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4 Easy Ways to Avoid Procrastination When Working from Home

4 Easy Ways to Avoid Procrastination When Working from Home

I was so happy when I started my career as freelancer. I thought that this was it, that I would no longer have to get up early and that there would be no more commuting. I’ll work when I’m most productive and no one will breathe down my neck. I didn’t even imagine that working from home was very different than I thought it would be.

I can’t say that I lacked enthusiasm; I still don’t. But, soon enough, I found myself under the spell of the comforts of my home. I was postponing tasks until they HAD to be done. In the meantime, I was hunting for snacks in my kitchen, dropping on the couch “just for a second” to see what’s going on with my favorite TV show, etc. After just a few months, I was under the impression that I was working all day and I literally had no free time at all.

Then one day, it struck me. I sat down and decided to do all my day’s work in one sitting to see how much time I really spend working. I was surprised with the result. I somehow managed to turn a couple of hours’ work into a whole day of hard work. That’s when I realized I had a problem with procrastination and I decided to fight it with all I had. These are the ways that helped me stay on track and become way more efficient. If I managed to pull it off, so can you, just bear with me.

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1. Create a Home Office

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    First of all, I decided to limit the comforts of my home by turning a guest room into a small office. If you don’t have one, don’t worry, since you can use some corner that has enough light during the day. In case you are a night owl, make sure to have appropriate lighting, so that you don’t fatigue your eyes.

    I planned in advance. I always had a bottle of water with me, so I didn’t have to get up and get tempted on the way to and from the kitchen. A bowl with a couple of fruits was on the table in case I needed a quick snack before the lunch break. I got my phone with me along with the charger and set it to silent mode to prevent distractions from that side.

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    2. Get Some Productivity Software Apps to Keep You On Track

    All of my freelance gigs involve using a computer in order to complete them. Did I accidentally fall into a magical YouTube circle? Or did I maybe endlessly scroll Facebook’s newsfeed back to the year 2010? I’m guilty, your Honor, put me in jail. I’ve lost so much time doing nothing while sitting at my computer staring at nothing useful.

    I decided to make one user account on my computer that’s going to be used only for work. Also, I made one browser only to be used when I’m working. Now, all I can see are job-related bookmarks and tabs. Furthermore, I did some research and found out some extensions that can really help anyone stay focused.

    Just to make sure that I stay productive, I’ve decided to spice it up with time-tracking software. There are many time-tracking tools, such as Toggl, Tick and RescueTime. In the end, I found that using these apps is very useful, because they also generate a report so that I could easily track my work.

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    3. Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize

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      This proved to be an essential thing to do when I waged my war on procrastination. Many of my freelance gigs didn’t have “actual” deadlines. What I actually did before was governed by the following thoughts: “Oh, cool, I don’t have to get this done by tomorrow, I have enough time.” And then, when that tomorrow came, I had to complete many “tomorrow” tasks in just one day. Staying up late working often resulted in poor quality jobs and sometimes I didn’t even manage to finish everything on time.

      That’s when I actually got myself a board I could attach stickers to and I put it on the wall in front of me. I started organizing tasks in timetables and figured out that there is a reason why we had one back in my ex workplace. This helped me get back into the routine and I started taking my freelance jobs seriously enough. The results were incredible; I did more work than I actually planned for that day. I’ve started getting more jobs to fill in the empty time slots and, in the end, I started earning more money.

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      4. Keep The Focus on the Rewards

      I remembered that there was a lecture about procrastination during a psychology course I took back when I was in college, so I decided to do a little bit of a research and found some really interested articles about procrastination on the web.

      All the experts say that motivation is an essential part of avoiding the temptation to procrastinate, and it didn’t take me too long to realize that I lost my sense of motivation because I used to dwell too much on the hard work I had to do to complete my tasks. Remember my priority – the timetable sticker board I mentioned earlier? I started writing down how much money I will earn after completing each task. At the start, it worked well enough, but in time, it lost the effect it had on me.

      That’s when I replaced numbers with the things I would spend or save my money on. Rewards play an important role in forming good habits. Also, I wrote down all the benefits working at home has for me. All this did the trick. Motivation was there to put my focus on good things instead on the hard work ahead of me.

      As you can see, you are in charge! Keep in mind that all of this didn’t happen overnight for me; there was the incubation process that led to some action. However, it’s important to start doing at least something to start getting back on track. It might not be a bad idea to make a list of things you can do to fight procrastination, then sort it from the easiest to the hardest thing you need to do. Start working on your list and take your time to adapt to all the changes.

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      Katarina Milovanovic

      Creative Writer

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      Last Updated on May 15, 2019

      10 Most Successful Entrepreneurs and What We Can Learn from Them

      10 Most Successful Entrepreneurs and What We Can Learn from Them

      Apart from making crucial decisions for their own businesses, entrepreneurs innovate and grow their ideas. Albeit there being no cookie-cutter answer that fits everyone’s experiences, taking a look at some of the most successful entrepreneurs today, you might spot some similar traits and characteristics.

      Starting and nurturing a business entails a great amount of hard work and commitment. However, for aspiring entrepreneurs who are prepared to dedicate themselves to their vision, here are 10 most successful entrepreneurs you can learn from:

      1. Melanie Perkins: Know Your Worth and Keep Trying

        Melanie Perkins founded Canva, a Sydney-based business valued at $1Billion having successfully raised a number of rounds of successful funding and boasting more than 10 Million users in 179 countries.[1]

        She told BBC that one of the biggest challenges she faced getting into the business was talking about her company’s accomplishments when she first got to Silicon Valley. She attributed this difficulty to a cultural difference where Australians tend to ‘talk down’ their achievements and this would slow down her fundraising progress for a few years.

        Despite hundreds of rejections, Melanie emerged three years later with a much clearer strategy and stronger investor pitch that prompted a series of fundraising rounds netting the company $82Million of funding in total.[2]

        2. Bill Gates: Keep Learning and Exploring

          If you don’t know Bill Gates, you likely know the company he founded – Microsoft.

          Bill Gates’ story is a prime example of nurturing an idea that might seem out of this world but make sense in the future. One of the most successful entrepreneurs in history did not complete his degree at Harvard University to pursue a vision that the technology would soon become the future.

          He told a white lie to Altair, saying that he had made a computer program for them, therefore pushing himself to create a system that would change modern history.

          “The most important speed issue is convincing everyone that the company’s survival depends on moving as fast as possible.”

          Gates’ success is built on self-improvement and the seeds of an idea.

          3. Elon Musk: Never Stop Innovating

            Traditional thinking suggests that in order to become a successful entrepreneur, one must focus in a single field or industry.

            Elon Musk, however, breaks that rule.

            Today, the multifaceted tech entrepreneur, investor, and engineer advocates for the diversification of skills and businesses by delving into various fields of interest.

            When done right, skills in a single domain can be carried over then applied into contrasting industries to create something new the world might need. Musk owes his accomplishments to a constant thirst for knowledge.

            Having birthed Tesla and a myriad of products across the arenas of aeronautics and software design, Musk continues to evolve as an entrepreneur and plans to innovate for the long haul.

            4. Richard Branson: Develop People First

              British entrepreneur Richard Branson founded Virgin Records in the early 1970s. Virgin Records has since grown into the Virgin Group, today responsible for over 400 companies.

              The billionaire is strongly particular about working with a team that shares his core values and aspirations.

              Branson believes that managing a business can become taxing, thus he acknowledges his employees for putting in the effort that they have.

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              A good leader knows how to raise morale for positive productivity. Utilising emotional intelligence and compassion is a game changer in seeing results within a team.

              Branson’s supports the idea of nurturing a positive work environment, with the belief that credentials must go hand-in-hand with an enthusiasm for work.

              5. Jeff Bezos: A Relentless Focus on Customer Satisfaction

                Having founded Amazon, Jeff Bezos is known to be one of America’s most successful entrepreneurs. The e-commerce pioneer fixates himself on angry customers with the belief that a business’s loopholes are found in the experiences of unsatisfied customers.

                For the 8th year in a row, customers have ranked Amazon as the number one in customer service (according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index).

                While numerous companies ignore unhappy customers, Bezos found success in learning from reviews and surveys. By focusing on customer service, Amazon shows they care, both for their customers and for rising above their competitors.

                While praise and recognition are signs that a business is accelerating, criticism is an opportunity to improve a product or a service.

                6. Mark Zuckerberg: Start Small, Think Big

                  Valued at over 55 billion dollars today, Mark Zuckerberg built the first version of what would become a social networking giant in his Harvard University dorm room. As one of the world’s youngest entrepreneurs, Zuckerberg undoubtedly took countless calculated risks to get his brilliant idea to its current status with 2.38 billion active monthly users.

                  “The biggest risk is not taking any risk.”

                  He’s always daring to explore with a fearless mindset.

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                  The young tech entrepreneur never shied away from innovating outside of the box. Soon after Facebook became a hit to users and advertisers, big corporations took interest in buying Facebook from Zuckerberg.

                  However, he took the risk and decided to stay with his creation. Turning down billions of dollars offered by Yahoo CEO, Terry Semel, he envisioned turning his brainchild into something much bigger than what it already was then.

                  7. Steve Jobs: Live Your Own Dreams

                    Steve Jobs lived a rocky path all his life and an aspect of which is a tumultuous career.

                    The founder of Apple endorsed his beliefs on the temporality of life and limitations of time. He preached about the importance of working on the very legacies people wish to leave behind, an achievement he’s undoubtedly etched into the the archives of human history.

                    Never one to hide under someone’s shadow, Jobs did not live by anybody else’s principles so he formed his own. He tirelessly dedicated himself to building a unique brand of products that became the benchmark for contemporary technology.

                    After his highs and lows through his brief battle with cancer, Jobs concludes with yet another lesson to takeaway from his remarkable life. “No matter how much money you have, even the richest man can’t buy time.”

                    8. Warren Buffett: Balance is Essential to Success

                      Despite being the third wealthiest person in the world, Warrant Buffett sported a frugal lifestyle for most of his life.

                      After buying a house in Omaha, Nebraska for just above 31,000 dollars, he has lived there since 1958. As a leading investor and a founder at Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett believes in setting aside an amount to save and spend only on necessities.

                      With a long term goal as a top priority in mind always, treating oneself can be sustainable once in a while. He advices to save money by deciding first and foremost what aspects to scrimp on and what aspects to splurge on to ensure a happy and balanced lifestyle.

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                      9. Jack Ma: Never Give up

                        On every journey to success, everybody stumbles and arrives at roadblocks. Some more than most, like Jack Ma, who survived countless rejections and failures only to get back up and brave every storm.

                        Ma is the founder of multinational technology conglomerate Alibaba Group. Despite being rejected to Harvard after every one of his 10 applications, Ma was never defeated.

                        His grit and tenacity is a fine testament to the fact that grades do not determine a future. While qualifications on paper are important, the development of skills and an attitude is just as helpful in making a recipe for success.

                        Despite finding himself in the verge of bankruptcy in the 1990s, Jack Ma possessed the resilience to put one foot in front of the other until he finally made it. “It’s important to have patience,” he says.

                        10. Tan Min Liang: Passion Can Pay Off

                          Tan Min Liang is the founder of the leading high-performance gaming hardware, Razer. Always on the look out for new opportunities to connect and scale his business, Tan has been bold in making many of his life’s decisions.

                          Having deviated from a traditional path set by a family that consists of doctors and lawyers, Tan was to find his life’s work and passion while gaming with his older brother.

                          The idea was simple: there were so many games out there to play, however, there were hardly any gaming equipment to match this.

                          So he dropped out of law and began going a different direction, into creating solutions in the gaming industry. At the start of 2019, Tan wrote to tech luminary Elon Musk to which Musk’s reply suggested of a joint venture between two of the most successful entrepreneurs today.

                          Final Thoughts

                          In today’s cutthroat world, the road to becoming a successful entrepreneur is a long and arduous process trailed with ups and downs. A valuable lesson that a good hand of entrepreneurs would love to convey to aspiring entrepreneurs is to keep the spirit of innovation and to explore uncharted waters.

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                          Learning from experience and failure is one direction to a desired end goal. Exhibiting the same dedication and grit so many entrepreneurs have through their unexpected careers – today’s budding visionaries ought to hang on their dreams and leave room for improvement along the way.

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                          Featured photo credit: Patrick Tomasso via unsplash.com

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