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Time-Saving Tips For Working From Home

Time-Saving Tips For Working From Home

Often, circumstances don’t allow some people to leave their homes for eight hours or more a day. Things such as mobility of the disabled and parents taking care of children because of the rising costs of child care play a role in people just not having time to spend away from home. Wouldn’t a remote or work-from-home position suit you more if you weren’t able to drive to an office every day? More companies than ever before are offering this option to workers.

This list of companies offering remote positions is not sparse. Technology created by these companies allows them to keep track of their employees even when they aren’t in an office. Big tech companies like Dell, IBM, and even Amazon offer positions that you can do from home. Many more are on the list that you might recognize: American Express, Intuit, Cybercoders, and even the U.S. Department of Agriculture offer positions you can do at home or on a farm.

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While working at home can be a convenient option, it can come with distractions that you wouldn’t have to deal with in an office setting. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your time while working from home.

Put The Phone Down

You have to limit your social time. Yes, you can take breaks like you normally would, but here at home you need to realize that you can get a lot of work done and still have time for other things. If you have children to care of or just want to relax more, then you might want to shut all social media and similar things out of your work time. If your job is to run a social media page, then you can’t shut the social off, but you can keep off your personal account.

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Take Advantage Of Having Your Home Be Your Work Setting

Your boss probably wouldn’t allow you to play loud music or listen to an audiobook while working. Yes, you may be allowed headphones, but this isn’t the same. If you work better with a soundtrack, you are free to do so. Also, take advantage of your coffee maker and drinks that aren’t $5.00 apiece — no need to run out to Starbucks two times a day. And if you want to make something to eat, you can do that whenever you want. Make your own lunch time.

Let Your Family Know That This Time To Work Is Your Time

People may want you to do things with them because you are home. Children, spouses, significant others — they will all want your attention. Make a space for you and give yourself the privacy that you need to work. Sometimes you can’t get this in an office either. Make rules regarding your time and remember that you can always hang out with your family and friends later.

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Take A Nap

Nothing says refreshed like taking a nap in the middle of the day, and depending on your job, you can do this with ease. Most remote positions have flexible hours because of the nature of the job. These companies understand your plight and want to help. If you own your own business, then what are you waiting for? This freedom should be exercised with caution — if you are the sole proprietor of your company, there’s no one to encourage you to get back to work.

After you have exercised your freedom, make sure to then exercise your brain and get to work. By working smart and not hard, you can work rapidly and efficiently. This will mean big dividends and more time for yourself. The key is not getting stuck doing the same thing over and over. Your routine should be set, but if you’re doing the same thing over and over, you aren’t learning anything.

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Remember To Keep Networking

Whether you like to go fast and trade stocks, code like a maniac at home, or you enjoy painting in your own studio, you still work from home. Some people don’t get the objectivity they need without another person’s opinion. You will often have contacts outside your home office/studio still, and you should utilize these frequently. Networking is a key factor to success, so network as much as possible, but also as little as you want.

Featured photo credit: Blue from Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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