The opportunity to work from home is great—it allows you more flexibility, gives you greater control over your work-life balance, and keeps you from spending hours in your car commuting to the office. With modern communications technologies that allow you to work like you would in the office, it seems like a no-brainer to spend a day or two each week working remotely.
In theory, working from home is a dream come true. But in practice, it can be hard to accomplish your work when there is laundry to be folded, dishes to be washed, and kids to be picked up from school. With so many distractions and no one breathing down your neck, it’s easy to see why hours of productivity can get lost when employees work from home. That said, when employees are disciplined, remote work can result in greater productivity and increased happiness. Use these tips to set you up for success when working from home.
- Follow Your Normal Routine
Just because you don’t have to commute into the office does not mean that you should sleep in for an extra hour. Stay motivated for the day by following your normal routine, whatever it may be. Wake up on time, go the gym, shower, take the kids to school… do what you normally do so it feels like any other day at the office.
- Define Your Work Space
When you work from home, define where you will be working and try to use that space only for work. If possible, use an extra room for a home office. If that’s not possible, consider getting a desk for your living room, or even setting up an extra monitor on your kitchen table. Wherever you choose, make sure it is a place where you can get work done—not one that encourages you to procrastinate in front of the TV.
- Try the Pomodoro Technique
Trying to stay focused for eight hours when there are so many distractions can be difficult, but what if you only had to stay focused for 25 minutes? Seems much more manageable, right? With the Pomodoro technique, this is all that is required—set a timer for 25 minutes and work on a task for that entire time, with zero distractions. When that 25 minutes is up, take a quick five-minute break for more coffee or to switch over a load of laundry. Using this method all day means that you focus for extended periods of time, while still taking breaks as to recharge.
- Download SelfControl
We’ve all been there… mindlessly scrolling on Facebook instead of working on the project that is due by the end of the day. Eliminate distractions for however long you need with an app like SelfControl. Simply download it (or a similar one) to your desktop, put all the websites you wish to avoid on the “black list,” and set the timer for however long you need to concentrate. You’ll no longer be able to access Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, or any of the other websites you use to procrastinate, meaning that you’ll have fewer ways to waste time.
- Set a Deadline
Knowing that you have all day to finish a project often means that you procrastinate by answering emails, working on less urgent tasks, or even watching Netflix. There’s something about working from home that allows you to think that you have until 9:00 p.m. to work, when really, you still want to be done when the clock hits 5:00. If you find yourself procrastinating while working from home, try scheduling each hour of your day so you know exactly what you need to be working on when.