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Effectively Working From Home

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More and more people are working from home. Some are full time from a home office and some are only working one day per week at home. The flexibility and changing work culture have made this option very attractive (no commute, work in your pjs, deal with sick kids or snow days). Effectively working from home is a big challenge.  It can be tough to find the uninterrupted time you need to complete your work. The best way to be successful and productive at home is being organized and setting clear expectations.

In an office setting, noise and periodic distractions are built in. A colleague will stop in your office to ask about a project. You will have a meeting with your team. At home, the distractions are more random and often it is more difficult to manage them.

On the other side, for some, it is too quiet. They can’t think and be productive without the accountability of other people around and the white noise of an office setting. You can build in some distractions by taking regular breaks and making or returning phone calls. Creating a good structure for your day will help you to keep focus in your work and manage your time efficiently.

Here are some tips:
1. Set up a good workspace. Be aware that lighting, noise, being able to close a door, a comfortable chair and ergonomic set up are all going to impact your productivity. Remember that this is going to be the place you will spend most of your day and it needs to fit to all your needs.
2. Avoid Shiny Squirrels.  Dishes, laundry, ringing phones, message/email notifications are all things that can instantly pull your attention away from a task. Just like when you are walking outside, past a window or driving in your car and a squirrel jogs by. You ALWAYS look at the squirrel. How distracting this tiny animal can be in our lives? That’s what I call “Shiny Squirrels”, anything that distracts us easily.
3. Set up time blocks. Plan your day and try not to sit for hours. The average person has a maximum attention span of 20 minutes for a single task, so set a timer and take small breaks to check on your email, social media, talk to a family member, get up and move around. This will allow you to refocus on the task and be more productive than forcing yourself to work until a task is completed.
4. Embrace technology and use it in your benefit. Talk with a headset, so you can walk around. Use shared online calendars with your partner to keep your lives organized. Use a time tracking app to see where you spend your time during the day and add in some accountability.
5. Set expectations for family members. A clear and honest conversation is the only way to start. Your kids, parents or spouse will be more tempted to talk to you and share a special moment when you are so close. It is essential to set rules and even signs on your office door (WORKING–KEEP OUT) especially if you have kids. My kids know that closed office door means I am working, they may knock, but if I don’t answer, they can’t come in. Remember that’s this is a process and a new routine for both sides.
6. Plan your tasks for when your brain is in the right mode. Most people don’t pay attention to when they are most focused, creative, energetic or tired during the day and plan their tasks accordingly. Personally, I am more focused first thing in the morning, so I try to schedule those tasks (accounting, budgeting, invoicing) as early in the day as possible. I am more creative in the afternoon, so it is better for me to schedule my writing time then.

Being organized and setting clear expectations will help you enjoy all the perks of working from home while minimizing the frustrations. You will get more done in less time just by eliminating the commute. You can now spend your “found” time with your family, on self-care or just relaxing with a good book.

If you liked today’s post, you’re welcome to use it in your own newsletter or blog as long as you include the following blurb: Tara Rudo, Life Strategist, helps working moms and families focus on what’s important. Get our FREE weekly tips and advice at www.NoMorePiles.com.

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