Working from home has it’s advantages such as setting your own schedule, being your own boss, casual attire (or maybe no attire?!), working with your pet next to you, being able to pick up the kids from school, but there are also drawbacks. People who work from home may find that they are lonely, easily distracted or over-worked (because the work/home line is so blurred, it’s harder to “shut down”). How do you overcome this?
I went straight to the best sources, my WWW teammates, several of whom have worked from home for a decade or more. Here are our tips and strategies on how to successfully work from home and productivity hacks to help you work even smarter.
Success Strategies to Avoid Isolation
Non-work related socialization during the day is key for all of our WWW teammates. The most popular options include:
- Working outside of the house (coffee shop, library, Wi-Fi-friendly restaurant) even just for a few hours of the day
- Meeting a friend for lunch or coffee
- Going for a stroll around the neighborhood or a quick hike in the foothills
- Volunteering at our children’s school or within the community
- Going to the gym or salsa class
- Running a quick errand
- Showering, putting on makeup, and changing out of what you slept in also helps you feel “normal” even if you don’t end up leaving the house that day
Success Strategies to Avoid Distraction
There are lots of temptations when you are at home alone. Doing a load of laundry, taking (too many!) snack breaks, reading the magazine that the mailman just delivered. The bottomline is, no one is watching over your work ethic so it can be easy to get off track and stay that way. Here is how the WWW team avoids distraction:
- Keeping your office / work area tidy helps to keep the focus on work
- Calendaring work time and personal time to help stick to a schedule
- Finding your “most productive time of day” to work. For example, one of our teammates feels that the early morning is her most productive time so she rises before her family to jump start her work day.
- Naps are not just for toddlers! A quick nap (even as little as 15 minutes) can recharge your energy and focus.
- Taking breaks to move, dance, stretch, or drop into a down dog are also great ways to refresh your brain if your mind is starting to wonder at your laptop.
- Taking a “real” lunch break instead of gobbling a pre-made meal in front of the laptop. Give yourself a screen break and cook something healthy. Eating mindfully is good for your body and your brain.
Success Strategies to Avoid Over-Working
- Adopt a guilt-free attitude about working. Many of us have worked in an office and feel “guilty” when we are running an errand or going out for coffee during traditional “work hours”. If you are using an afternoon to do something personal don’t feel guilty if you’ve scheduled time elsewhere to make up for it.
- Acupuncture, weekly sessions is ideal, helps one of our teammates avoid stress related to over-working. Not only does it boost her immunity and address many ailments, it also helps her to keep her mind less scattered so she can really focus during work hours and just as easily unfocus during time off.
- When you are “out of the office”, whether it be on a vacation or out for the afternoon, truly adhere to that. It is too easy to get sucked into emails through your phone. Instead, notify your clients beforehand and enjoy your time “off”.
Productivity Hacks to Help You Work Smarter
- Most of our teammates agreed that they couldn’t live without Google calendar. They use it for work and non-work items and set up notification alerts (email and pop up) to help remind them that something is scheduled.
- Booking “open time” into your schedule / calendar is a great way to have time for unexpected events or client needs that always come up when you are at your busiest.
- Boomerang is one of our teammate’s #1 hacks to work smarter. This gives her the ability to return messages to her inbox at a certain date and time based on a variety of situations. It keeps her inbox organized, less cluttered, and doesn’t let her miss something that may need follow up at a later date.
- The Focus Keeper: Work & Study Timer app helps another teammate work smarter. While the timer is on, she knows that it is time to focus and be productive. When the timer goes off, she gets a break. This helps to avoid burnout.
- Keeping lists may seem “old school” but quite a few people on our team do this. Whether you do it with pen and paper or on a TextPad, it is a good way to see your overall task list for the day, week, and even the month. It is also very satisfying to cross out (or strike-through) the item when it is completed.
- One of our teammates said that scheduling a weeknight out – whether it be a date night with her husband, dinner with friends, or an exercise class at night – motivates her to work smarter and more productively because she has something fun mid-week to look forward to.
The Take Home Message
The work-from-home workday is all about making your work day work for you! We hope you utilize some, or all, of these tips to help make your work-from-anywhere experience wildly better. Don’t forget to drop the guilt about the traditional 8-5 “work day hours” and enjoy the fact that you have flexible freedom and an income! Happy working!