it on your mind.
Keep your meals and snacks healthy and balanced to see you through the day. Avoid eating last night’s leftover takeaway for elevenses and stick to light meals such as soups or salads. Munching on biscuits at the laptop will make you feel sluggish.
Keep your hydration levels up too. Keep water near to you as well as any hot drinks you may have.
Hire a Cleaner
If you start your working day by doing the washing up, vacuuming and putting laundry away, you are not in the right frame of mind to work. Equally, working whilst being surrounded by mess (or kids toys in my case) can also be distracting. It’s important to have a clear environment from the moment your start working.
If you are juggling too much and you don’t want to spend your weekends cleaning, then hire a cleaner to do it for you. Working from home effectively might just need one small change.
If your cleaner is distracting however, hire them to come when you are on your lunch break or working in the local coffee shop!
Stay off Social Media
Unless of course it’s part of your job. Then, stay off your personal social media and stick to the task. Keeping that Facebook tab open or allowing notifications to ping on your phone will only encourage you to check it. Then before you know it, you’re scrolling and commenting on posts. It can suck time out of your day, so schedule it to breaks or when the work is done.
Having said that, using groups for networking or to chat can be beneficial when working alone. You may need someone to talk to or get some advice which is important for efficiency and and also confidence.