How to Work Efficiently at Home
09 / 4 / 2020
09 / 4 / 2020
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The work from home set up is exciting, comforting and it's convenient but its not all rainbows and butterflies all the time. After a couple of weeks or so, you’ll find that it can be difficult to cope with work if your children (or pet) keeps on asking for your attention, or your neighbor creates loud noises or if you find a good movie on Netflix. These distractions, home responsibilities, and temptations can hinder us from achieving work goals and most often, wearing pants!
So, if you’re one of those people who would like to overcome work from home challenges, here are some tips to make yourself productive and beat your worst enemy – which in this case is yourself.
1. Keep your work documented digitally
Documentation is not just for project details and approvals, its also the best way to keep yourself in check on the history of your work, especially if you’ll need it again repetitively or after a few years. When working at home, there is a constant custom to go straight to the work instead of doing the paperwork first, which often results in becoming a long-term efficiency constraint. Remember, your location is the only thing different, good documentation habits should still be applied. Additionally, it is always a good habit to list all your tasks in one document with a column that indicates its status or a checkbox. By enlisting the tasks, you can keep track of the progress and remind yourself how far or how close you are to finishing it! For some people, this is a way to keep themselves motivated.
When creating documents, it is best to keep a digital copy with backup and in a format that won’t easily be tampered by your kids or your cat! Our recommendation is to keep them in PDF by converting it from your usual Microsoft or Mac program into a non-editable format. You can do this by saving it to PDF but if this option is not available, you can always go to DeftPDF.com to convert it online for free. You can also create a PDF form for your task lists with interactive checkboxes!
2. Keep your working hours
If you think flexible working hours can help you, it really won’t! This is the common misconception especially if you have children at home who constantly seek attention. More likely, you’ll end up starting and ending work every ten minutes if you even try to do this tactic. Setting up some consistent working hours can make your mind focus and give more productive results. If you and your wife/husband are both working at home and you’ve got kids, it’s best to take turns on a schedule to do work and household.
If you’re also working in collaboration with other colleagues, getting a consistent schedule will also help them since it will be easier to contact you during that period. Remember to consider three things when setting this schedule up – who are affected by your work schedule? What time are you best productive? And When are your outputs due?
3. Limit your breaks
At home, no one is watching and no pressure can be felt during work hours so it will come easy to give yourself small breaks, long breaks, and extra breaks! Just like a schedule, getting breaks should also be disciplined as you will only tend to extend your work hours more if you keep the breaks in between. And instead of using online media to use up your break period, why not go and take a walk? Play you’re your dog or your kids and have a small snack break? Remove yourself from your work station so you won’t get burnt out.
Commit to it but don’t forget to tell your colleagues about your schedule!
4. Set up your work zone
Don’t fall into the trap of working on your bed. It will only lead to procrastination, laziness and doze you off into a nap until you’ve accomplished nothing. When the environment is too relaxed, the brain may also be too relaxed as well. Make your brain alert by setting up your own home office and setting up the mood for concentration. It doesn’t have to be a whole room; it could simply be an organized desk with tools you often need for the office. Make sure that when you do “enter” your work zone, all of your family members at home will also respect this and allow you to dedicate this area as a “work-only zone.” In addition, keep it clean and organized so you won’t have a hard time finding the tools that you need for work.
5. Collaborate and communicate
Working from home can also incline people to focus on their own tasks alone and forget how it affects other departments or teammates. Remember, working for a company means looking at the bigger picture that each individual paint. So, get in touch with your co-workers and keep a tab on all the things you need to do together or what affects them the most. Sometimes, keeping in touch with people also helps in productivity, especially if you’re going nuts on a dead-end problem. It’s easier to communicate now with online tools available anyway. You can do skype, email, SMS, calls or even video calls.
6. Prepare for work as if you’re going to the office
Traveling and dressing to work is another change you might not be used to. Having a work-from-home set up will only require you to travel from your bed to your computer in a second and you don’t even have to get out of your pajamas, right? In reality, trying this scheme will only leave you sluggish in the long-run. When working at home, it is still best to wake up early, take a shower, dress as if you’re going out and have your morning coffee ready! If you’re on the night shift, do exactly the same and prep yourself to “go to the office” so your brain will also be alert by the time you start.
7. Go for a social media hiatus
The easiest and most accessible temptation – social media. Unless you’re working as a marketing expert, it’s best to log off, uninstall and remove short cuts to any form of social media while working. These distractions will eat up your time in no time if you know what I mean!
8. Keep your own background noise
It can be a quiet zone, music in the background, a timer or even a TV turned on. Experiment on different noises and keep whatever it is that helps you become efficient. To some, having a busy schedule with their kids heightens their sense of urgency, resulting in better productivity.
Sometimes, a little noise helps the brain and even encourages it to be creative if needed.
9. Don’t be a master chef
When you’re in the office, there is often the notion of buying food out. But when you’re working at home, there is the need to cook your own meals and it’s really tempting to overdo it. Like working, cooking really nice meals can also take a lot of toll on your hours so before you start your day, make sure to prep your meals ahead! Some people prep their meals the day before to keep the schedule intact.
10. Make it a habit
Lastly, turning your schedule into a habit will help you endure the daily grind at home. Long-term work from home status can be dragging, especially if you’re the outgoing type. Like cigars, turning workflow and structures into a habit will help you get hooked on your best performance. When you master it all, you may also become the best version of yourself as well!