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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 September 20, 2018

      How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

      How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

      If you’re going to spend 1/3 of our life at work, you should enjoy it, right?

      Trust me, I know that’s easier said than done. Difficult coworkers, less-than-desirable tasks, or even just being in the wrong position can all lead to a lack of enjoyment and fulfillment in your work.

      But what if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way? Or better yet, if you struggle with all of the above (and then some), what if I told you that enjoying your work and finding fulfillment regardless of those obstacles is possible?

      Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you because I was there too. Before implementing the tips below, I struggled to get through each day, much less find real fulfillment, in the office. Now, even after the toughest days on the job, I still come away with feelings of pride, accomplishment, and fulfillment. The best news is, so can you.

      If you’re ready to make those hours count and find happiness and fulfillment in the office, then read on to find out how to be happy at work and find fulfillment in your career:

      1. Discover the root(s) of the problem

      For this first step, we’ll need to think back to 8th-grade physics (humor me). We all know Newton’s 3rd law, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” When you think about it, the same can be said outside of physics, and we see this law play out in our daily lives, day after day.

      Simply put, all the issues we deal with in the office (and life in general) affect us in a noticeable way.

      If you’re appreciated at work, like the work you do and receive frequent praise, promotions, or raises, then this will probably have an altogether positive effect on your life in the office.

      But what if we reverse this? What if you feel under appreciated, get passed up for promotions, or get denied raises? This is sure to affect the way you feel at work on a negative level.

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      So, before you can implement the steps of feeling happy and fulfilled at work, we first have to discover the reasons why you don’t feel that way already.

      Think about it, write a list, or make a mental note. Run through all the reasons you’re dissatisfied in the office, and don’t hold back. Knowing the exact obstacles you’re facing will make overcoming them that much easier.

      In fact, as a side-challenge to this article, I recommend picking the top three reasons contributing to your dissatisfaction at work and using the following tips to tackle them.

      2. Practice gratitude for an instant uplift

      Did you know the simple act of feeling grateful can increase your happiness and make you more fulfilled at work?[1]

      Well, it’s true, and it’s scientifically proven.

      Dr. Lisa Firestone notes that practicing gratitude “reminds us of what we lacked in the past.” Meaning, it serves as both a boost to happiness and a bit of a wake-up call that things have been or could be, much worse.

      Trying to conjure up feelings of gratitude can seem almost impossible when your work situation seems bleak, but hear me out: There are incredibly easy ways to get started and it doesn’t involve trying to “force” yourself to feel grateful about things that stress you out.

      For an instant pick-me-up, try this:

      Find a loose piece of paper, a blank sticky note, or anything you can write on, be it physical or digital. List just three things that you are absolutely without-a-doubt thankful for in your life.

      Now here’s the trick: Don’t just list what you’re grateful for, you have to list why you’re grateful for them, too.

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      For example, simply saying “I’m grateful for my kids” will probably make you feel good, sure, but what if we could amplify the warm, fuzzy feeling into real, lasting motivation?

      Instead, write the reason you’re so thankful for your children. Is it because they make you laugh and forget about other stressors? Or maybe they help to remind you of why you go to work every day in the first place?

      Whatever your reasons may be, jot them down and keep your list somewhere you can see it while you work. A quick glance at your gratitude list throughout the day can provide powerful, positive motivation to keep going.

      Bonus:

      If you can find just three things to be thankful for that specifically relate to your job, and list why those things make you grateful, your list can also help you find fulfillment in your work itself which can give you an even bigger boost of positivity throughout the day.

      3. Take meaningful time for yourself

      We all know creating a strong work-life balance can be crucial to feeling satisfied in our jobs, but rarely do we ever address how we’re spending our time outside of work.

      Many of us survive a 9-hour work day and commute home only to find ourselves busy with our personal to-do lists, running a household, and taking care of a child (or 2 or 3, and so on).

      If you spend all your time working, whether in the office or within your household, you’re going to feel drained at some point. This is why setting meaningful time for yourself every day is highly important.

      Look, I get it: I don’t know anyone in the working world who can shun all responsibility for a 3-movie marathon or happy hour with friends whenever they feel like it. But finding time for yourself, be it just 30 minutes to an hour, can really make a difference in how you feel at work.

      This works because you’ll have time to actually relax and let the day’s stress melt away while you enjoy something just for you. The to-do lists and stressors will still be there after you’re refreshed and ready to tackle them.

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      No time for me-time? Try this:

      If you have a busy household, you’ll need to capitalize on a block of time you know will be completely uninterrupted. The easiest way to do this: try waking up 30 minutes to an hour earlier than usual (or push bedtime back an hour if you’re a night owl, like me) and take time to do something you enjoy.

      This could be reading with a cup of tea, catching up on Facebook, spending time on a passion project—anything! As long as it’s meaningful to you, it works!

      Bonus:

      Starting your day with meaningful time for yourself can set you up to have a positive mood that lasts well into office hours, and having your me-time in the evening can give you something positive to look forward to during the day.

      4. Get productive and feel accomplished

      Don’t you just love the feeling of checking the last item off of a hefty to-do list? That’s because self-motivation can be a huge driver of positivity and success.

      When we accomplish something, no matter how small, it makes us feel good, plain and simple. Applying this tactic to your daily work can be the motivator you need to find fulfillment during the daily office grind.

      While there are tons of steps to get more done at work, I’ll share my personal favorite: Prioritizing.

      Now, many people handle prioritizing differently. Some like to tackle the little tasks first so they can spend focused time on the big to-dos. Others like to knock out the big items first and get to the smaller ones when they can.

      No matter which camp you’re in, you may be missing one crucial step: Time management.

      So how’s this work? When you factor in the amount of time your priorities will take, it can transform your productivity ten-fold.

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      Say you have three top priorities for the day. You might jump into the smaller ones or the bigger ones depending on your preferred method, and then find yourself out of time and bringing work home with you at the end of the day.

      This is prevented when you factor in time. Knowing how long each item will take, or deliberately setting specific blocks of time for your priorities can help you accomplish more in the same 8-9 (or 12) hours that you typically spend at work.

      Try this:

      Take a look at your priorities and consider how long they should take. Pop into your Google calendar (or Filofax, whatever works for you) and schedule time to work on your priority items around any important meetings or events of the day.

      The most important thing to remember is to stick to your dedicated time.

      Often, when we know exactly how long we have to work on something (and honor this time limit), we’re motivated to get more done on time to avoid taking work home at the end of the day.

      The bottom line

      There’s no need to waste 1/3 of our lives feeling unsatisfied at work. Luckily, you now have the tools to get started, take back your time, and become happy and fulfilled at work again.

      The only question is — which tip will you try first?

      Featured photo credit: Ellyot via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1]Psychology Today: The Healing Power of Gratitude

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