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7 Weird Tricks That Transform How You Work at Home

7 Weird Tricks That Transform How You Work at Home

I work from home most days, and that’s not an easy way to live.

You have a ton of distractions for one thing (laundry, unwashed dishes and Jerry Springer).

And relaxing is even harder. When you decide to stop working for the day, your mind keeps on going. It doesn’t have the same work/life divide.

But there are 5 weird tricks that changed all that. Now I get three times as much work done – and relaxing is a lot easier, too.

If you work from home, give them a try. See if they help you.

1. Buy a heap of plain t-shirts

Outside, you have to be creative with your clothing choices.

But when you work from home, anything goes. So wear plain, simple clothes every day.

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The more decisions you can automate, the more energy you have for important tasks.

Notice Barack Obama almost always wears a gray or blue suit.

“I’m trying to pare down decisions,” Obama explained to Vanity Fair. “I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”

2. Meditate before and after your working day

I recommend 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening.

Meditation has been shown to activate a ‘relaxation response’. The heart rate and blood pressure drops, and the brainwaves are lowered. It works a bit like a ‘reset switch’ in the brain.

If you meditate on both sides of your working day, you create a mental boundary between your work life and home life. It’s easy to focus and easy to relax.

3. Do your most important task with your morning coffee

In the morning, your mind is calm and relaxed. It’s better equipped for problem solving and creativity.

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Also, your day goes a lot smoother if it gets progressively easier.

When I first worked from home, I’d try and clear the small, easy jobs out the way first. I’d check emails and type up notes. Little did I know, I was squandering my most valuable time of the day – and wearing myself out.

So pour your morning coffee and don’t waste a minute getting to the big tasks of the day. It takes motivation at first. But it soon becomes a habit.

Eventually, you pour your coffee and get to work without thinking about it – even if you don’t feel particularly motivated.

4. Exercise during lunchtime

After a couple of hours working hard, it’s not unusual for the brain to get tired – perhaps a little restless.

This is a great time to exercise.  Most office workers have to exercise in the morning or at night.

But exercise is a terrific way to boost productivity in the afternoon. You feel happier, more relaxed and you think more clearly.

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You can use exercise as your tool when you need it most.

5. Check your emails a set number of times

When you work from home, there’s something you desperately crave…validation.

You’re alone. You need to hear people say you’re doing a good job. You need to feel connected. This can have you checking your emails all day.

Please resist the urge.

It takes a good 20 minutes to work your brain up to its highest gear. Those ‘quick email checks’ are a lot more damaging than they appear.

Give yourself a rule. I suggest three email checks a day. This forces you to space them out between each task.

6. Plan tomorrow at the end of today

By the end of today, you know what needs to be done tomorrow.

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Write this down as a list – starting with the most important jobs. When you’ve finished your list, take a couple of minutes to visualise your day. Try to see it very clearly in your mind.

Tomorrow, you just have to get out of bed and follow your plan. If you’re 100% clear on what needs to be done, you’re far less likely to be distracted. You focus on each job, one at a time.

7. Go for a walk

When you finish work, it’s a good idea to go outside for a good 30 minutes or so.

You come back refreshed for the evening.

Don’t go for a walk to run errands or pick up groceries. Go for a walk for the simple reason that it’s nice to go for a walk.

You need your mind to switch off from work. Keep walking until it has calmed down.

Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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