Productive Working from home is a lifestyle coveted by many people, but it requires a good dose of self-disciplined you want it to be profitable and sustainable over time.
Even if you’re stuck with your computer all day, it’s easy to fool yourself into doing things that seem like work but are not. If you are an entrepreneur or you work on your own, attending social networks and reading certain blogs may be necessary to stay up to date and maintain your personal brand, but not at the expense of not advancing your projects.
After four years working at home most of the days, I think I have managed to create an environment-physical and mental-that allows me to be very productive working. These tips can help you be more productive working if you are in a similar situation.
1. Prepare a comfortable workspace
The place in your house where you work should be just to work, and you should not use the rest, such as the bed or sofa in front of the television, to work. Keep the spaces separate so that the boundaries between productive working and home life are clearly defined.
Use a clean and tidy desk, where it is fun to work. Do not spare resources in your comfort. You will spend many hours there, so buy a comfortable chair, with which you can adopt and maintain good posture for a long time.
Keep the stay well acclimatized. Do not hesitate, excessive heat or cold will ruin your work day. The lighting is also important. Look for an area with good natural lighting, avoid reflections on the computer screen and use a good lamp of cold white light (does not generate heat) if you work at night.
2. Establish one (or several) routines
You need to maintain a certain regularity in your day to day, so that your body and your brain know when it’s time to work and when to rest. Establish a schedule that adapts well to your characteristics and includes productive working time, rest time, leisure time and time to exercise.
Experiment with different options until you have a routine that motivates you and a schedule that works for you. I have two routines with a very similar schedule, one for the days that I go to the gym (4 days a week) and one for the rest, with more time for leisure and home stuff.
3. Plan every day
The hardest part is deciding what to do. You cannot go blind, you have to know what you are going to do every day. Ideally, the previous night spend 5 minutes to write very specific actions that you will perform the next day. If you lie down already knowing what you will do the next day you will sleep better and jump out of bed in the morning with clear ideas.
Of course, in order to plan each day, you have previously had to do a weekly review of your projects and tasks in progress. And for this weekly review to make sense, every few months you should have done a panoramic planning, at a higher level, of your objectives and responsibilities.
4. Work first on your TMIs
When you are defining your daily plan of action, highlight which are the most important tasks (TMIs), that is, those that you must do as soon as possible because they bring you closer to completing projects and reaching objectives.
Mark one, two or, at most, three TMIs and do them at the beginning of the day. If you do the most important tasks first, you will very soon achieve a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction, and the rest of the day will be filmed.
5. Work on blocks of time with breaks between them
There are several techniques to work in blocks of time (alternate work with small breaks), but the best known-and the one I use-the Pomodoro Technique.
Productive working in this way, you keep your concentration better, eliminate interruptions, avoid exhaustion and, as a consequence, increase your productivity and creativity. It is not for everyone, but I advise you to try it for a few days and make the effort to get used to it. Will be worth.
6. Avoid distractions
Super-mega-important. The Pomodoro Technique can help you manage interruptions but, in addition, your strategy to avoid distractions must contemplate other risks.
In your daily routine you should define a couple of moments a day to deal with email, phone calls, access to social networks, reading blogs, sending WhatApps, etc. If you keep all these fronts open all day, that is, all open programs and notifications activated, you are dead. Your productivity will tend to zero and your longed for lifestyle cannot be sustained in any way.
7. Remember why you do what you do
Over time, you are likely to lose some perspective and, with it, the motivation to continue working hard. You need a system that helps you maintain your motivation.
Enter posters, signs and reminders at your workplace to help you remember your values and goals. Use a visual system that reminds you every day why you do what you do, where you are and where you want to go. I use a part of my whiteboard for this.
8. Locate good alternative work sites
In case you did not know, working every day at home tires. No matter how comfortable your place of work, being all day in the same place can get very heavy, especially if you also have no interaction with other human beings.
Look for comfortable cafes, with little noise, WiFi, good coffee and friendly people. Talk to someone about anything and do tasks that require a lower level of concentration. This will give a breath of fresh air to your daily routine.
9. Use a system to organize yourself
Organizing is not as trivial as it seems. It is not just about writing a prioritized list of tasks and crossing out everything you do.
Using a methodology of personal organization such as GTD will allow you to maintain the work flow necessary to advance your current projects and objectives, while maintaining a clear perspective that, ultimately, has to do with your life purpose.
10. And, of course, do not forget to live life
All this would have no mercy if from time to time and without coming to mind you cannot break all the rules, schedules and schedules, and go for a coffee with your friend, to see the football world cup with some friends, to do any what you want with your family, or just relax a bit on the beach. That is why you have chosen this lifestyle and that is why those colleagues who work from 9 to 6 envy you.
You are the owner of your time. That is your greatest reward, take advantage of it!