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How to work from home and get more done

Date: 05-07-2020

Working from home has been considered a luxury in the past but its quickly becoming an option. However, it can be more productive or less depending how you behave. At the office co-workers can distract through general conversation or invitations to go to lunch. The social benefits are great but it can be a challenge. In comparison, at home the only person who can distract and reduce productivity is yourself. And, that can be equally as bad. You need rules to work by.


1. Get Up
It's so easy to have that lay-in you enjoy on a Sunday 7 days a week. Going to work there is an expectation that you are up and out to get the the office at a scheduled time. At home the transition does not have the same motivation. The trick is keep to your morning schedule. Even better get up, have a coffee and get into it. Pretend that your going into the office even if you stay in your pyjamas. Get into a regular routine. While you are having that coffee write down todays work list. Plan your day so you can tick things off as you go. 


2. Create a dedicated area
Ideally this should be a separate room. If that's not practical a designated work surface. It's not the kitchen table or the coffee table in the lounge. Those areas are associated with food and leaisure that can soon result in nibbles and afternoon TV. Close the door and eliminate distractions. The cat wanting a cuddle or the demands of children. The door is your meessage to all that 'work is in progess' and do not disturb.


3. Set Hours
it's so tempting to go for a surf or pop out to the shops, maybe even catch up with friends for brunch. You can catch up work when you get back or after dinner! Catching up into the wee hours will certainly catch up with you or the boss will come knocking wondering why you haven't got that report out. Don't do it. Set specific hours. They can still be flexible. If you like to have a couple of hours off in the afternoon compensate with other times in the day or night that suit. The trick is to be displined with 'office hours'. 


4. Remove digital distraction
Are you a facebook addict? At home no ones looking. Don't be tempted. In fact log out all your social media or better still use a browser window in incognito. This ensures you can't easily login to any of your accounts making you stay away from social distractions. Another great tip is keep your email box closed. It's a distraction at work and it will be at home. Set dedicated times to check your inbox and the rest of the time keep it closed. After each designated time, say 45mins, take a 5min break to stretch your legs, go to the bathroom, or if you have too, check your inbox.


5. Work when you are at your best 
The beauty of working from home is you can be more productive. No set work and break times imposed upon you. Everyone's motivation ebb's and flows. At work you may be physically at your work station but the brain has gone on holiday. To get around this use your most productive timers to do the hard stuff and the slower times do the stuff that you can easily tick the boxes and feel you have achieved something. Work in blocks and switch tasks to keep the work flow happening. Another trick is to set time intevals with the alarm on your phone. The secret is to work in blocks and keep crossing off those tasks.


6. Interact with people
Your at home not on Mars. You are a social animal not a robot. Interacting with people is fine partcularly if they are co-workers but friends are OK too if you fit them in around your blocks. You are not in solitary. Use Zoom or facetime to catch up with work or soicial issues but keep disciplined as if the Boss is looking over your shoulder.


7. Set a finish time
The idea that working from home can deliver a better work life balance but if you get into that work groove no distraction like work mates leaving will distract you. To stop getting caught up in your work activity set a designated time to STOP. Your partner and children will appreciate it!