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Working Efficiently From Home

Working Efficiently From Home
Home Office

    If you have realized your dream of being able to work from home, then you would have realized by now that it is not as easy as it seems. Whether you write for a living or have an Internet business or sell some specialty that you have expertise in, what you need is some space for yourself where you can pursue your home career.

    A designated place for working is required, even if you are working from home since that is the only manner in which you shall be able to concentrate fully on what you are doing without getting distracted by the daily chores of the household and the hustle bustle if there are other people around. If you are lucky to have the house to yourself, finding this place shall be easy because you can choose any corner that provides you inspiration. But if there are other people in the house and you need to create time and space for your work, you will need to keep a few things in mind to choose the right place.

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    The place that you choose to work could be a separate room or an area in a room set aside to be your workplace. There are a few things that you should avoid while choosing the right place. Ensure that you pick a place that is not in the middle of high activity. Places close to the front door and rooms that are visited by other people in the household should be avoided. These tend to distract you and do not allow you to focus on the task at hand. When you know that you can snatch only a few hours away from the rigmarole of housework and other commitments to your children and husband, make sure that you make the best of it.

    To make the best of available time, try and keep all distractions at bay. Try to avoid being in the same room as the television and if this cannot be avoided, do not give into the temptation to switch it on. Keep the latest bestseller that you are currently reading away from your workstation.

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    Once you have made sure that the negatives are debarred from your workplace, start to make the best of the available place that you have chosen and create an environment that helps in making your creative juices flow. Discover what works best for you. Does background music help you in relaxing and think clearly or does it clutter your thoughts? Even if you prefer to have music around, ensure that it is not jarring and interfering. An instrumental piece scores over songs with lyrics that are more likely that not distract you from the job at hand.

    Good working conditions include good lighting. Aim to work in a place that has natural light. Dark interiors with minimal lighting can result in a throbbing headache after a few hours. If natural lighting cannot be achieved, ensure that the area you are working in is well lit and bright.

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    To ensure maximum productivity, keep all the objects that you may need close to your workstation. These could include a fax machine, a telephone, a printer, writing instruments, paper and reference books.

    You should also give some thought to adding a personal touch to your place by adding a motivation placard or a poster. These can go a long way in motivating you when the going gets tough. Flowers and soft toys on your desk can freshen up and make the atmosphere more exuberant.

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    Maintaining a clean, structured environment not only provides you with the motivation to work efficiently but also gives a signal to everyone else that with the home-office that you have, you are serious about what you are doing.

    Vishal P. Rao runs the Work at Home Forum, a community of those who work from home.

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

    5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

    In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

    Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut only to get back into another one.

    How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

    • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
    • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
    • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
    • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
    • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
    • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

    When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnancy in life, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help.

    Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

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    1. Realize You’re Not Alone

    Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths.

    Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

    2. Find What Inspires You

    Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation.

    What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

    On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem.

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    If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

    3. Give Yourself a Break

    When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

    Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave.

    Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future.

    These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

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    4. Shake up Your Routines

    Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

    Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’re 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

    When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

    5. Start with a Small Step

    Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

    Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward.

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    Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years.

    On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

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    Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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