Most people think that working from home means sleeping in ‘til late, lounging around in pyjamas with your laptop propped on a pillow and the TV on in the background.
For most at-home workers, the reality is a difficult balancing act between maximising productivity without being distracted by household demands that float around in your peripheral vision. Conversely, there’s also the challenge of not letting your work life creep into your home life.
With the right mindset, some preparation and initiative, you can get through the workday at home and achieve true work life balance. Here are a few tips on how to keep motivated and work from home successfully.
Creating your own work space that’s comfortable and stimulating will motivate you more than sitting in bed, in front of the telly, or among piles of miscellaneous clutter in the back room.
Essentials for a good working environment are a desk, good quality chair and ample lighting. Appropriate lighting will reduce eye fatigue and make it easier to focus on tasks.
Houseplants and vision boards can fuel your creativity and increase your productivity, but if you want to go the extra mile, take yourself on a trip to the shops and splurge on some new stationery.
You can claim stationery as a tax deduction as well as depreciation of office equipment like your computer. Depending on how often you work from home you may also be able to deduct work-related phone and internet costs.
It’s a good idea to plan ahead and set some goals to win that day. If you have an at-home business, organise all the tasks you will need to tackle, schedule any meetings or calls, even your lunch break.
You will be more likely to hold yourself accountable and complete your activities on time if you’re organised. If you struggle to keep to a schedule, apps like Toggl and Timely are great for timekeeping and tracking your productivity.
If you work from home on an occasional basis, it’s important to set up a group calendar with your work colleagues so that you don’t miss out on any scheduled meetings or reminders. Allocate a time of day where your colleagues know they can reach you and schedule in any calls, so that you can focus on your work outside of this time.
Start the day by waking up early, get dressed and ready for a work day. Put in some effort, rather than just kicking back in sweats and messy hair. You don’t have to dress up as if you are going to work, but minimal effort goes a long way. You’re more likely to be motivated to take on the daily grind when you look and feel good.
Jumping straight into work and tackling the more important tasks head on will give you momentum for the rest of your work day. Procrastination in the morning isn’t going to benefit you and you’ll end up working late into the evening, so set yourself some goals, track your time and this will help increase your productivity.
If you regularly work from home, changing up your atmosphere and working at a café, library or shared workspace can make you more productive, and is good for your sanity.
Sometimes you need to get out of the same four walls and interact with other people, even if it’s simply ordering a coffee from your barista.
So if you’re stuck for ideas or even lacking motivation, it might be time to go for a walk to the nearest café and try to spark some creativity there.
It’s not hard to lose track of time and get caught up in your work, especially when you’re working in a relaxing environment. You don’t have the same energy of co-workers packing up and going home to remind you it’s the end of the day. Pick a time to finish and aim to stop at that time every day.
If you easily lose track of time, set an alarm to remind yourself that your work day is coming to an end, so that you can start saving your work and begin the end of day process. Even if you don’t finish at that time, knowing your work day is technically over will help you wrap things up for the day.
Sometimes you just can’t avoid working late, but try not to make it a habit and don’t feel obligated to let your work life immerse into your personal life. Logging off for the day, having some down time and enjoying dinner and personal time without work distractions is important. The less stress you feel going to sleep, the more motivated you will be for the next day.
The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of State Custodians.
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