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The number of people working from home is consistently growing, with employees of many larger companies only visiting the office perhaps just once or twice each week. Technology has helped to push working from home out of the almost exclusive realms of freelancers and consultants, into the domain of many other industries and occupations.

But it can be tricky. Especially with all the distractions that come with working in your home environment, constantly tempting you away from your work.

So how do you get the balance right, and effectively work from home in the most productive way possible? We’ve collated some of the points we live by into a handy checklist to help get you there.

“To be able to work at home successfully takes all of the following: motivation, perseverance, work, good habits, no excuses, balance, accountability, and action.”
– Byron Pulsifer

Working from home challenges

  • You work in or near to the environment you relax in, blurring the line between work and relaxation
  • You need to create your own work environment and often provide your own tools and software
  • You are surrounded by distractions and home comforts
  • There is no accountability and no one leaning over your shoulder
  • You don’t have a need to exercise or to go outside
  • The worst-case scenario therefore is that you end up:
    • Starting late
    • Working late
    • Not shaving or washing
    • Working in pyjamas or ‘comfies’
    • Never going outside or exercising

Productivity hacks to work effectively

  • Eat the frog, coined by Brian Tracy this means completing your biggest and most unpleasant job first
  • Ivest in the one minute rule – finish simple tasks that will take one minute or less, immediately
  • Work by the Pomodoro technique – you can’t work for 8 hours straight, so schedule short breaks during your day and keep track of them
  • Start tomorrow’s job – if you start tomorrow’s task before you clock off, you don’t need to start it from fresh first thing tomorrow making it easier to pick up and dive back in
  • Use action lists – add anything you can’t finish to your action list and then have a scheduled time (20 minutes toward the end of the day, perhaps) to go through those items
  • Organise to-do lists – splitting your to-do lists into Urgent, Important and Pending clearly defines their priority; some Important items will pretend they are Urgent; after a week or two, decide whether anything remaining on Pending needs to be removed altogether

Optimising your work from home office

  • It should be consistently tidy
    • Use systems to keep it organised such as a tray/file system with work you are working on, work you need this week, work that you won’t need for a while but can’t dispose of, etc.
    • Go paperless where possible, think minimal clutter (and of course waste!)
    • Spend ten minutes at the end of the day completing tasks in your action list
  • It’s important for it to be comfortable,  but not too much!
    • The right temperature, lighting and décor will have a psychological effect on your body, altering your mood and ability to remain focussed
    • The right chair and desk are important to prevent strain and other more long-term physiological issues
    • If possible, having more than one place to sit and work can be an effective way to prevent health issues and also to keep things fresh mentally, so you don’t feel stagnant and trapped
  • It should be inspiring
    • Add a desktop wallpaper or keep a desktop ‘inspiration’ folder with images of people who inspire you, quotations and motivations, and examples of great work in your field
    • Keep images of your family or close friends nearby
    • Make time each day (just 5-10 minutes) to absorb your wallpaper or ‘inspiration’ folder

Make use of available technology

  • Todoist is a fantastic to-do app that will help you to set tasks and stick to them
  • Notion is an incredible note-taking software that many people describe as a ‘second brain’
  • Asana is project management for teams and can be extremely useful for larger collaborations
  • Freedom is an app that lets you block other apps and websites that take up your time
  • RescueTime lets you see how you’re spending your time throughout the day
  • The Apple Watch and similar products are surprisingly powerful productivity tools
    • You can keep your to-dos always available on your wrist
    • Quickly check notifications without getting out your phone
  • Monitor your stats (such as steps) using trackers to ensure your optimal health

Healthy daily habits at home

  • Make sure you spend at least some time outdoors
    • Vitamin D is crucial for hormone balance, mood, and sleep
  • Get some form of exercise
    • Cardio is a must, aim for at least a 30 minute walk
    • Mobility/strength training from something like yoga or calisthenics
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day, aim for a minimum of 2 litres
  • Try to get social contact
    • Images of faces on your desk can have a healthy impact, so include in your ‘inspiration’ folder
    • Even better is to meet friends for lunch, make calls, or hang out after work
  • Make sure you prioritise your sleep, aiming for a good 7 hours minimum, this should not be underestimated!
  • Create a strict and clear separation between work and home/relaxation time

Initial tips for working from home

  • Finish your work quickly so that you can end when you like
  • Create the ideal environment to work in for your sensibilities, removing distractions
  • Spend more time with the people and things you love when you’re not working
  • Use lifestyle design to choose how and when you will work

If you work from home, or are likely to in the future, introducing at least one point from each of the sections will help you on the path to becoming super productive and really effective.

What are your thoughts, what points will you introduce?
Or have we missed anything, is there a super hack we’ve missed?
Let us know today!

#418makesithappen #wellbeing #workingfromhome #workfromhome

Russ Keyte

Author Russ Keyte

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