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12 Essential Things You Need In Order To Work From Home Productively

12 Essential Things You Need In Order To Work From Home Productively

Working from home is becoming increasingly popular. More companies are hiring people to work remotely, and at-home start-ups are an appealing alternative to a 9 to 5 desk job. Although working from home can be freeing, it can also be surprisingly hard. To work from home productively, include these 12 essential things.

1. Internet service

If you have a job from home that requires absolutely no internet access, I would love to know what it is. For most of us, the internet is key to getting things done. Whether you’re a blogger, an entrepreneur, a consultant, or (pretty much) anything else, you need good, reliable internet service. Make sure you’ve got a consistent, decent speed connection to boost your productivity. Nothing is worse than not getting things done because your internet went out… again.

2. Office space

You need to make sure you have one place that you consider your work-space. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an entire room, but make sure you’re not confusing your office with your leisure space. Simply putting a desk in a corner of your bedroom will suffice. Coffee shops and libraries are also popular places to work. For example, I work from my kitchen table. Find what works for you and stick to it.

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3. Phone service

Just as internet service is important to just about every at-home job, so is phone service. While this might not be as important, by virtue of email and voice messaging services like Skype, it’s still crucial to have phone service.

4. Clothes that aren’t pajamas

Yes, working from home means you don’t have to wear that suit you always hated. However, wearing your pajamas during your workday can cut down on productivity. We associate pajamas with leisure and sleep — not with work. So try changing out of them for the day. You’ll find that you get more done.

5. A good desktop setup

While your desktop might be good for play, you might need to expand your capabilities with some extras. From spreadsheets to manage your accounts, to backup storage for important documents, it might come in handy to have some business-oriented software. Shop around for some of these products; they’ll likely make your life a whole lot simpler.

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6. Reach out to the rest of the world

Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you should confine yourself to your room. Networking sites for professionals are quickly becoming must-haves in the business world. Sites like LinkedIn can help you reach out to others in the industry and people you have worked with in the past. Job postings on the site can also lead you to new opportunities, as some jobs are listed as remote.

7. An organized space

As with a desk in an office building, you need to make sure your space is organized and decluttered. Just because you work from home does not mean that you can treat your work-space like your laundry room, kitchen or gym. The same goes for your computer: while you’re working, it is a work computer. It’s not a sometimes-work, sometimes-play computer.

8. A time for working

Make a specific time for work every day and stick to it. It can get confusing to differentiate between work and home when the two are the same. However, making sure you create a workday for yourself can help your productivity. If you aren’t a 9 to 5 kind of person, that’s fine, but you’ve got to make a specific time in which you will only do work.

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9. A followup

It can be easy for people to forget about the at-home employee. Out of sight, out of mind really does apply to the work world. Make sure you make yourself known via email or phone. If you need to communicate with someone, make sure you aren’t forgotten.

10. Realistic expectations

Working from home can be great, and it can save you a lot of money on transportation costs. However, it might start out paying less than you hoped. Many at-home workers are self-employed, meaning they are responsible for all costs associated with running their business. Others, like freelance writers, might feel the initial disappointment with per-word payment. However, once you establish yourself, things often get a lot better.

11. Perseverance

As I said above, establishing yourself opens up more opportunities and more money. Don’t get too discouraged with your job if things start out slowly. If you stick with it and produce quality work, you’re more likely to reap the benefits later.

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12. Distance

While it’s important to make sure you’re working without distractions when you need to, don’t think you need to constantly work. It can be easy to bring your work home with you if work and home are the same place. Make sure you let go of your work, just as you would if you worked outside of your home. If it’s past your scheduled work time, leave it until tomorrow.

Featured photo credit: Dave Morris via flickr.com

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Published on July 17, 2018

How Productive People Compartmentalize Time to Get the Most Done

How Productive People Compartmentalize Time to Get the Most Done

I’ve never believed people are born productive or organized. Being organized and productive is a choice.

You choose to keep your stuff organized or you don’t. You choose to get on with your work and ignore distractions or you don’t.

But one skill very productive people appear to have that is not a choice is the ability to compartmentalize. And that takes skill and practice.

What is compartmentalization

To compartmentalize means you have the ability to shut out all distractions and other work except for the work in front of you. Nothing gets past your barriers.

In psychology, compartmentalization is a defence mechanism our brains use to shut out traumatic events. We close down all thoughts about the traumatic event. This can lead to serious mental-health problems such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) if not dealt with properly.

However, compartmentalization can be used in positive ways to help us become more productive and allow us to focus on the things that are important to us.

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Robin Sharma, the renowned leadership coach, calls it his Tight Bubble of Total Focus Strategy. This is where he shuts out all distractions, turns off his phone and goes to a quiet place where no one will disturb him and does the work he wants to focus on. He allows nothing to come between himself and the work he is working on and prides himself on being almost uncontactable.

Others call it deep work. When I want to focus on a specific piece of work, I turn everything off, turn on my favourite music podcast The Anjunadeep Edition (soft, eclectic electronic music) and focus on the content I intend to work on. It works, and it allows me to get massive amounts of content produced every week.

The main point about compartmentalization is that no matter what else is going on in your life — you could be going through a difficult time in your relationships, your business could be sinking into bankruptcy or you just had a fight with your colleague; you can shut those things out of your mind and focus totally on the work that needs doing.

Your mind sees things as separate rooms with closable doors, so you can enter a mental room, close the door and have complete focus on whatever it is you want to focus on. Your mind does not wander.

Being able to achieve this state can seriously boost your productivity. You get a lot more quality work done and you find you have a lot more time to do the things you want to do. It is a skill worth mastering for the benefits it will bring you.

How to develop the skill of compartmentalization

The simplest way to develop this skill is to use your calendar.

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Your calendar is the most powerful tool you have in your productivity toolbox. It allows you to block time out, and it can focus you on the work that needs doing.

My calendar allows me to block time out so I can remove everything else out of my mind to focus on one thing. When I have scheduled time for writing, I know what I want to write about and I sit down and my mind completely focuses on the writing.

Nothing comes between me, my thoughts and the keyboard. I am in my writing compartment and that is where I want to be. Anything going on around me, such as a problem with a student, a difficulty with an area of my business or an argument with my wife is blocked out.

Understand that sometimes there’s nothing you can do about an issue

One of the ways to do this is to understand there are times when there is nothing you can do about an issue or an area of your life. For example, if I have a student with a problem, unless I am able to communicate with that student at that specific time, there is nothing I can do about it.

If I can help the student, I would schedule a meeting with the student to help them. But between now and the scheduled meeting there is nothing I can do. So, I block it out.

The meeting is scheduled on my calendar and I will be there. Until then, there is nothing I can do about it.

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Ask yourself the question “Is there anything I can do about it right now?”

This is a very powerful way to help you compartmentalize these issues.

If there is, focus all your attention on it to the exclusion of everything else until you have a workable solution. If not, then block it out, schedule time when you can do something about it and move on to the next piece of work you need to work on.

Being able to compartmentalize helps with productivity in another way. It reduces the amount of time you spend worrying.

Worrying about something is a huge waste of energy that never solves anything. Being able to block out issues you cannot deal with stops you from worrying about things and allows you to focus on the things you can do something about.

Reframe the problem as a question

Reframing the problem as a question such as “what do I have to do to solve this problem?” takes your mind away from a worried state into a solution state, where you begin searching for solutions.

One of the reasons David Allen’s Getting Things Done book has endured is because it focuses on contexts. This is a form of compartmentalization where you only do work you can work on.

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For instance, if a piece of work needs a computer, you would only look at the work when you were in front of a computer. If you were driving, you cannot do that work, so you would not be looking at it.

Choose one thing to focus on

To get better at compartmentalizing, look around your environment and seek out places where you can do specific types of work.

Taking your dog for a walk could be the time you focus solely on solving project problems, commuting to and from work could be the time you spend reading and developing your skills and the time between 10 am and 12 pm could be the time you spend on the phone sorting out client issues.

Once you make the decision about when and where you will do the different types of work, make it stick. Schedule it. Once it becomes a habit, you are well on your way to using the power of compartmentalization to become more productive.

Comparmentalization saves you stress

Compartmentalization is a skill that gives you time to deal with issues and work to the exclusion of all other distractions.

This means you get more work done in less time and this allows you to spend more time with the people you want to spend more time with, doing the things you want to spend more time doing.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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