Is working effectively from home a struggle for you? Many thanks to Molly Millson, contributor to Smooth Decorator, for this article on 7 tips to do just that.
In the past, to describe your current job as “I am working from home” used to carry some stigma around it, as if you were lying about your unemployment, laziness and failure. Today, having a home office has become commonplace, if not a must.
Maybe you’re a self-employed freelancer, someone who has just started a business and doesn’t have the budget for an office space, or you are working remotely as a part-time job. However, all of you know just how it can be difficult sometimes with the heavy procrastination and Netflix or social media bingeing, your family and friends who just dropped by to see you, and the noisy neighbors. There are some circumstances which you cannot control, but there are things you could certainly change to work more effectively from home.
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean that you can sleep for the better half of the day. Even if you are more productive at night, you have to decide on your work schedule and stick to it. Plan a reasonable amount of time for your lunch. Answer your emails first but, if possible, schedule phone calls and video conferences for the afternoon. Respect the deadlines and try to make yourself available to your clients and colleagues at the same hours each work day.
Working from home can be challenging since there are so many distractions one needs to keep at bay. For example, parents can’t simply ignore their kids’ needs and requests. Also, click-baiting through the morning can get out of control or having friends calling at inconvenient times to catch up can disrupt your work immensely. What you can do is create a much-needed boundary between work and personal life. Just always have in mind that the “I can’t do that right now, I am working” answer doesn’t make you a bad mom, friend or partner.
Set an office
Choose a secluded nook in your apartment or a whole separate room and set it up as an office. Even if it is a make-believe desk (in reality, one-half of your dining table), you’ll have a sense of actually “going” to work. If you only slump onto the sofa, you’ll fall prey to that lazy Sunday feeling. Make sure that your small office is well-aired and has plenty of natural light. If it is too dark, you’ll feel groggy and unenthusiastic. So, invest in good lighting. Check out Superlight LED quality lighting with dimmable and animated color-function to introduce some brightness other than that coming from your screen.
Make schedules and to-do lists
Creating a list of to-dos is not only a good way to visualize the day’s work ahead but it also gives you an overview of priorities. Sometimes we are stuck with minor tasks and therefore taking away precious time from a bigger project. If you are aware of your constant procrastination, make instead a manage-to-do list. Opt for an electronic planner to keep you on track.
Keep in touch
Many of those working remotely lack the atmosphere of a “real” job. Well, not exactly that one of moody bosses or giving a presentation to investors. It is more about being a part of the collective, even if it’s catching up with co-workers by the coffee machine. Check in with your colleagues from time to time by email or chat and maybe arrange a get-together if you are in the same area.
Take a break
Empty your washing machine, watch a cat YouTube video, make yourself a cup of coffee. Nobody said you are under a house arrest. Go for a short walk and enjoy some sun. This is not slacking but it is actually making you more productive. It is important to pace yourself with short breaks and avoid “burning out”.
Connect with the outer world
Before you know it, you’ve worked 15 hours straight. Afterwards, you’re too tired to connect with the people around you. Stress and anxiety aren’t caused by your workload only, but also because you aren’t meeting your emotional needs. Your job is only a small speck in your life story. Make that call, go out with your friends, and stop being a house hermit.