7 Ways To Work From Home More Effectively

7 Ways To Work From Home More Effectively

More people are foregoing a lengthy commute and working from home. Whether you are a full-time freelancer or the occasional telecommuter, working outside an office can be a challenge. What are the best ways to set yourself up for success?

How do you stay focused and productive? And how do you keep your work life separate from your home life?

1. Show Up: Get Dressed For Work

Not in the office and not going to see any colleagues today? Are you only ever dressing to impress them? No, you dress to impress yourself each and every morning, so just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you have to let your hair down 24/7.

Take pride in your appearance, shower, get dressed and put on something you’d wear to work so that you feel that once you’re dressed and ready to start that you’re in work mode. When your working day is done, by all means switch back to your comfiest clothing, and that’s actually a really great activity that punctuates work finishing and free time beginning. It may seem a little obvious, but just like a ‘soft’ office, ‘soft’ or slouchy clothing may actually prove inefficient and hamper productivity in the long run.

2. Communicate (And Socialize) With Coworkers

Video conferences are extremely helpful with planning projects and answering questions remotely. Beyond making your work easier, talking to your coworkers over video or in group chats can give you some of the social experience you are missing when at home. Frequent communication is important for both your productivity and your well-being.

3. Tick Off Timelines

Stick to your working times, whether you’re doing the same hours as you did in the office or you’re working to a new schedule, the bottom line is: stick to your schedule. That means setting alarms and getting up and getting out of bed, following your normal daily routine, as much as possible. Hitting ‘snooze’ for an hour more and then racing out of bed to make that conference call is not a great way to work, neither is getting up at midday and working right through ’til 10pm delaying your entire work day.

Be disciplined and stick to your timings, just like you would in the office. Worth remembering too, when it’s time to ‘clock off’, clock off; don’t allow your work to bleed into your free, personal time.

4. Take A Break

It’s easy to lose track of time and work throughout the day, but working without a break can lead to burnout. Make sure to treat yourself to a 30-minute break every day. Eat lunch, take a quick walk to get out of the house, or just stretch and move your limbs. Keep your kids entertained and take advantage of fun specialty appliances you can only use at home, like a popcorn maker, soda maker, or snow cone machine. Taking time for yourself will help split up your day into manageable parts and make it easier to maintain focus.

5. Take Advantage Of Your Extra Time

One of the greatest benefits of not having a commute is extra time to focus on your health and home. Take advantage of this time in whatever way you see fit. Prepare a meal, fit in a morning workout, sleep an extra hour, or get some chores done.
Keep regular hours. It’s easy to fall into unusual working hours when working from home. Try to stick to your regular schedule; it will make it easier for coworkers to reach you and for you to monitor how much time you spend working. Don’t overwork yourself unnecessarily just because you’re saving commuting time, and don’t take off early either (except for special occasions).

6. Beware Of Distractions

Being at home surrounded by distractions is going to be testing. That laundry basket piling up in the corner, those stains on the table that you never got around to deep cleaning, having an hour-long chat with a neighbor in the hallway or taking two hours to go to the gym because ordinarily you never get to go when there’s daylight –– all of these things, and more, will creep into your mind as potential activities to distract you from work. Fight past these, and the hundreds of other things that may crop up at home. Limit these to your free time, away from work.  

7. List It. Tick It Off

Managing your workflow can be a difficult task at the best of times, but a great way to organize yourself is to write out your tasks for each day. Invest in a little whiteboard and some wipe-off pens that can represent your ‘daily tasks’ board. Create a hierarchy of tasks, from most pressing and important (or daunting) at the top, that you tackle first thing, right down to the more menial, non-essential tasks that you’d like to get done in one day. As you achieve each one, tick it off or strike it through, then at the end of the day see what you’ve achieved. Not only is this wonderful for demonstrating the breadth of progress you’ve made but it also organizes and focuses you.

Before finishing up for the day, your final task should be to look at your board or list and wipe away the tasks you’ve completed. Any left unfinished move to top priority for the next day, so you’re already setting yourself up for tomorrow’s workload. Managing your workflow will make your home office experience seamless.