Some people choose to work from home. Bless their hearts, but you’re not one of them, which is why you’re here. Your couch, with its comfy pillows, is beckoning. Your fridge, with its stock of tortilla chips and salsa, is beckoning. That YouTube tab is beckoning.
And, meanwhile, your neighbors have decided it’s the perfect time to start weed whacking, your cat thinks it’s a good idea to scratch a hole through the rug, and your phones are ringing off the hook… both of them at once. It’s Mom on the home phone and your boss on your cell. Who gets precedence?
Here are the 12 tips that will hopefully stop you from ripping your head off
1. Stick to a schedule.
If you’re used to working in an office setting, stick to the schedule you use there when working from home! If you get into work at nine in the morning, then start work at home at nine in the morning. If you’re off at five, let yourself off at five. Don’t under-do it… or overdo it. This will keep you getting work done while avoiding burnout in the process.
2. Create a workspace for yourself.
If you already have a beautiful office tucked away in the corner of the house, wonderful! If not, carve yourself out a little space in a spare room or in a corner. When you step into your workspace, it’s time to work. And put up a big DO NOT DISTURB sign so that no one trespasses on your mind while it’s hard at work.
3. Wear work clothes.
This might sound silly since, of course, no one’s watching you when you’re working remotely. But putting on proper work attire — whatever you’d wear if you had to go into the office — can sometimes do a lot, mentally and psychologically, to set you up for a long day of work. Use it as a mental tick to clue your mind into being productive.
4. Create a task list for the day.
Even if you’re not a planner, you’ll find it useful to have a list of tasks you hope to accomplish for the day. If your day goes off the ropes, it’s okay — add the tasks to tomorrow. This will still help you add structure, as well as keeping you more productive. Breaking the day into tasks can also help ease the dread of all that work that has to get done.
5. Remember your meals.
Would you work through lunch at the office? Probably not. So make sure that you eat yourself a nutritious midday lunch, nothing too unhealthy but nothing too extravagant. A turkey sandwich or a grilled cheese would be perfect. If you’re a snacker, plan a couple of snacks throughout your workday to help you get through. Eating will keep you and your mind alert and ready for work.
6. Take breaks.
Even a short 5-10 minute break will do wonders for your productivity. Build breaks into your workday so that you won’t be working nonstop, especially if you’re the type of person who works nonstop when there’s no one — and nothing — to interrupt your flow. You’ll find that you’re better off for taking a breather once in a while. Nothing hurts productivity like burnout.
7. Stay hydrated.
Water is essential to life — and working remotely. Never forget it, even when you’re ramming your way through briefs like nobody’s business. Keep a bottle or glass of water on hand at all times, and keep sipping throughout the day. This will keep you focused and productive.
8. Consider earplugs or headphones.
If you’re working in a noisy environment (with the buzz of your neighbor’s weed whacker or around children), consider investing in a pair of noise-canceling headphones, or at least some commonplace earplugs. These handy tools may up your productivity — and sanity — considerably.
9. Keep on plugging.
Even if it’s a long, hard day, don’t give up. Don’t give in to the temptation of TV and a bowl of popcorn. You’ve got work to do, and people depend on you — whether you’re in the office or not. Keep yourself accountable, and keep at it until it’s time to punch out.
10. Play with your cats, kids, imaginary friends, shadow on the wall…
Take at least one break to have playtime with your pet, your kids, or whoever else you have in your life. They’ll be grateful, and so will you. Even if it’s rewarding yourself during lunch break with a couple minutes on an online game or a gossip website you love, the little things go a long way.
11. Listen or play some music.
If you’re musical, try whipping out that guitar in the back of your closet and strumming along to a few songs. Just don’t get carried away. If you’re not musical, but love music (who doesn’t?), then put on your favorite hits. Again, don’t get carried away. Use listening to a couple of songs as a reward for some hard work, and your productivity will thank you.
12. Be happy!
It could be worse. You could be stuck in a cubicle, which is a very particular kind of cage made just for humans like you. Instead, you’re at home, roaming free in your domain. So take advantage of the freedom, be happy, and do your most challenging work.
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