Anyone who has ever worked from home will tell you it’s not as easy as it looks.
When you’re home, you’re too relaxed, too comfortable, often too “out-of-the-zone” to get work done. You have no boss to keep track of what you’re doing, meaning you have to be that boss.
The boss that tells you which task is more important, what to do next, when to take a break, even when to pressure if necessary. You have have to be all that.
It may sound intimidating, but there is a right approach to it. Let’s start with…
Have a Proper Work Space
Not your kitchen table, not the living room couch - a real proper work space where you do nothing else but work.
Working from home can be extremely tiring because the room where you used to relax can become the room you work all day. So even when you’re done, you still feel like you’re at work.
So set up a corner of your home where you will work everyday. Make it comfortable and distraction free, and stick to it. That way, when the work is done, the rest of the house will remain as relaxing as it always was.
If you don’t have an extra table and chair you can use, we highly recommend you invest in something comfortable. Remember, you will be using it every day, so it’s important you feel physically and emotionally well when in your work space.
Stick to Your Working Hours
A common mistake in home offices is the idea that you’re allowed to slow down, because you can just finish it later.
With this line of thought, you will end up stretching your working hours to insane degrees, having work days that last up to 14 hours or more, when you could have finished everything sooner.
Keep your eye on the clock and focus on finishing what you have to do on the time set - usually the common eight business hours. When your time time ends, you stop. If there was still something left to do, you’ll do it tomorrow.
It may be tempting to continue, but you will end up working for more hours than necessary and mentally stress yourself.
In most cases, you can finish whatever was left on the beginning of the next work day way faster than if you plunge through at the end of a shift.
It’s important to maintain focus and stick to your hours, but you’re not a machine - your mind appreciates short breaks.
Think of your brain as a muscle. If you stress it too much, it will eventually fatigue. When you feel you’re looking at the screen and not producing as you should, get up, walk for a bit, get some coffee or water, breathe… and then come back to work.
Coffee is a great beverage that provides many health benefits, but it doesn’t make you work any faster or any better. It increases your heartbeat and when consumed in excess, can mess up your digestive system temporarily. If coffee is too strong for you, we recommend leaving a bottle of water on your desk - it’s energizing and it will remind you to stay hydrated.
The lack of any major ambient sounds in a home can lead to some anxiety.
Naturally, most people listen to music while working, but music can be a problem (even subconsciously) if you need to concentrate on something creative. Read the tips below for some ideas!
Finding the right sound for your work environment:
- Music is great for mechanical tasks, that don’t involve creating. For example: I don’t listen to music while writing an article, but I do when I’m publishing it.
- For creating, try listening to instrumental music (classical or electronic). Spotify and Google Play both have playlists for that.
- If instrumental music is still distracting, you can try white noise. The purpose of this sound (that can be calibrated to suit your ears) is to suppress external noises, meaning that after a minute or two, you won’t even notice it’s there.
- If white noise is not your thing, try Coffitivity. It plays ambient murmur of people in activity, making it feel like you’re in a work space, or just somewhere with people.
Keep It Clean
A messy work space means a messy day. Keep it as clean as possible.
Use your favorite list making app to always have a checklist for your daily tasks. It helps visualize your most important tasks and don’t lose track of progress.
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