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5 Things You Should Do Every Day If You Work From Home

5 Things You Should Do Every Day If You Work From Home

The increasing acceptance of today’s bring-your-own-device landscape and the ability to do more business remotely because of better technology means more people than ever are working from home at least part of the time.

About one-fourth of the American workforce teleworks at least part of the time, and the regular work-at-home population among the non-self-employed has grown by 103 percent since 2005. Fast Company magazine reports 25 percent of business leaders say more than three-quarters of their workforce will not work in a traditional office by 2020.

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    Working from home doesn’t just offer convenience in eliminated commutes and flexible scheduling. It can also help you be more productive than ever, since you have more opportunity to integrate healthy lifestyle habits into your schedule. Whether you work from home part of the time or full-time, here are five things to do every day you work from home to have a more successful career.

    1. Foster a Business Environment

    Set yourself up for success at home by creating a work environment that’s organized and that will allow you to minimize distractions.

    Greg Peters, Senior Director of Business Development of Cisco Authorized Distributor KBZ, admits when he first began working from home, it was easy to get distracted by the freedom of working from home and how it can affect discipline. Peters recommends creating and adhering to a schedule to stay focused, designating a space for work with easy access to tools you need, and limiting external distractions, such as television.

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    By having close proximity to temptations that can decrease productivity or cause you to miss deadlines, working from home can actually become a frustrating experience as you scramble to accomplish your tasks. Cutting down on interruptions also requires communicating with family members or roommates about your schedule and when you need time to concentrate on work.

    2. Eat a Nutritious Lunch

    If you want to maintain the willpower to produce great work throughout the workday, eating a nutritious lunch is essential. In the book Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, authors Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney present research that ties willpower directly to glucose and expounds on the importance of not depriving yourself of regular healthy food intake.

    Harvard Business Review emphasizes the importance of eating well-balanced meals, since starchy or fatty foods like pasta and fried cheese might give you an initial burst of energy, but will cause a slump shortly after because of the energy it takes for the body to process them. Aim to fill most of your plate with fresh fruits and veggies and low-fat proteins for sustainable energy that will keep you productive during the day.

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    3. Get at Least 15 Minutes of Sunshine

    Make it a point when you work from home to not stay holed up all day at your desk. Getting outside has numerous health benefits, according to Harvard University research, including helping people get their daily intake of disease-fighting vitamin D. Getting more exposure to light is also a mood booster, while the physical activity of taking a walk outside increases the production of feel-good endorphins and can help improve concentration. Use a time when you are feeling a mental block and need some inspiration to take a quick walk and take time to appreciate nature while you enjoy being active.

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      Working from home often means you can be more flexible in not just how you spend your time, but where you work, too. If all you need is Wi-Fi to accomplish a task, changing up your work environment by heading to an outdoor cafe can be a way to get re-energized while you get some sunshine.

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      4. Exercise for at Least 30 Minutes

      Being busy should never be an excuse not to exercise, since a lack of physical activity and sedentary lifestyle decreases energy levels, which hampers productivity. It also means an increased chance of developing chronic illness, diabetes, and heart disease, which could significantly impact your ability to work in the future for a longer time.

      The American Heart Association recommends getting at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least five days a week, or at least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least three days a week to maintain overall cardiovascular health. Weight-bearing activities are also essential to protect bone health and burn more calories while at rest to maintain an optimal body mass index. Integrating at least 30 minutes of exercise into each workday schedule helps you stay on track to maintain a healthy lifestyle and keeps energy levels up so you can produce better work.

      5. Reward Yourself as You Successfully Accomplish Tasks

      Maintain workday momentum by taking a quick break to reward yourself with every task you accomplish. Working straight through can dull concentration and actually make it take longer to accomplish work. Health magazine reports short and frequent breaks increase stamina and decrease aches and pains felt while working.

      Make sure you’re rewarding yourself healthily and not by eating an energy-sapping candy bar or getting sucked into a television series. This is where a quick walk outside not only gives you a chance to recharge, but you’ll also be getting exposure to vitamin D and burning some calories. Crossing off a quick item from your outside-of-work to-do list, such as calling a relative or getting groceries, helps you foster a better work-life balance before you get back to your job.

      Featured photo credit: shutterstock.com via shutterstock.com

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      5 Powerful Ideas on How to Be Productive at Work

      5 Powerful Ideas on How to Be Productive at Work

      Not being able to stay productive at work is a problem that everyone runs into at some point; no matter how much you like your job, there are certain factors that prevent you from staying at maximum proficiency throughout the whole day.

      A lack of productive focus at work can lead to extra stress on yourself, missed deadlines, passed opportunities, raise denial, demotion and even termination.

      So, if you are someone who has trouble with your productivity, here are five effective tips on how to be productive at work:

      1. Take breaks

      First and foremost, it’s important for you to take regular breaks. Trying to work throughout the whole day will tire your brain, which will then cause you to doze off and think about something else.

      If you keep working your brain, it will fill up and get jumbled with information—sort of like a computer hard drive. Taking a break would be like resetting your computer so that it can start afresh, or de-fragmenting the data so that all the information is in order.

      This is a great thing because it allows you to solve problems you were unable to solve previously, by seeing it differently; if you are able to organize your thoughts properly, you will be able to take in new information more easily.

      There have even been studies about methods of saving time and staying proficient, and taking breaks is one of the leading factors.

      According to Christine Hohlbaum, the author of The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World, eating lunch away from your work area every day will greatly increase your productivity. Eating in your work area will give you the illusion that you are working, but whether you like it or not, your brain will begin to wander and think of something else and then you will be working tirelessly with no progress.

      It’s important to take breaks before and during work too: if you come to work in a rush because you woke up late, your mind will not be mentally prepared for the day ahead, and you will spend the first 10 to 15 minutes trying to get organized and composed before you can actually start working.

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      Instead, you should try to wake up 20 minutes earlier than the time it would take you to “just get” to work. Take that time to stare off into space and not worry about anything.

      If you do this, your brain will be empty and ready for all the challenges it has coming for the next few hours.

      If your employer only allows a set amount of breaks during the workday, that doesn’t mean you can’t just get up and walk around for a quick break every now and then.

      Even if it’s only 5 minutes, it will refresh your brain and you will gain renewed energy to do your job.

      Learn more about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

      2. Pace yourself and balance your workload

      One problem that most people run into is that they underestimate the amount of work they have to do, and end up doing 50% of the work in the last 20% of the time they have to do it. This is due to an issue of balancing one’s workload.

      When you receive a project, or are doing a job you normally do, take some time to really plan out your work schedule.

      Consider how much time it took you to do this last time; determine how you can break the project into smaller parts and which can only be accomplished on certain days, and whether anything might come up that could interfere with your plan.

      All of these questions are important for starting on a project, and when answered, they will help you stay productive throughout each day.

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      For example, if you needed to design a project to map out the amount of aid offered in various regions after Hurricane Sandy, you can break it up as follows:

      You will need to know what organizations are offering help to begin with, how much aid those organizations gave or plan to give, which regions were hit by Sandy, and which regions suffered the greatest losses.

      You start this project on a Thursday and know you have until Tuesday to gather this information.

      In order to stay productive, you need to plan out your work week—now you know you can find out which organizations are involved in helping the Hurricane Sandy Victims any day since that information is online, but gathering information on the organizations may require you to call them.

      Since phone calls can only be done during week days, you have to plan on gathering all of that information before the weekend comes.

      That is just one example of a situation in which pre-planning your project will help you stay productive; had you researched the affected regions first, you would not have received the info on the organizations until the weekend, and may have missed your chance to call them.

      That, in turn, would have wasted time you could have spent working on this project to finish it.

      Knowing what you need to do, when you can do it, and how long it will take you, is important in balancing your workload and being more productive and efficient.

      3. Put your work first

      This is an issue that usually occurs with young people who are new to the workforce: they’re often tempted with offers to go out at midday, and then come back lost in thought and unfocused on their work-related tasks.

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      While it is important to take breaks, your breaks should consist of you clearing your mind, not loading it up with other less important information—like sports.

      However, that is not the only situation where you need to worry about putting your work first before all else.

      In a work environment, the senior employees will oftentimes push some of their menial tasks onto the newer employees. If you fall into that category, you need to know that their work is not your work, so if you have tasks that need to be done, you need to do it first.

      If you are a new employee, you must learn to say no to other people even when it means you may not be in their good graces anymore. You can help others out once your work is done, but you are paid to do your own work, not anyone else’s.

      4. Don’t open your browser unless you need them

      In this day and age, everyone is constantly monitoring their social network. This is a major pain point for companies, which is why many don’t allow employees to access their social networks on company workstations.

      When you are at work, disconnect the internet from your phone and keep your browsers closed so you’re not tempted to log onto your social media accounts or browse any sites that are not work-related.

      If you keep your browsers closed and phone tucked away, only to be used in an emergency, you will find yourself being a more productive employee right away. 

      5. Try to be happy and optimistic

      If you always have a negative outlook on life, you will be more distracted and less motivated to get work done, so it’s important for you to start your day off right.

      This can be done by having a good breakfast or by taking time in the morning to watch one of your favorite TV shows before work.

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      If you are happy, you will find yourself able to work much more productively as your mind won’t wander into worrying about something else.

      Also, if you stay optimistic and keep telling yourself that you can do whatever you set your mind to, the tasks will seem much less daunting and will go by much more quickly.

      Take a look at more effective ways to stay positive at work:

      15 Ways To Stay Positive At Work

      Happiness and optimism are the keys to being a productive and happy employee.

      All in all, heed the five tips above and you will find yourself being one of the most productive people at your company.

      While you do not need to master them all, each and every one of them will help you become a better and more efficient employee.

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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