Break up your time into a 25-minute time frame, put a timer on your phone! 25 minutes of work, 5-10 minutes of relaxation, “me time”.
Make time for yourself, when you are pushing and straining yourself to the point of pain STOP. Make time for yourself, take a break, and reboot and regenerate your brain. Allowing yourself to clear the mind and start with a clean, well-rested slate, will allow you to work much more efficiently.
Define your spaces; separate work from home. Have a room dedicated to working. Don’t do it wherever you happen to be. Set aside some space, preferably a room (it doesn’t have to be big) to be your workspace. That way, when you enter it, you know consciously what you’re there to do: go to work. It changes the state of mind from “I’m at home” to “I’m at work”.
Set regular hours, and stick to the schedule. Stick to routines. Set morning routines, work routines, self-care routines, night routines to make it feel like a productive spaced out day even though you are at home.
Don’t stay in pajamas! Instead, have breakfast, have a shower, get dressed. Then make a list of sensible tasks for the day and get started!
Close the door. If the door is open, that represents something to you, and to your family. To you, it represents the idea that if it’s a bit tough, or you don’t feel like working today, you don’t have to. To people you live with, it represents the idea that your roommate can go and start talking to you and interrupt your work. Let people around you know you’re working and are busy. Let them know your “work” time frame and when you do not want to be disturbed.
Keep your desk and general work area tidy. (If that works for you!) A tidy workspace helps keep a tidy mind, which helps make your day more productive. (If you like messy and it works for you then be messy though! We are all different.)
Turn off the phone and the notifications! Turn off ALL notifications. Putting your phone to airplane mode is a great way to do this. In general, it is great to turn your notifications off all the time. The noise and distractions the cleared our mind is to focus on the important things in life.
Don’t stop working if it’s a hard day. There’ll be times when you haven’t got any ideas, or just don’t feel productive. Train yourself to do some work anyway. It’s a shortfall from “It’s just not happening at the moment” to “It’s a bit tough, I’ll stop for the day”. Next thing you know, you never seem to get anything done. Train yourself to be productive by getting into the routine. It is easy to give up while at home, do not get into that routine.
Keep three lists of three. The first list has three things you will do today. The second is three things you’d like to get done, but aren’t essential. The third is three things that need to be done at some point. That way, when you’ve trogged through your day’s work, you don’t end up sitting twiddling your thumbs.
Start the day properly. Have a good breakfast, spend some time alone to just sit and do whatever. Relax, let your mind wander. Have a good morning routine you enjoy. Just make sure that your mind isn’t in the “I hate working” frame of mind!
Have a good chair! A good comfy leather one perhaps! It’s worth spending some money on. Being comfortable at your home office is essential for productivity as well as physical health!
Keep a notepad and pencil nearby. Jot down ideas for blog posts, projects, anything that springs to mind. Look at it twice a week to refresh your mind of things that could be done sometime. Some of the best work you’ll ever do will come from random bits of inspiration!
Give yourself breaks. Don’t be locked in the room all the time. For every hour you work, have a 15-30 minute break. Or 25-minute full work mode and 5 minutes break. Whatever works best for you! Give your mind time to digest what it has just done, then come back. You’ll improve the quality of what you produce!
Don’t go back to work when you’ve finished. Had a great idea for a post? Fantastic, write down the basics on a note and pin it up. Don’t go back to work when you’ve finished! Also, LEARN WHEN TO STOP! Don’t work late into the night. Set defined times when you’re going to work, and then when it passes, stop. You can have a bit of leeway here, but make sure that you don’t end up letting work run your life.
Schedule, if possible, around your natural schedule. Some people peak in the morning, others in the afternoon, still others at the witching hour.
Have a bottle of water by your desk all the time. Try and work up to drinking a few pints a day!
Be careful what music you listen to while you work. Music, TV, the weather… Just about everything will influence your mood. Make sure that you surround yourself with things that will give you the best frame of mind for whatever you’re about to do. That includes your environments set up!
No turning on the computer for a quick email check or to do 1 little thing until you’ve gotten “ready for work” as mentioned above. The nuance is if you have nowhere to be, that 1 little thing leads to showering at 2 in the afternoon with a splitting headache because you’ve forgotten to eat, etc. Stay on a focused track with a defined line in the sand between the two.
Don’t work an eight hour day. One reader works about 5 hours, in four blocks of an hour, with a 20-minute gap between each. If you do more than that, your attention might start to wander, you’ll be restless and your work won’t have its normal level of quality.
Designate certain days for certain work. For example: file everything on Friday afternoon, no later than Saturday morning. This allows you to walk out of your office for your “weekend” without feeling like you left work unfinished.
Sound Canceling Headphones and blue light blocking glasses. Seriously useful!
Pay attention and add up the hours you worked for. You are less inclined to watch television when you realize how much it can cost you to mess around. Put a reminder that “work NOT done = no money”.
Have a good HEALTHY lunch. One reader suggested that something with good carb content works best. Puts you in the mood for the second half of the day.
Don’t allow work to consume your life. Easier said than done when working from home. Make sure you set limits for the amount of time you will work.
Make time for people. When people ask, give them what you can. Respond in some way to every email. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to get around to it. You don’t have to reply to that day. Just make sure you do. It matters.
Say thank you a lot. Make sure you are reminded that you should be grateful that you get to work from home. This is a blessing if you can have the discipline to be successful with it!
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