Things to Do to be productive
By Manolis Zografakis
Working from home might sound like paradise, but if you aren’t the work-conscious, determined and focused type you will definitely face some productivity issues. We do get it- you feel like you’re at home, ‘cause you are at home! So whenever you get hungry you will pop up to the kitchen and eat whatever you find in front of you, you will spend half a day on Facebook chatting like you have no work to do and after eating you may take a short nap to recharge your batteries (which by the way are probably charged). Why is that? Cause you don’t have someone always on your back checking what you are doing. So if you have agreed with your boss to work some days per month from home, or you are self employed/freelancer earning money online or as an entrepreneur, follow these 5+5 tips from personal experience that will help you be more concentrated and productive when working from home.
2 important conditions that you will definitely need:
# A clean work space separated from noisy flat-mates, friends or your kids
#1 Wake up early
Pretend that you have to go to the office. Wake up the same time as usual and not a minute later. I know that you will not need to commute so why not spending a bit more time at your comfy bed right? It’s better to wake up the same time as always when you go to the office and have some time for yourself before starting working. You can check out what’s happening at your favourite blogs and websites, cook a nice breakfast and eat like a king, do some morning exercise that will bring energy and freshness to your body and soul. The idea is to do something and not spend more time in bed! Studies have shown that one simple snooze can seriously mess up your day and energy. So always keep in mind this: You snooze you lose!
#2 Have a schedule and stick to it
So you don’t like planning? Then you have to start liking it cause you ain’t getting productive without a schedule. It can be good to spend some time in the morning while you drink your cup of coffee/tea drawing up your schedule for the day. Think about how can you be productive during the day and visualize the perfect day. That way, when you would fall into bed at the end of the day, you’ll feel completely fulfilled! Set tasks and deadlines that will help you keep track of what you are doing and at the end of the day feel good with yourself and with what you have achieved (and enjoy a pint to celebrate the fact that you conquered your lazier side). Finally follow the same behavioral patterns that you have when at the office. If you drink 2 coffees in 8 hours of work then you should do the same if you work from home. If you eat once during lunch time then you should do the same at home, and so on and so on.
#3 Think that your boss is there, stalking at you all the time
Ok, this may sound a bit weird and spooky and you might feel a bit uncomfortable with the whole idea. However, if you have a good imagination this can totally work. By thinking that you are being watched you are more focused and you don’t check on FB and Twitter every single second for updates, cause guess what? Your boss is over your shoulder checking up on you! For those who don’t have a boss just imagine a demanding and a bit of a prick boss that will want you to finish tasks on time.
#4 Clear this to-do list
This is a motivation boost technique. So let’s assume that you have some tasks that you postpone every single day or week. It could be because you lack time, or cause you’re afraid of the results. You should keep in mind that if these tasks are important you should take them out of your to-do list asap! This way you will be less stressed, as you will have fewer tasks in your everyday schedule and in the back of your mind. At the same time you will also get free up some time for new tasks that you can take over. So, if you have a bunch of things that you SHOULD do or SHOULD have done ages ago, pick 2 from that list and add them in your daily schedule. Believe me, by doing so at the end of the day you will feel like you have done more than usual and therefore you will feel like a BOSS who would love to hire or even promote yourself!
#5 Have a timetable including a lunch break, and smaller 5-10 minute breaks
If you have a flexible schedule and you don’t need to work strictly from 9am to 5pm then you can set your own timeframe. For example, if you know that after having lunch you need at least 2 hours to get back on track and be productive then you might want to chill out for 2 hours instead of the classic 1 hour lunch break and work and finish work 1 later than usual. The good think of working from home is that you’re the master of the house, so most of the times you set the rules. However, commit yourself to specific hours the same as you do when you work at the office. So, if you normally work 8-9 hours then fix your schedule in that way that you will work the same amount of hours.
5 Extra Tips for Extra Effectiveness
Here are some more tips that will help you change your mindset and be more productive.
#1 Dress to impress (yourself)
Dress the same as you do when going to the office and don’t stay with your pajamas (if you normally wear a suit then you actually don’t need to wear the whole ‘thing’). The above mentioned tips are about changing your mindset to feel like you are at the office and be more productive. Do you often go to work with your pajamas? I don’t think so!
#2 Go get some fresh air
After having lunch get out of the house. Walk around the area, go to your local park, take some fresh air and chill a bit on a bench while watching people passing by. This will calm you down, you will feel closer to nature and you will also not feel like some cave-dwelling hermit far away from the human race.
#3 Have a chat
Working from home can make you feel lonely. Stay in touch with your colleagues through Skype or through Google chat and if you live close to the office you can also pop in during lunch time to eat together with them and have a chat.
#4 Do it as always
If you tend to bring home-made sandwiches to the office to eat in-between lunch breaks then you should do the same when working from home. Prepare the sandwich as usual, the previous night or early at the morning before starting to work.
#5 Go grab a drink to congratulate yourself
If you manage to stick to the above tips then after finishing work you need to celebrate about doing something particular and exciting! You managed to be productive while working from home and trust me, most people can’t! So go and enjoy a cold pint of beer.
5 Awesome Free Productivity Boost Apps
- Google Drive (iPhone, Android) – An online productivity suite, all in one!
- Remember the Milk (Website, iPhone, Android) – The perfect to-do list app.
- Slack (Website, iPhone, Android) – All your team communication in one place, instantly searchable, available wherever you go.
- Rescue Time (Website, Android) – Great Management software and app to track your daily performance.
- Focus Booster (Website) – A digital pomodoro timer for time tracking and effectiveness.
You may also want to check out the 5 ways to work faster.