Congratulations you’ve convinced your boss to let you work from home, or you’ve got your own business so needs must. Just think of all those hours you’ve just freed up not needing to commute in traffic or squashed up against other commuters on public transport.
But beware this is a double-edged sword, you need to prove your productivity won’t drop off a cliff. This requires some pre-planning for those of you that are new to working from home.
Productivity & setting yourself up for success
First things first, to keep your productivity high and your interruptions low, you need a separate and dedicated work space (preferably with a door) to shut away dishes and laundry. But you also need to get yourself mentally in the game, this means getting dressed (its a myth that everyone who works from home does it in their PJs) and setting a routine or habit (doing the same every day).
Scheduling your work hours, making time for fresh air(even if its a quick walk around the block for an afternoon coffee) and knowing when to turn off (don’t jeopardise your work-life balance, remember you’re working from home to improve it)are all part of it. But why keep routine hours you ask?
Well as Jim Ryan says:
“Motivation is what gets you started. But habit is what keeps you going”
With habit keeping that routine motoring, you’re less likely to depend on motivation (which can slip we’ve all had those well-meaning new years resolutions) but doing something every day is the key. There are also techniques you can use to keep yourself focused, one is the Pomodoro time management technique. It simply breaks your day into 25-minute blocks followed by a 5-minute break; after 4 blocks you take 15 minutes. It’s based on the idea that frequent breaks improve mental agility and productively over the course of a day/week.
What about your workspace?
We talked about having a separate area, but what does your workspace look like? You want it to be comfortable but not messy, clean but not sterile, plus there’s no harm in having a few gadgets that excite and keep you happy.
But first things first, you need a good chair if you’re going to spend 5 + hours in it every day(your back will thank you later). Then a sturdy desk nothing too fancy as long as it gets the job down. Now your computer, that’s important, if work isn’t providing you with one, do your research, you need one that’s fast and powerful.
Tech and Security
Once you have your computer the next the question is “is it secure?” That means having an antivirus to protect your computer(s) from worms or viruses, then a VPN to protect your browsing history (don’t rely on free ones, it could get messy).
You can quickly make sure you’re securely browsing via HTTPS (HTTP is unsecured) by trying HTTPS Everywhere, protecting you from active attacks or traffic analysis.
Working from home is great, no boss over your shoulder, you own your own day, day deciding what to do next. But that’s the crux you have to decide what to do next. Don’t let that little devil on your shoulder have their way, or you could lose hours liking memes on Facebook or cat videos on Youtube. So what do you do? There’s good old self-discipline and if the fear of not being able to pay rent isn’t enough to motivate you, there are plenty of Apps to keep you focussed like Momentum and Freedom (which will allow you to block or restrict your internet access).
End of your day
Once its time to finish up for the day, give your workspace a quick tidy, it will help you face it tomorrow if it’s neater.
Now its time socialise after a day in solitude make the effort. So if you live alone go to the gym, socialise with friends or use meetup but if you have housemates or family enjoy chatting about their day.