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It is a dream of almost every aspiring professional to work for a leading company at its office premises. But there does exist a sizeable section of the workforce which prefers to work from home. As a matter of fact, it has been revealed that working from home makes one more productive, more environment-friendly and reduces the stress levels.
However, there is a flip-side too. Even though working from home gives you a free hand to do whatever you like throughout the day as long as you are delivering the work on time, there are tons of distractions, and there's no one to tell you what to do and what not to do. While having a commanding manager or boss over your shoulder can be a little irritating at times, not having one can also affect the productivity to a great extent. If you don't want your superiors to question your ability to work from home you need to be your own manager (or perhaps your own boss) to ensure you deliver what you are assigned to do effectively.
More often than not, people forget the fact that working from home is still all about working. No matter how liberating it may feel, you are still obligated to deliver the assigned task. Here are few guidelines that may help you to be productive while working remotely.
Working from home won't be fruitful if you are spending a considerable amount of time doing insignificant things. Well, yes, you have the liberty to work whichever way you like while working from home, but what is the point of that freedom if you are ultimately failing to deliver? The subheading might sound a little bit dramatic, but it is important to determine what keeps you from doing your work in order to overcome those roadblocks. Here are a few examples that you may relate to.
If you have a child needs your attention quite frequently, you may fail to deliver the task-in-hand within the deadline. Hire a babysitter or a governess for the day, so that you won’t have to check on the baby regularly.
I know it can be really hard for a fan to hold himself back when the latest episode of his favourite TV show is out. But it is absolutely unacceptable to sacrifice your working hours on some TV series while your work is still pending. As a professional, you work is more important than the fate of Westeros. First, finish your work! The new episode can wait.
While working from home, you may feel that it is okay to take a short nap in between your work, but a five-minute nap can turn into a three-hour-long snooze which you cannot afford if you have plenty of work due. Again, finish your work first, and then reward yourself with a nap.
Have you noticed? When you have some work in hand, everything else seems more interesting than the work. It can happen time and again, especially, when you are working from home. The thought of enjoying the beauty of mother nature through the window may seem pleasing at that moment, but it will be wiser if you just concentrate on the work.
If you are going to work from home on a regular interval or if your home is your workspace, you better prepare a proper workstation first. Tucking yourself in a beanbag and working on your laptop may sound comfortable, but that might not be the ideal way to do your work. Comfort is required, but shouldn’t be your priority while you’re working from home. Invest some money in setting up a proper workstation. Here are some suggestions on which you can invest if working from home is a regular affair for you.
For a workstation, you require a real work desk. That crooked table you had in your room may seem okay for performing ordinary tasks, but if your room becomes your office quite regularly, it is wiser to invest on a good-looking, professional desk along with a real office chair to work comfortably on the task.
Upgrade Your Gadgets
Invest some considerable amount of money on the electronic devices which help you work on the assigned tasks. The first thing that you need to upgrade is your laptop. Buy a laptop with a higher configuration to do all the professional work. Also accessorize your laptop with a sturdy laptop stand, wireless keyboard, and some great pair of speakers and webcam (if you need to do an online conference).
Accessorize Your Desk
If you are going to set up a workstation, better make it right. Arm yourself with all the accessories that you may require for your work. A pen cup, sticky notes, charger, even a mouse pad – whichever seems important to your work, just buy them and keep them on your desk so that you can access those whenever you want.
Since you are staying at home, it may occur to you that everything is in your favour. You don't need to spend half an hour on the commute, you can work comfortably from your room, and once you are done with the work, you can do whatever you feel like. Once you start feeling too comfortable about the whole thing that is when procrastination hits you. You may think there's no harm in spending a minute or two on the social media in between your work, but that one or two minute of internet surfing may lead to hours of procrastination for you.
When you are working from home, there are high chances that you may take a break and relax for few minutes every now and then, assuming that you have enough time in hand. In reality, you are actually wasting your precious time doing nothing. Procrastination won’t help you finish your work on time. So buckle up and use your time smartly. Time management is the key to productivity. So instead of taking meaningless breaks, fix a schedule and give yourself small deadlines for every segment of work.
If you are going to “have work from home” quite regularly from now on, it is better to discipline yourself for the job. As mentioned before, the work is your priority. So plan your day around it. You can do everything else once the day’s work is finish. "Work from home" is still a "work", so treat it the way you treat your work on a regular day at the office.
Isolate yourself from the distractions. Setting up the workstation may help you get the office-type feeling at home which is why it was important to create one in the first place. It is also crucial to remind yourself about the pending work from time to time since you are your own boss in this case.
Procrastination can hit you anytime, and you may not even realize it. The good thing about working from home is that there's no other person to distract you. On the flipside, the bad thing about working from home is that there's no one to remind you that you're lagging behind. So how would you know if you are working at the right speed or losing your valuable minutes procrastinating? A schedule may help you measure that.
As mentioned earlier, having a schedule and fixing deadlines for every segment of your work can be quite effective when you are attending your work from home. In fact, a schedule can be a useful tool whether you are working from your home or attending your office like a regular office-goer. In both the cases, a schedule can organize your entire day’s work and help you keep track of your progress from time to time.
It is quite uncomfortable to work continuously even if you are working from home. Taking a 5-minute break after every thirty minutes of continuous work can relax your mind for a bit and help you become more productive. Don’t confuse these breaks with meaningless ones. These are planned breaks which improve productivity. In fact, these breaks are a part of your schedule which helps you to manage your time effectively. So instead of taking random breaks, schedule your breaks according to your work which will break the monotony every now and them and help you complete your work efficiently.
Schedules are nothing but to-do lists with some deadlines on them. There's no need to take the entire day's workload from the beginning. Instead, take one step at a time and make sure you are finishing every task on or before the fixed deadline. This will not only help you to finish your work on time but will also offer you some "me time" in the form of small breaks.
Start your day on a high note
You may not be aware of the fact, but morning does show the day. Whether you are working from home or have a 9 to 5 office job to attend, it is important to have an effective morning routine to jumpstart your day. A great morning routine sets the tone for your work. Wake up early, go out for a walk or go to the gym, drink a cup of coffee, and make your plans for the day.
While some may think it is insignificant, studies have shown positive effects of good morning routine on a person's overall productivity. Also, take a shower, have your breakfast, and no matter how tempting it may seem to hang out in pyjamas, get dressed. It's more of a psychological thing. When you are working in your pyjamas, it subconsciously signals your brain that you are relaxing. This may encourage you to procrastinate which you cannot afford while working at home. There's a myth that all freelancers work in their pyjamas. On the contrary, most people working from their home get dressed for the day.
Getting dressed is as important as getting a workstation set up at your home. It helps you to get disciplined, and it has a psychological effect on your brain that allows you to be productive at your work. When you are diligent and disciplined, it reflects on your work as well.
Apart from these aforementioned suggestions, there are several other things that can help you excel at working from home.
You won’t be able to reach your clients or connect with your employers over the Skype or other video-conferencing tools if your house doesn’t have a strong WiFi signal. The Internet is a quintessential tool in today's world, and when you are working from home, it is also the medium of communication for you. Equip your home with high-speed internet and complement it with some powerful WiFi devices to get the optimum output.
You must have heard about the term “work environment” which is apparently one of the several elements that affect one’s productivity at work. Just because you are working from your home, doesn't necessarily mean you'll receive a better work environment than an office. More often than, home workers find it quite difficult to concentrate on their work as there are too many distractions at their home. It can be your neighbours who are noisier than they should be, it can be the depressing view outside your house that affects one’s psychology, or it can be your annoying family members who create distraction whenever you decide to work from home. As mentioned before, isolate yourself from the distractions. You can cover your windows with blinders and choose a place for your work which is quieter than the other rooms. You can also decorate your workspace in a way that helps your productivity. Motivational quotes or a picture of something that you dream about (a bike, a car, or a trip to somewhere) can help you make your work environment better.
There are few activities that can help you increase your productivity while working at home. We have already mentioned how a good morning routine can be effective for you. Well, there are several other activities that can improve your work. For instance listening to music. While some prefer absolute silence to concentrate, some work better when they are listening to music.
While working for a couple of hours straight you may feel a little hungry. That does not mean you should leave your work and go to the food joint across the road for a meal or spend a good 30 minutes on preparing a killer snack. Time is precious, and so is food. So instead of getting up and spending some time in getting the snack, sit down at your workstation with some healthy snacks. Juice, slices of fruits and vegetables, and some coffee can be kept near your workstation. And you can eat them whenever you like without wasting too much time. You’ll obviously need a lunch break. You’ll have to place the lunch break in your schedule accordingly.
By exercising these suggestions, you can certainly ace working from home. As a professional, your work is your priority. So whether you are working from home or having a regular day at the office, you need to be productive in both the cases. So make your best effort to deliver your tasks on time, and employ those aforementioned tips to ensure a high level of efficiency at work.
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