To ensure your work from home experience is successful, here are some tips to keep you focused and productive.
Make a Set Work Pace
You may not be working in a traditional office, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set up an office in your home. It’s a good idea to dedicate a specific room or space to work where you can perform tasks and store any work-related files, supplies, and materials Avoid rooms you associate with leisure time. Your home office should not be near your couch, TV, or your bed.
Structure Your Week
When working from home, you need to be your manager. To stay on track, minimize distractions, and maximize your productivity, it’s a good idea to plan out your work in advance. Spend some time figuring out what you need to accomplish each week and create an agenda that outlines your assignments, when you will dedicate time to them and when they need to be completed. Write out a simple list or create a spreadsheet to get organized.
When you work from home you need to make sure you equip yourself with the right technology so you’re connected to your company office and clients. Make sure you have a laptop (with charger) or a desktop computer at home, and robust internet access. A slow connection can be a time drain and a source of frustration if you need the web to work. You may also be called on to do online video conferencing, which requires a good Internet connection.
Make sure you have the right applications to work remotely. In addition to basic computer programs like Microsoft Word, you’ll want to be readily available via e-mail, phone, text, and instant message. Videoconferencing and other real-time communication tools make it easy to check in with coworkers and clients.
Limit Access to Email and Social Media
Social media and email are big distractions because they are easy to access and browse quickly. When you’re working they can severely limit your productivity if you let them. To concentrate on your work, start by setting specific times to view email or social media updates each day. You may also want to remove browser shortcuts and instant notifications for email and social media, so you are not alerted to every message, post, or tweet. If you’re still distracted after minimizing access, you may need to consider completely removing the apps from your computer and phone so you’d only be able to access them manually.
Work Outside the House
You don’t always have to work at home. If you need a break from your apartment or house, or just want a change of scenery, get out of the house and do your work from a coffee shop, library or other Wi-Fi-enabled space. Getting away can give you an energy boost and help increase your productivity. If you have local clients, consider setting up lunch meetings or visiting their offices instead of discussing work on the phone at home. Mixing it up a little is a good way to keep your telecommuting life fresh and more interesting.
The work from home life can often be a sedentary one because you don’t need to go anywhere to accomplish your work. The refrigerator is just steps away, making it very easy to snack. To stay healthy, carve out some time to exercise during the week. Work out in your house or head to the gym a few times a week. Not only will a gym commitment improve your fitness, but it will also help you get out into the world a little more. Don’t forget to drink lots of water!
Work When You’re Most Productive
You won’t be motivated to work every moment of the day. You’ll have periods of high productivity and periods of low productivity. Pay attention to your ebbs and flows to figure out when you have the drive to complete your tasks, then schedule your work around them. The most challenging tasks on your plate should be done when you feel most productive. When your motivation wanes, use that time to slower take care of simpler tasks.