Top 10 Ways to Optimize Your Time When Working From Home


Submitted by Doug Polk | KAD Associates June 2020

1. Get Started Early

When working in an office, your morning commute can help you wake up and feel ready to go by the time you make it to your desk. At home, however, the transition from your bed to your computer can be much more jarring. Believe it or not, one way to work from home productively is to dive into your to-do list as soon as you rise and shine. Simply beginning a project first thing in the morning can be the key to making progress on it gradually throughout the day. Otherwise, you’ll prolong breakfast and let the morning sluggishness wear away your motivation.

2. Pretend you’re going into the office.

When working in an office, your morning commute can help you wake up and feel ready to go by the time you make it to your desk. At home, however, the transition from your bed to your computer can be much more jarring. Believe it or not, one way to work from home productively is to dive into your to-do list as soon as you rise and shine. Simply beginning a project first thing in the morning can be the key to making progress on it gradually throughout the day. Otherwise, you’ll prolong breakfast and let the morning sluggishness wear away your motivation.

3. Structure your day like you would in the office.

When working from home, you are your own personal manager. Without things like an in-person meeting schedule to break up your day, it can be easy to lose focus or burn out. To stay on schedule, segment what you’ll do, and when, over the course of the workday. If you have an online calendar, create personal events and reminders that tell you when to shift gears and start on new tasks.

4. Choose a dedicated work space.

Just because you’re not working in an office doesn’t mean you can’t, well, have an office. Rather than cooping yourself up in your room or on the couch—spaces typically associated with leisure time—make a point of dedicating a specific room or surface in your home exclusively to work.

5. Commit to doing more.

Projects always take longer than you initially think they will. For that reason, you’ll frequently accomplish less than you set out to. Just as you’re encouraged to overestimate how much time you’ll spend doing one thing, you should also overestimate how many things you’ll do during a given day. Even if you come up short of your goal, you’ll still end the day with a solid list of tasks filed under ‘complete.’

6. Plan out what you’ll be working on ahead of time.

Spending time figuring out what you’ll do today can take away from actually doing those things. And, you’ll have planned your task list so recently that you may be tempted to change your schedule on the fly. While it’s important to alter your agenda if you need to, it’s equally crucial to commit to a plan that outlines every assignment before you begin. Try solidifying your schedule the day before to make it feel more official when you wake up the next day to get started.

7. Use technology to stay connected.

Working from home might help you focus on your tasks in the short term, but it can also make you feel cut off from the larger operation happening in the office. Instant messaging and videoconferencing tools can make it easy to check in with coworkers and remind you how your work is contributing to the big picture.

8. Communicate expectations with anyone who will be home with you.

Of course, though you’re working from home, you may still have “company.” Make sure any roommates, siblings, parents, spouses, and pets (well, maybe not pets) respect your space during work hours. Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you are home.

9. Take clear breaks.

It can be so easy to become distracted that you avoid breaks altogether. Don’t let the guilt of working in the building you sleep in prevent you from taking five to relax. Rather than just opening social media, use these intervals to step away from your desk. Go for a walk outside, or spend time with others who might also be in the house.

10. Interact with other humans.

Remember: You’re working from home, not another planet. Interaction with other people during the day is allowed, even if they’re not your coworkers, and should be encouraged.

From an article by Steinway Moving & Storage

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