Five Tips for Working From Home
Andy Fleming writing on working from home…
If you’re looking into transitioning to the homesteading or off-grid life, you’ve probably put some thought into the idea of earning from home. For those of us used to going into the office every day, this can be a big change that takes some getting used to. You may find being at home lends itself to distraction or fails to provide you the motivation you need to get going.
Working from home can be a rewarding and relaxing experience. Being able to set your own schedule and take breaks when you need them can increase productivity if you’re not falling into bad habits. For a homesteader or someone off-grid, being able to stay motivated at home is especially important, as you’ll have the extra “work” of tending to food production, taking care of farm animals, doing maintenance…and so on.
Once you get into the habit of treating home work like office work, you’ll likely find the practice less stressful and more satisfying at the end of the day. It’s great not having to worry about your boss staring over your shoulder, and to know that the only people you need to “impress” are your clients and yourself. Here’s some tips to get you off the couch and help you find your stride in a home work environment.
1. Create a schedule and stick to it
Sometimes, people who shift from a job at the office to working from home fall into the trap of thinking that they’ll just work whenever they feel like it. The problem is, unless you really love your job, there’s always going to be times when you just don’t feel like working. This is all fine and good if you’re ahead of schedule. In fact, one of the best things about working from home is not having to resort to looking productive in front of your co-workers and management. But what happens if you’ve got a deadline coming up and just don’t want to work?
It’s easier to just slack off when there’s no one around to see you do it. But, if you stick to a strict schedule, you can mitigate the temptation. Start early, and try to mimic your routine from when you were going into the office. Working in your pajamas is a nice perk, but not if it encourages you to get back in bed. Set a time that you’re going to be at your desk, no matter what. Make yourself rush if you have to.
Conversely, once you’ve put in a full day’s worth of work, resist the urge to keep going. Don’t check your e-mails or try to finish something extra late in the evening. You might end up feeling like you’re always on the job, which can lead to stress and anxiety.
2. Focus on one thing at a time
Don’t try to fold laundry while reading over the day’s reports or do the dishes while making phone calls. While this might seem like a great way to get more done in a shorter time, you’ll end up distracting yourself from the tasks at hand. This can both slow you down and lead to sub-par work across the board.
On the other hand, using something like the washing machine’s cycle as a timer can push you to get more done faster. Set goals and coordinate them with household chores if you want. Just don’t try to multi-task.
3. Identify your most productive times
Once you start to get used to working from a home office, do some thinking about your daily routine. Are there times when you’re consistently more or less productive? Is there a way you can alter your schedule to take advantage of this? If you find you work much better in the mornings, try starting your day off with your hardest tasks and move easier tasks to times when you tend to be less productive.
4. Take breaks and enjoy them
You might find that the time just whizzes by when you’re working at home, but it’s more likely you’ll hit a rut sometime after midday and need a break. Figure out what’s most helpful in terms of getting you back to 100% efficiency. A short stint in the garden, or lunch and a jog, can get your brain going again in a hurry. The most important thing is not to feel bad about taking a break. You deserve it.
5. Find the “office ambience” that works best for you
Most people who work from home have something they like to keep on in the background. Complete silence can actually be distracting, as there’s nothing to occupy the unconscious parts of your mind. Classical or ambient music is a common favorite for some, while others find having the history channel or a nature documentary playing on a nearby TV helpful. Just make sure whatever you have playing is conducive to work and not distracting in any way.
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