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Six Effective Tips to Work from Home

Six Effective Tips to Work from Home

In recent years there has been an increase in home based employees and I am among the masses who now call their home their office. I am self employed but whether you work for yourself or an established employer you are likely to face obstacles similar to those that I encountered. Early on as my business was first established I made a few mistakes and fell into the common pitfalls of working from home. I have since learned to overcome those obstacles and I would like to share my tips for working effectively from home with you.

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  1. Setting up a functional workspace is critical to the success from a work from home employee. Try setting up your space so that it contains all of the necessary equipment that you need. You may decorate your workspace so that it is aesthetically appealing but try to keep distractions to a minimum.
  2. Establishing a working schedule is also important. Having regularly scheduled hours when you work will help you to be more efficient during these times. Be sure to schedule work time as well as break times so that you will not become overwhelmed. One of the pitfalls that some work from home employees fall into is working too many hours. In an office there is a clear signal to the end of the day as other employees start to leave the office for the day but at home employees sometimes have difficulty ending their day.
  3. Being able to motivate yourself is critical for the work at home employee. In an office situation, you have a supervisor and co-workers who motivate you to complete your work but when you are working at home, you only have yourself to push you to succeed.
  4. Maintaining a professional attitude is also important for the work from home employee. If you have frequent client interactions, be careful to answer the phone or respond to their emails in a professional way. A home office may be an informal environment that affords you the luxury of dressing casually but client interactions should always follow certain decorum. Keeping your interactions businesslike will ensure that the client does not begin to doubt the amount or quality of work that is being put into their projects.
  5. Considering hiring a day care provider is another tip for working from home. Those who have young children may find it difficult to attend to the needs of their children while fulfilling their job obligations. For this reason it may be worthwhile to have a day care provider care for your child during your working hours.
  6. Avoid volunteering for too many activities. Many people will assume that because you work at home you are free to help them run errands, pick up their children from school or be an emergency babysitter if their child has a cold. While you may want to help your friends and family members, it is important to make it clear that your work is just as important as theirs and that you have obligations to take care of each day.

These are the tips that helped me to work effectively from home but you may find other tricks or ideas that help you to improve your efficiency and productivity while working from home. The important thing to remember is that your home based job deserves the same attention and dedication as an office position. Following the tips that I have provided will help you to become a lucrative and productive home based worker.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

What Everyone Is Wrong About Achieving Inbox Zero

What Everyone Is Wrong About Achieving Inbox Zero

Ah, Inbox Zero. An achievement that so many of us long for. It’s elusive. It’s a productivity benchmark. It’s an ongoing battle.

It’s also unnecessary.

Don’t get me wrong, the way Inbox Zero was initially termed is incredibly valuable. Merlin Mann coined the phrase years ago and what he has defined it as goes well beyond the term itself.[1]

Yet people have created their own definition of Inbox Zero. They’re not using it with the intent that Mann suggested. Instead, it’s become about having nothing left in immediate view. It’s become about getting your email inbox to zero messages or having an empty inbox on your desk that was once filled with papers. It’s become about removing visual clutter.

But it’s not about that. Not at all.

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Here’s what inbox zero actually is, as defined by Mann:

“It’s about how to reclaim your email, your atten­tion, and your life. That “zero?” It’s not how many mes­sages are in your inbox–it’s how much of your own brain is in that inbox. Especially when you don’t want it to be. That’s it.” – Merlin Mann

The Fake Inbox Zero

The sense of fulfillment one gets from clearing out everything in your inbox is temporary at best, disappointing at worst. Often we find that we’re shooting for Inbox Zero just so that we can say that we’ve got “everything done that needed to be done”. That’s simply not the case.

Certainly, by removing all of your things that sit in your inbox means that they are either taken care of or are well on their way to being taken care of. The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” is often applied to clearing out your inbox. But unless you’ve actually done something with the stuff, it’s either not worth having in your inbox in the first place or is still sitting in your “mental inbox”.

You have to do something with the stuff, and for many people, that is a hard thing to do. That’s why Inbox Zero – as defined by Mann – is not achieved as often as many people would like to believe. It’s this “watered down” concept of Inbox Zero that is completed instead. You’ve got no email in your inbox and you’ve got no paper on your desk’s inbox. So that must mean you’re at Inbox Zero.

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Until the next email arrives or the next document comes your way. Then you work to get rid of those as quickly as possible so that you can get back to Inbox Zero: The Lesser again. If it’s something that can be dealt with quickly, then you get there. But if they require more time, then soon you’ve got more stuff in your inboxes. So you switch up tasks to get to the things that don’t require as much time or attention so that you can get closer to this stripped down variation of Inbox Zero.

However, until you deal with the bigger items, you don’t quite get there. Some people feel as if they’ve let themselves (or others) down if they don’t get there. And that, quite frankly, is silly. That’s why this particular version of Inbox Zero doesn’t work.

The Ultimate Way to Get to Inbox Zero

So what’s the ultimate way to get to Inbox Zero?

Have zero inboxes.

The inbox is meant to be a stop along the way to your final destination. It’s the place where stuff sits until you’re ready to put it in the place where it sits until you’re ready to deal with it.

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So why not skip the inbox altogether? Why not put it in the place where it sits until you’re ready to deal with it? Because that requires immediate action. It means you need to give the item some thought and attention.

You need to step back and look at it rather than file it. That’s why we have a catch-all inbox, both for email and for analog items. It allows us to only look at these things when we’re ready to do so.

The funny thing is that we can decide when we’re ready to without actually looking at the inbox beforehand. We can look at things on our own watch rather than when we are alerted to or feel the need to.

There is no reason why you need an inbox at all to store things for longer than it sits there before you see it. None. It’s a choice. And the choice you should be making is how to deal with things when you first see them, rather than when to deal with things you haven’t looked at yet.

Stop Faking It

Seeing things in your inboxes is simply using your sight. Looking at things in your inbox when you first see them is using insight.

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Stop checking email more than twice per day. Turn off your alerts. Put your desk’s inbox somewhere that it can be accessed by others and only accessed by you when you’re ready to deal with what’s in it. Don’t put it on your desk – that’s productivity poison.

If you want to get to Inbox Zero — the real Inbox Zero — then get rid of those stops along the way. You’ll find that by doing that, you’ll be getting more of the stuff you really want done finished much faster, rather than see them moving along at the speed of not much more than zero.

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Featured photo credit: Web Hosting via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merlin Mann: Inbox Zero

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