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10 Tips to Help You Be More Efficient Working From Home

10 Tips to Help You Be More Efficient Working From Home

Are you  an expert at working remotely? You will be if you apply these 10 simple tips to your daily routine.

Being efficient working from home can be a challenge. There are tons of distractions, less accountability, and less communication than when you’re working in the office. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. There are lots of ways to keep yourself working productively from any location.

Whether you work from home every day, a couple of times per week, or even if you’re just working from home while you recover from an illness, these tips can help you to get the most out of your remote work hours. You won’t believe how much you can get done in a day!

1. Keep yourself to regular work hours

Work From Home Clock

    This is the first step to ensuring productivity while working from home. It’s tempting to give yourself total flexibility as to when you get started, take breaks, and call it a day. But you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t keep yourself to at least some amount of consistency. Setting yourself consistent hours keeps you accountable to yourself and to your boss. It makes you more likely to get all your work done, and it makes it easier to get in touch with you.

    Here are the important factors to consider when you’re setting an at home work schedule:

    • When your boss needs you to be available
    • Communication with your coworkers and customers
    • Time of day when you are most productive

    This doesn’t mean that you need to work 9-5 every day. You should work at the times of day when you’re most productive. However, it’s a good idea to find out when your boss really needs you to be at work. For example, it might be important for you to check your emails each morning, or to be available by phone in the afternoons. Other than that, choose times of day when you’re likely to get the most work done. Communicate those hours of availability to anyone that might need to get in touch with you, and you’ll be on your way to productive, consistent work days.

    2. Keep work time and personal time separate

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    Work from Home Watch

      Just as it’s important to work when you say you will, it’s important to give yourself time off when you’ve promised it. Don’t extend the work day too far beyond what you planned, at the risk of burning yourself out.

      Keeping work time and personal time compartmentalized also helps you keep productive while you’re at work, and reduces stress when you aren’t at work. In the same way that you scheduled your work hours, schedule, communicate, and plan when you will not be available to work. For example, if you like to take evenings to spend time with family, make sure you communicate that you aren’t available for work during that time. And then hold yourself to that commitment!

      3. Plan your workflow

      Work From Home Planner

        One surefire way to keep productivity up is to get smart about planning your work day. Before you even start working, make sure you know what your priorities are for the day, how long you think it will take you to get everything done, and what you will work on if you have extra time.

        You might find it helpful to take a few minutes before you go to bed to plan for the next day. You may find that you sleep better without the stress of planning in the back of your mind. If you find that planning before bed actually keeps you awake, try making a plan for the day while you eat breakfast or exercise before work.

        In your planning, consider the following:

        • Do the highest priority tasks first
        • Plan your day around your own natural cycles–do the hardest work when you have the most energy throughout the day
        • Plan yourself rewards and breaks throughout the day

        4. Break up the day

        Work from home snack

          If you followed the last step, then you’ll have already planned breaks for yourself throughout the day. Make sure you get up from your desk during those breaks–get some fresh air, grab a healthful snack, and talk with another human being if at all possible. All of these activities will help you reset, get your blood flowing, and make sure you’re ready to tackle the next chunk of tasks.

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          Try planning how you’ll spend your breaks ahead of time, so you have something to look forward to. Just make sure you decide how long you will spend on a break, so you don’t get too distracted. Ten to 30 minutes is great for shorter breaks, and an hour or two is perfect for lunch.

          5. Dress like you are at work

          Work from Home Clothes

            Even if you won’t be interacting with another person all day, it’s important to dress for success. This includes showering and brushing your teeth! This will tell your brain that it’s work time, not relaxation time, and that will give you a lot more energy. Sweatpants and a T-shirt might be more comfortable, but you may also feel sluggish, sleepy, or unmotivated.

            It’s also a good opportunity to give a new outfit a test drive–risk free!

            If you have a hard time motivating yourself to get ready in the morning, try laying out your outfit the night before, or planning an outing during the day so that you have to get dressed.

            6. Create an at-home office

            Work from home office

              It might be tempting to work from your couch, easy-chair, or even from your bed, but this could take a huge toll on your productivity. Try to always work from a consistent room, desk, or chair, to tell your brain that it’s time for work, not relaxation.

              You are likely to feel more alert, more confident, and more organized. Try setting up a desk where you always work. Set yourself up with a comfy, supportive chair, a spacious desk, and consistent workplace tools. Make sure to personalize your space. After all, you will be spending a lot of time there!

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              7. No roomies allowed

              Working from home kids

                Being efficient working from home is all about boundaries, as we have previously discussed. This also means setting boundaries for kids, pets, and your spouse or roommates. Try to encourage them to leave you alone while you are working so you can stay focused.

                Try to keep the boundaries friendly and playful, but make sure you stick to them. One fun idea is to make a sign for the door of your office that indicates whether you’re working or not.

                8. Be your own janitor

                Work from home mess

                  Unlike in the office, you don’t have a janitor to clean up after you, which means you have to do it yourself. Keeping your home office clean helps you stay focused, get organized, and be productive. Even if you’re someone who isn’t bothered by a messy desk, keeping some semblance of order helps ensure that nothing important falls through the cracks (or gets lost in a stack of paper, as is more likely).

                  However, this tip goes beyond just keeping your home office clean. Having a messy home could inspire you to procrastinate on work tasks in favor of cleaning–which is bad news for your productivity.

                  Setting yourself a weekly cleaning schedule can help you keep on top of cleaning your home, so you won’t be tempted to clean during work hours. Make sure to schedule regular tidying of your home office!

                  9. Tune in to inspiration

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                  Work from Home music

                    A great advantage of working from home is that you can’t distract your coworkers. Go ahead and play those pumped-up jams loud and proud, if that’s what gets you moving. Or try a more soothing soundtrack, with nature sounds, instrumental music, or even by leaving the windows open to let the sounds from outside come in. If you’re doing repetitive tasks, an audiobook or podcast may even be what you need to keep moving.

                    Try a few things to find what works best for you.

                    10. Stay in the loop

                    Work from home call

                      One of the best things about working in an office is the potential for collaboration and socialization. You don’t have to lose this just because you are working from home. Try to check in with your coworkers at least a couple of times per week, whether by email, phone, Skype, or even in person.

                      Make sure you keep up on a personal level as well as a professional level. You can do this without taking a lot of time–just share the things that are most important, and encourage your coworkers to do the same.

                      If you can master these 10 tips, you will be a work-from-home wizard before you know it. You might even find that the days you work from home are your most productive days!

                      What are your tips for being efficient working from home?  Let me know in the comments.

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                      Last Updated on December 10, 2019

                      How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

                      How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

                      It is hardly a secret that the key to successfully accomplishing one goal after another is staying motivated. There are, of course, tasks which successful people may not like at all, yet they find motivation to complete them because they recognize how each particular task serves a greater goal.

                      So how to stay motivated most of the time? Here are 5 simple yet effective ways on how to stay motivated and get what you want:

                      1. Find Your Good Reasons

                      Anything you do, no matter how simple, has a number of good reasons behind it.

                      You may not be able to find good reasons to do some tasks at first but, if you take just a few moments to analyze them, you will easily spot something good. We also have many tasks which don’t need any reasoning at all – we’ve been doing them for so long that they feel natural.

                      If you’re ever stuck with some tasks you hate and there seems to be no motivation to complete it whatsoever, here’s what you need to do: find your good reasons.

                      Even when you set goals, there needs to be reasons behind these goals. They may not be obvious, but stay at it until you see some, as this will bring your motivation back and will help you finish the task.

                      Some ideas for what a good reason can be:

                      • A material reward – quite often, you will get paid for doing something you normally don’t like doing at all.
                      • Personal gain – you will learn something new or will perhaps improve yourself in a certain way.
                      • A feeling of accomplishment – at least you’ll be able to walk away feeling great about finding the motivation and courage to complete such a tedious task.
                      • A step closer to your bigger goal – even the biggest accomplishments in history have started small and relied on simple and far less pleasant tasks than you might be working on. Every task you complete brings you closer to the ultimate goal, and acknowledging this always feels good.

                      2. Make It Fun

                      When it comes to motivation, attitude is everything. Different people may have completely opposite feelings towards the same task: some will hate it, others will love it.

                      Why do you think this happens? It’s simple: some of us find ways to make any task interesting and fun to do!

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                      Take sports for example. Visiting your local gym daily for a half-an-hour workout session sounds rather boring to some. Yet many others love the idea!

                      They like exercising not only because they recognize the good reasons behind it, but simply because it’s fun! At certain time of their daily schedule, they find going to gym to be the best thing to do, simply because nothing else will fit their time and lifestyle so perfectly.

                      Depending on how you look at it, you can have fun doing just about anything! Just look for ways of having fun, and you’ll find them!

                      A simple approach is to start working on any task by asking yourself a few questions:

                      • How can I enjoy this task?
                      • What can I do to make this task fun for myself and possibly for others?
                      • How can I make this work the best part of my day?

                      As long as you learn to have the definite expectation of any task being potentially enjoyable, you will start to feel motivated.

                      Some of you will probably think of a thing or two which are valid exceptions from this statement, like something you always hate doing no matter how hard you try making it fun. You’re probably right, and that’s why I don’t claim everything to be fun.

                      However, most tasks have a great potential of being enjoyable, and so looking for ways to have fun while working is definitely a good habit to acquire.

                      3. Change Your Approach And Don’t Give Up

                      When something doesn’t feel right, it’s always a good time to take a moment and look for a different approach for the task.

                      You may be doing everything correctly and most efficiently, but such approach isn’t necessarily the most motivating one. Quite often, you can find a number of obvious tweaks to your current approach which will both change your experience and open up new possibilities.

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                      That’s why saying “one way or another” is so common — if you really want to accomplish your goal, there is always a way; and most likely, there’s more than one way.

                      If a certain approach doesn’t work for you, find another one, and keep trying until you find the one which will both keep you motivated and get you the desired results.

                      Some people think that trying a different approach means giving up. They take pride in being really stubborn and refusing to try any other options on their way towards the goal.

                      My opinion on this is that the power of focus is great, but you should be focusing on your goal, and not limiting your options by focusing on just one way to accomplish it it.

                      4. Recognize Your Progress

                      Everything you may be working on can be easily split into smaller parts and stages. For most goals, it is quite natural to split the process of accomplishing them into smaller tasks and milestones. There are a few reasons behind doing this, and one of them is tracking your progress.

                      We track our progress automatically with most activities. But to stay motivated, you need to recognize your progress, not merely track it.

                      Here’s how tracking and recognizing your progress is different:

                      Tracking is merely taking a note of having reached a certain stage in your process. Recognizing is taking time to look at a bigger picture and realize where exactly you are, and how much more you have left to do.

                      For example, if you’re going to read a book, always start by going through the contents table. Getting familiar with chapter titles and memorizing their total number will make it easier for you to recognize your progress as you read. Confirming how many pages your book has before starting it is also a good idea.

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                      You see, reading any book you will be automatically looking at page numbers and chapter titles, but without knowing the total number of pages, this information will have little meaning.

                      Somehow, it is human nature to always want things to happen in short term or even at once. Even though we split complex tasks into simpler actions, we don’t quite feel the satisfaction until all is done and the task is fully complete.

                      For many scenarios though, the task is so vast that such approach will drain all the motivation out of you long before you have a chance to reach your goal. That’s why it is important to always take small steps and recognize the positive different and progress made. This is how your motivation can sustain in long term.

                      5. Reward Yourself

                      This is a trick everyone likes: rewarding yourself is always pleasant. This is also one of the easiest and at the same time most powerful ways to stay motivated!

                      Feeling down about doing something? Dread the idea of working on some task? Hate the whole idea of working? You’re not alone.

                      Right from the beginning, agree on some deliverables which will justify yourself getting rewarded. As soon as you get one of the agreed results, take time to reward yourself in some way.

                      For some tasks, just taking a break and relaxing for a few minutes will do.

                      For others, you may want to get a fresh cup of coffee and even treat yourself a dessert.

                      For even bigger and more demanding tasks, reward yourself by doing something even more enjoyable, like going to a cinema or taking a trip to some place nice, or even buying yourself something.

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                      Your progress may not seem to others like anything worth celebrating but, take time and do it anyway! It is your task and your reward, so any ways to stay motivated are good.

                      The more you reward yourself for the honestly made progress, the more motivated you will feel about reaching new milestones, thus finally accomplishing your goal.

                      Mix and Match

                      Now that you have these five ways of staying motivated, it is a good moment to give you the key to them all: mix and match!

                      Pick one of the techniques and apply it to your situation. If it doesn’t work, or if you simply want to get more motivated, try another technique right way. Mix different approaches and match them to your task for the best results.

                      Just think about it: Finding good reasons to work on your task is bound to helping you feel better; and identifying ways to make it fun will help you enjoy the task even more.

                      Or, if you plan a few points for easier tracking of your progress and on top of that, agree on rewarding yourself as you go; this will make you feel most motivated about anything you have to work through.

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                      Featured photo credit: Lucas Lenzi via unsplash.com

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