How To Work From Home Efficiently
In the past I've had couple jobs where I was required to work from home. I am not sure whether those jobs were not what I really liked or I didn't like them because I had to work from home on my own time. It's silly, I know, who wouldn't want to just open a laptop in bed or go sit at Starbucks while making money? This seems like a dream to many 9-5 office workers, doesn't it? But those of you who have tried working from home know that the struggle is real.
First of all, working from home requires more effort and discipline than from the office. Coming into a work space that you share with others is like a learned behavior, a trigger to concentrate and start doing what you have to do. Working from home, on the contrary requires you to battle with yourself because there is no one standing over you and you can get easily distracted and postpone the start time. Chances are you will sleep in, take longer breaks, work on other tasks that are less important and it will take you longer to do something that you would do much faster if you were in the work space.
Being a student taking six classes this semester also taught me that as much as I am the most productive at coffee shops with many people around I can't always make time to go out and work in public just to concentrate. I also do not want to spend money on those co-op shared working spaces that offer free coffee (is it really free?) that tastes like mud, depressing grey walls and stability balls. So if you are also a student, a freelancer or a stay-at-home worker, here is what you should do to be productive in the comfort of your own home.
- Organize your work space -There has to be a little corner if not a room in your house that will be dedicated to your work; a space where you will put everything you need at a reachable distance. If you don't have a desk, buy one. There are plenty of options on-line at various prices that will fit even the smallest spaces. I got my desk with the cute turquoise shelf for under a $100 at Target.
- Watch your posture - While it's easy to lay in bed with a laptop, chances are your productivity will decline because you are half-laying half-sitting half-sleeping. The more comfortable you are physically, the better you will perform. Sit up and make sure you are not tense in your neck or shoulders.
- Accessorize - I only needed my calendar and my laptop, but having a nice set up that included books, candles, a magic wand from Harry Potter world and a coin bank in a shape of a skull made it pleasant to work at and made me feel excited to sit at a pretty desk and work. I am a very visual person, so personalizing my desk that represented my likes was very very important. Fresh flower are also a good way to dress up your desk.
- Set up working hours - Just because you are at home, doesn't mean you can be on your own schedule. Plan how much time a day you need to spend on work, take a lunch break and don't work after a certain hour. Knowing your time limits will help you spread the the work evenly and meat deadlines. And you will find that you can still have a normal social life. When you move away from the desk, you are done with work. Make that a rule. No working on the couch in front of TV.
- Avoid distractions - I hate silence. I always need to have background noise, but when I put a TV show on or any sort of music that is not classic and slow I find myself somehow still kind of paying attention to whatever is happening in the background. Which brings me to the next advice
- Don't try to multitask - Multitasking is bullshit. It's not helping your productivity in any way. You don't give full attention to one task and hopping from this to that will make you lose time. Don't refresh your emails every 5 minutes, don't chat with someone on Facebook, don't look up stuff on the Internet if it is not related to your primary task. Finish one thing and move on to the next. You can do everything else on your breaks.
I hope these tips will help you become the superstar of the home office! Feel free to share your tips in the comments below.