Working from home can be fab … right up until the dog chews your laptop and your kids pile in from school hungry, noisy and no sense of home working! My kids have joined many a conference call inadvertently and Bella the dog has caused mass disruption in the middle of a director virtual meeting haha.
For many modern professionals, working from home has been enabled by our businesses and is encouraged form time to time. It works for some but not others. Which do you prefer the work office or your home office?
In the work office, your co-workers often pose the greatest threat to keeping you from getting some real, heads-down work done, especially in the common open plan offices we have today. They drop by your desk, have a natter, and invite you to lunch. The social benefits of a work office are nice to have, but they don’t suit all personalities.
At the home office, however, there are a multitude of distractions that can divert your attention too. At the home office, no one’s watching. You don’t necessarily feel that same peer pressure or communal obligation to get stuff done. (Also: You can stay in your PJs or slob around gear)
Below, are 10 great work-at-home tips and tricks.
1. Get started early.
Use your commute time wisely! All that saved commute time can actually be really productive and quiet! After all everyone else is commuting . So dive into your to-do list as soon as you wake up. Simply getting a project started first thing in the morning can be the key to making progress on it gradually throughout the day.
2. Pretend like you are going into the office.
When working from home, keep your office day routine going: Set your alarm, make a cuppa, and wear nice clothes – at least not PJs. Going to the office is a habit you have formed – so keeping the habit going helps prepare you mentally for the day and get you in work mode.
Also think about prepping lunch and having fixed food for the day. stops dipping into the biscuit barrel and turning into barrel!
3. Structure your day like you would in the office.
When working from home, you’re your own manager. It can be really easy to get distracted – lose focus and lose motivation. Write your to do list and schedule it for each day you work from home! Quite often I would work form home to deliver a project i really needed ‘quiet time’ for. So I was totally focused on that one big thing! Which I then chunked down into timed deliverables. I even popped it in my diary and on post its – I love post its!
4. Choose a dedicated work space.
Dedicate a ‘work’ space at home. This stops your home and work overlapping too much.You need to be able to focus and switch off too!
Plus make sure everyone at home knows you are ‘working’ and there is a Do Not Disturb time!! Doesn’t always work but it is key to being productive!
5. Try local shared space to add variety!
Is your home office just not getting it done for you? Try and get out of the house. Coffee shops, libraries, and shared but secure Wi-Fi-enabled spaces can help you simulate the energy of an office so you can stay productive even when you don’t sit in an official workplace. Hotels and banks are offering this more and more as an option too now!
6.Allocate social media time as a pre and post work activity
Ah the joys of social media scrolling. This can be a huge distraction and tricky for me as it is part of my job too. So either log off and shut down if you don’t need it – or schedule social hours at the beginning and the end of the day. Be ruthless with yourself … no cute cat and dog videos!!
7.Set yourself no more than 3 big tasks each week.
Projects always take longer than you initially think they will. Other actions and work will come in that needs doing then and there so you end up getting done less than you set out to do. You will possibly get more done at home but 3 big things each week means you are setting and achievable goal!
8. Take breaks and move! Work when you’re at your most productive.
Your motivation will naturally ebb and flow throughout the day. When you’re working from home, however, it’s all the more important to know when those ebbs and flows will take place and plan your workload around it.
So save your harder tasks for when you know you’ll be in the right headspace for them. Use slower points of the day to knock out the easier, admin type tasks that are also on your plate. Ticking off these smaller tasks can help motivate you for the bigger stuff!
Take breaks, grab a cuppa, change the washing over, do the dishes and allow yourself a lunch away from the desk! Maybe take a reviving walk around the block or meet a friend for lunch at a local cafe.
9. Stay in touch and connected with tech!
Working from home might help you focus on your work in the short term, but it can also make you feel cut off for the goings on and people in the office. Use the videoconferencing tools at your disposal, and don’t underestimate the power of seeing someone when you speak to them! This can also remind you how your work is contributing to the big picture.
10. Have some background noise
Browse apple music and pick a genre that matches your mood and what you have to work on. Mix it up – create your own playlists, Whatever floats your boat.