Working from home is an absolute privilege, one that many people around the world will never experience.
Think about it: you can keep up with your daily work tasks and keep earning a good living, right from the comfort of your own home!
Unfortunately, that “comfort” part is often our downfall…
The sad truth is that working from home is often a lot harder than we realize. There are countless distractions to pull us away from our tasks, and it’s so much easier to waste time when you are not in the confinement of your office.
In the end, it comes down to our dedication and productivity to make sure we get things done!
If you’re working home office for the foreseeable future, here are some ways that you can increase your performance and maximize your work hours:
Get up early. That’s right, the earlier you get out of bed, the more productive time you’ll have during the day!
Unless you’re a night owl who can work into the wee hours of the morning, you’re most likely to be at your sharpest between 8 AM and noon. Your mind is clear, you’re fresh off a night of rest, and you’re revitalized for the day ahead.
So that’s when you should be getting your work done!
Get out of bed early—or at your usual time—and get to work while your brain is fresh. Set a two- or three-hour work slot first thing in the morning. You’ll find you can get a whole lot done during that time while most of the rest of the world is asleep!
Dress for work. It may sound silly, but getting dressed in your work clothes is an absolutely vital part of your daily work routine. Keeping up with that routine at home will help you get in the “work mindset” even if you’re at home.
You don’t have to go full suit and tie, but a collar shirt with work pants and shoes are a good idea. Dress professionally to work from home—the “where” won’t matter, but you’ll feel more professional because you look the part.
Plan out your day. Because you don’t have a daily commute, you’ve got a bit more time in your day to fit in work. That means you’ve got to be more on top of your schedule than ever!
When you had to drive into work, you knew what time you had to leave to get to the office in time, and what time you’d get home after a long day at the office. Now that you’ve got all that extra time, there’s going to be a very strong temptation to relax and take it easier.
Don’t fall into that trap! Craft a schedule that helps you to maximize your added “downtime”, but which still involves your regular amount of work. Make sure your schedule includes time for breakfast, lunch, coffee breaks, a walk around the block, and other things that will help you to relax, but stick with a structured work schedule as rigidly as you would your work schedule at the office.
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Find peace and quiet. Noise, distractions, and movement are going to make it very hard to focus. It’s absolutely vital that you find somewhere that is both peaceful and quiet to get your work done.
If you’re a parent, that is often very much easier said than done. Even more so if you live in a home that doesn’t have an additional room or extra space to convert into a home office.
But, as much as possible, try to find a place where you won’t be distracted, and where there’s not a lot of noise to shatter your concentration. Even if you have to work in your bedroom, it’s worth it to get that focused, quality time to maximize productivity.
Set a daily goal. Maybe it’s to complete “X task” before logging off for the day, or to push a specific project a specific percentage toward completion. Perhaps it’s a time goal where you work a certain number of hours before taking a break or closing down for the night.
Whatever the goal is, set it and work until you reach it. Just like you would at your regular office, having something to work toward is the best way to make sure you actually keep working.
Leave the easy stuff for later. For most people, mornings are the time when they’re at their most productive. They’re fresh off a night’s sleep, loaded up with a healthy breakfast and coffee, and their energy “tank” is full.
The morning is the time when you knock out all of the harder tasks, the ones that require more brainpower and focus.
When you get a bit tired later in the day, you’ll find it’s much harder to remain concentrated on those more demanding, intense tasks. That’s when you should do the easy stuff: answering your emails, placing phone calls, or doing busy work.
Schedule breaks. It may sound silly, but it absolutely works!
Think about your regular day at the office: you know when you’ve got a lunch break coming up, so you focus more on your work the rest of the time. You’ve got an idea of how many coffee breaks you can take during the work day, so you fit them into your work schedule.
Do the same with your work at home. Structure your day to include breaks. Not only will this help you to work harder during the “on” times, but you’ll relax more when you’re “off” because you know you will get or have gotten your work done.
You’ll find it’s much easier to be productive during your work time when you know you’ve got a break coming up soon!
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