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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 March 31, 2020

      How to Use Visual Learning to Work More Effectively

      How to Use Visual Learning to Work More Effectively

      Knowledge is essential to become successful in life, your career and your business. Without learning new concepts and becoming proficient in our craft, we cannot excel in our chosen careers or archive knowledge to pass down to the next generation.

      But content comes in various forms, and because how we learn influences how much we know, we need to talk about learning styles. This article will focus on how to utilize visual learning to boost your career or business.

      The Importance of Knowing Your Learning Style

      Knowing your learning style enables you to process new information to the best of your ability. Not only does it reduce your learning curve, you’re able to communicate these same concepts to others effectively.

      But it all starts when you’re able to first identify the best way you learn.

      As a college student, I soon figured out that taking online courses without visual aids or having an instructor in front of me led to poor retention of concepts.

      Sure, I got good grades and performed excellently in my online exams. However. I discovered that I couldn’t maintain this performance level because I forgot 80 percent of the course content by the end of the semester.

      There are several types of learning styles known to mankind. To give an idea of how visual learning stacks up against other learning styles, here’s a brief mention of some of the different types of learning styles we have.

      The four most popular types of learning styles are:

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      • Visual learning style (what this article talks about).
      • Aural or auditory learning style (learning by listening to information presented).
      • Verbal or linguistic learning style (learning that involves speech and writing).
      • Tactile learning style (learning by touching and doing)

      But for the purposes of this article, we will be focusing on using visual learning to boost your career or business.

      How to Know If You’re a Visual Learner?

      When it comes to boosting your career, business (or education), a visual learner is one who would most definitely choose shapes, images, symbols, or reading over auditory messages.

      I’m talking about preferring to read an actual map when navigating to a new place over listening to verbal directions. I’m talking about discovering that you actually have trouble remembering what your manager said at the meeting because there were no graphs or illustrations to support the points raised.

      Most people who struggle with learning probably aren’t leveraging their best learning styles. The earlier you identify how your learning style can boost your success, the less struggle you will encounter with processing new information throughout your career.

      However, visual learning in particular CAN 10x your career or business whether it is your preferred learning style or not. And here’s why:

      Several studies have arrived at the conclusion that the brain retains more information with the help of visual aids. In other words, images are directly processed by our long-term memory which helps us store information for longer periods of time.[1]

      While some lessons can be performed orally, several concepts can only make sense if you have an image with an explanation of sequences (i.e learning about the human DNA).

      Visual learning does use a different part of the brain and visual cues are processed by the part of the brain known as the occipital lobe.

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      By engaging more parts of the brain during learning, you’re able to have a fuller understanding of concepts and facilitate better interaction with your immediate environment.

      How to Use Visual Learning for Success

      Here’re 4 ways to use visual learning to boost your career or business:

      1. Bring back the to-do list. Then add shapes and colors to boost productivity.

      We live in an age where computers have taken over virtually every aspect of productivity and most human functions. But written lists are making a comeback, and with an endless number of important tasks to complete, having a to-do list of tasks in order of importance can improve your productivity.

      While coming up with a list is initially challenging, adding colors and shapes to written lists that you personally write and manage gives you an extra layer of assurance and boosts aids recall so that you actually get stuff done.

      I have tried this technique in my work as a registered nurse and discovered that adding shapes and colors to to-do lists helps me delegate tasks, recognize where more work is needed, and makes it easy to cross off completed tasks at the end of the day.

      2. Add graphs, charts and symbols to your reports.

      Yes, it seems like more work cut out for you. However, graphs enable you monitor the heartbeat of your business.

      Graphs and charts help you trend your finances, budget, and pretty much any data overtime. With the help of free and premium software available on the market, it has become easier to take plain data and in a matter of seconds, have relevant information displayed in different shapes and images.

      As an entrepreneur, you can make predictions and allocate funds wisely when you’re able to see whether your efforts are rewarded. You can use colors and charts to delegate actions to members of your team and track performance at the same time.

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      And when broken down into monthly, quarterly, bi-annual or annual goals, graphs and charts communicate what ordinary text cannot.

      3. Effectively brainstorm with mind-mapping.

      Mind-mapping is not new but I don’t think it’s been talked about as often as we do to-do lists.

      With mind mapping, you’re organizing information accurately and drawing relationships between concepts and pieces from a whole.

      Think of a mind map as a tree with several branches. For example, the tree can symbolize healthcare while each branch stands for nursing, medicine, laboratory science, and so on. When you look at nursing, you can further branch out into types of nursing; pediatric, women’s health, critical care, and so on.

      It’s an interesting relationship; the more ideas you’re able to come up with for your chosen subject, the deeper you get and the stronger the association.

      Mind maps really show you relationships between subjects and topics, and simplifies processes that might seem complicated at first glance. In a way, it is like a graphical representation of facts presented in a simple, visual format.

      Mind mapping isn’t only limited to career professionals; business owners can benefit from mind mapping by organizing their online learning activities and breaking down complex tasks into simple actions so that you can accurately measure productivity.

      4. Add video streaming to meetings.

      What if you could double the productivity of your team members by video streaming your meetings or adding flash animation to your presentation at the same time?

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      When you offer video as an alternative method of processing information to colleagues, there is a greater chance of retaining information because we recreate these stories into images in our minds.

      For organizations that hold virtual meetings, it can also be an effective way to enhance performance during if people can see their colleagues in addition to flash animation or whatever form of video is provided during the meeting.

      Is Visual Learning Better Than Other Learning Styles?

      No, that is not the point. The goal here is to supplement your existing dominant learning style with visual learning so that you can experience a significant boost in how you process and use everyday information.

      You might discover that understanding scientific concepts are much easier after incorporating visual learning or that you’re able to understand your organization’s value when projected on a visual screen with charts and graphs.

      The overall goal is to always be learning and to continue to leverage visual learning style in your career and business.

      More About Learning Styles

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Reference

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