Working from home always sounds like a dream come true, but unless you are blessed with the ability to self-manage (or you’ve painstakingly drilled that skill into yourself), then it can quickly become a nightmare. When the TV is just across the hallway, there are dirty dishes in the sink that you could quickly wash, and the snack drawer is perilously close, productivity can sometimes waver. This guide will give you some simple tips on making sure that working from home doesn’t become just a glorified phrase for ‘slacking’.
Lists Are Your Friend
Remember how you used to make fun of your mom for always making lists for every little thing? Ok, maybe your mom wasn’t quite the same as my mom. Either way, it seems that moms were onto something when they got out their pad and pen. List writing is a really good way of clearly visualising the tasks you have to do. Start by writing down your work tasks, then your personal tasks. Once that’s done, give them a number from one to three, based on importance. One is the most important, three is the least important. During your work day, try to get all of your number ones done, then in your free time do the same for your personal tasks. Don’t start on any twos or threes until you’ve finished all of the ones. Working in this way means that you’re always doing the most important things first and nothing gets forgotten.
The Pomodoro Technique
If you want to make that list work go even further, then try out this simple productivity trick. The Pomodoro technique asks you to work solidly for 20 minutes, then take a 5-minute break and repeat the process for the duration of your working day. These bursts of concentrated work are a great way to get your brain to focus. We’re all guilty of being easily distracted, it’s just how humans work. Starting with 20 minutes of uninterrupted focused work is a great way to break things down into manageable chunks. Don’t forget that the 5-minute break is just as important as the 20 minutes of work. This time allows your brain to relax and rest. During the allotted five minute break, you are free to do whatever you want. It’s genuinely important that you take this break and do something other than work in it. You might text a friend or find a quick play game online – such as one from this list of the best free games that you can fit into five minutes – sing along to a song or two, or just flick through Facebook. Whatever you choose to do, once that five minutes is up, it’s back to work.
Don’t Forget to Move
When you’re working at the office, you’ll have to at least walk to the staff kitchen to get a coffee and you might even have to do a run to Starbucks. When you’re working at home, you’ll have to take a couple of steps to the kitchen and you’re done. Little things like this mean that, often, when we’re working from home we are less active, so it’s important to build some activity into your day. Not only does this help you to get closer to your step goals, it also helps you to think. Many of our best ideas come when we are walking, because the repetitive movement helps our minds to wander. Believe it or not, a wandering mind is a creative one and creative thinking is exactly what helps us find our best ideas.