It can be difficult to work efficiently from home, especially if you aren’t used to it. As someone who has worked from home for more than a decade, I can tell you that sticking to a routine and knowing what works best for you is difficult. It takes discipline, willpower, and a certain mindset in order to make it work day after day.
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After years of working for myself and being self-employed, I have developed routines and processes that keep me focused and motivated. Although it took time and effort, now I can bring my best to work.
These top tips can help you get the most out of working at home
- Get ready for the day
If you are anything like me, the mental association between getting ready for work and feeling productive is not to be underestimated.
Even though I know I won’t have to go to work, I still get ready for work by getting into the mindset of the job.
Work from home? Follow the same routine as if you were going to work. You should set your alarm for the same time every morning. Have a cup of coffee or breakfast, then get ready for work.
- Plan Your Day
You might feel a bit lost if you have never worked remotely before. To do this, I recommend that you set aside work hours and use to-do lists. To plan your day, use a calendar. Include when you will be working and taking breaks. Next, make a list of all the tasks you intend to accomplish in a given day.
You’ll probably add or subtract items from your to-do lists as the day progresses, but nothing is more motivating than seeing the tasks that you need to complete and then actually crossing them off.
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- A dedicated work space
Although I find it easy to work in the area I am most comfortable in (it changes almost daily), having a desk and dedicated workspace is a great way to increase productivity and keep a positive outlook on my work.
My workspace has a desk, printer and files. I also have everything I need for office supplies. My workspace is also bright and clean. I keep myself motivated and happy by including lots of mementos.
- Use a calendar
In addition to what I mentioned above about structuring your days, I also love to use calendars or planners to organize my weeks and months. There are tons of free online calendars. To help me stay on track in my work, I set both short- and long-term goals. Even if you don’t usually use calendars or day planners, it is worth a try.
- Keep Focused, Take a Break
This tip is applicable to all types of work, whether you are working remotely or at home. Staying focused and taking regular breaks will make a big difference in your productivity.
You can do this by removing all distractions, including your phone and social media. Then work hard for a set period. Take a break at the end. You can read, meditate, stretch, exercise or play with your children. Or, you can have lunch with your partner.
You don’t have to be a control freak if you aren’t good at self-control. There are website blockers and the StayFocused Chrome extension that can help! To help me stay on track, I use timers throughout the day to know when I should start and when I should stop.
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- Use music and scents
You may find it difficult to focus on your task while working remotely. I suggest trying different music and scents.
Music is my passion. I enjoy listening to instrumental music that I have never heard before. Although it may sound odd, when I get really into a song my mind tends not to go in the same direction as work. It is possible to have background music without becoming too involved with it.
Studies have shown that scents play an important role in moods. We can use this advantage to our advantage. One example is lavender, which is known to calm the mind, and mint, which helps us stay alert and focused.
Light any oil-diffusers, candles, or incense that you have in your home to help you stay in the zone when you work from home.
- Communicate with others at home
You might find yourself working remotely but still need to be in the office.
No matter if it’s your spouse, children, friends, or roommates; let everyone know what your work schedule is and when you can be alone or quiet.
- Keep Active
It doesn’t matter if you work from home or at the office, it can be difficult to keep your blood flowing and muscles active. It’s a known fact that prolonged sitting is bad for our health. If you work from home, make sure to take regular movement breaks.
You can do this by getting out your yoga mat, stretching, and doing a mid-day exercise. Or setting a timer on the phone to walk around your home every hour. If you have the option to use a standing desk at home, you should. They are available at different prices and will greatly improve your circulation.
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- Enjoy Social Time
Working from home does not have to be lonely. While you are taking breaks, try to visit the people in your home. If you live alone, you can make phone and video calls with your loved ones.
Talking to and seeing other people throughout the day, regardless of whether it’s work-related or non-work related, will give your brain some rest and help you feel more motivated and focused when you return to your task.