The year was 1991. I remember my dad popping in that AOL free trial disk. Little did I know this thing called the internet would change the world. Here we are 2020 and a virus has done the same thing. The only difference is that now those who are still working are more than likely working from home. Crazy, right?
There are some of us that have already had to learn how to do this. It’s not as easy of a transition as someone would think. If you are new to the work-from-home situation you will soon realize these things. When you first start, this may seem like an amazing thing. You feel like you are free, but if you don’t keep track of your time you could mess things up.
So since you are working from home now, you are seeing the issues. Working 8 hours a day from home doesn’t mean it’s time to be Tom Cruise in Risky business dancing in your underwear. You still have to work. The only thing that is different is where your office is.
I have been working from home for about 5 years now. It’s referred to as “The Laptop Lifestyle”. It’s been pretty nice being able to work from anywhere. I have traveled a lot while working because I am not tied down to an office location. There are lots of benefits. I save money on gas due to the lack of needing to drive to work and back. I don’t have to worry about having to rush to shower and get shaved. I don’t even have to put work clothes on if I don’t want to! I even have extra time to do things that I probably wouldn’t have time for if I had to be at a desk.
I am not going to lie, working from home is pretty amazing. I love it. Yet, there are things everyone is going to need to keep in mind. That is why I am writing this article. I know a bunch of people who have tried doing this and have a hard time getting anything done. There are definitely things that can stop your productivity.
Because you are working from home, it doesn’t mean you are working as a retiree. It couldn’t be further from the truth. You still have daily tasks and projects to complete. Money does not grow on trees and like any other job, if you don’t work you don’t get paid friends. Regardless of you being your own boss at home, you still have a job, and you still need to earn money. So I am here to dish out my pro-tips. So you can remain as productive as possible. You’ll be able to have a balanced and amazing work and personal life all at the same time. So here you go!
Pro-tip #1: Setting Hours for Yourself
You need to have set work hours for yourself. Just because you are home, it doesn’t mean you can piddle around and work on your own clock. Which leads to long days as well as bad habits. I promise you if you set hours you will get more accomplished. As well as the benefit of getting your tasks done means you also have more time for yourself.
The basic idea is having a start time. I get up around 5:30 am and start work around 7 am. You set a lunchtime. I eat lunch at 12 pm. Finally set an end time. That varies due to the fact I can be done at 3 or 5 pm.
It’s a good practice because most of working from home is a mental game. The schedule keeps you in the same mind as if you would be at work. I find myself a work machine if I start every day at the same time Monday through Friday. Even though I am working from my workstation at home, I still have the same mindset as me being at the office.
Pro-tip #2: Have a Dedicated Workspace
Like having a work schedule, it’s pretty smart to have a special area to work in. The key here is being able to separate work life and home life. If you work from your couch in your living room, it’s hard to flip your personal life switch on. When you sit down to watch a football game, it may trigger your mental work mentality switch.
If you have a roommate or spouse, being in your work area is a sign to be not disturbed. You are able to keep more organized as well. I would suggest something other than your couch or kitchen table. I have a nook that I use as my work station. I don’t even use that area unless I am working. When I leave that area I am done for the day.
Pro-tip #3: Exercise Daily
This is actually a huge one for me. I am an antsy person as is. Being stuck in one place drives me wild. I was in a restaurant for years so staying in one spot all day was rough for me at first.
What I do is once an hour, I take a lap around the complex. Do a few push-ups and other things to get your blood going as well. It increases my ability to focus due to the fact that I am ADD as is. It also helps break up your day and is good for you.
Pro-tip #4: Hire Help
This goes a long way. Sometimes it can be overwhelming. In both your home and personal life. So if you are struggling with something and need help then you can hire someone off Fiverr to take that load off. Time is money. Sometimes it’s better to save time and focus on what else you can do. Instead of trying to figure out video editing or photoshop. It may be better to spend the money and save time in the long run.
Even the small tasks that add up on a daily basis like data entry. You can hire someone in the Philippines to do it for a couple of dollars an hour. It’s worth it to save time. Outsourcing tasks frees you up so you can make more money.
This even goes to your personal life. Why waste your time cleaning if you don’t have the time to do it? The hour or two it takes to clean you could have made more money than it would be to pay someone to clean your house.
Pro-tip #5: No Distractions
This one can be difficult. I had to cut off having tv shows in the background. This is a large one most people do. You can get distracted. It definitely takes your attention away from what you should be doing.
Also your phones. This is a huge time sink. Imagine all the time you spend on your phone or social media accounts when you aren’t working vs when you do work. All those texts you respond to as well as scrolling through posts and commenting, all add up. Put your phone away! Use it during your breaks or your walks.
Pro-tip #6: Socialize
I know this is crazy at the time we are in right now, but it’s still important. I know a lot of people that are using Zoom to have work meetings. It doesn’t stop there. You can use it for social interaction and contact your friends you work with as well. Use your phone and Facetime with your best friend or loved ones. Make sure you do it during breaks of course.
When you finally are able to go out. Go to happy hour or join a bowling league. I play video games with all my friends. There are many ways to socialize, even if you are not allowed to leave your house.
Pro-tip #7: Don’t Run Errands
Because you work from home, it doesn’t mean you have free time that anyone else has. As I said, time is money So when people ask you to run errands because they can’t, tell them no. Unless it’s an actual emergency and they are special, you don’t need to go wait in line for someone to get the new iPhone.
Pro-tip #8: Take Breaks
Like any other job, sometimes you need to take a break. I mean we all get hungry. Staring at a computer screen all day is not the best for your eyes. They need some rest every now and then. We all get hungry. Get up and grab a snack. We all need to take a break every now and then. That’s one of the main perks of working from home. You can take as many as you need. Go out and stretch your legs when you get a chance. It’s always good to do this so you can feel refreshed.
Pro-tip #9: Connect with Other People Who Work At Home
This is a huge one that helped me in the industry I work in. There are tons of groups that you can join. I am part of a few on Facebook. Not only can you make connections with other people. You can make new clients, but you can also meet people that may be able to help you out with goods and services as well. You may be able to make some new friends while you are at it as well.
Pro-tip #10: Find Tools to Help You
This is a major game-changer. Tools make your life easier. I use Google’s programs for everything. It’s kind of an all in one everything for you and it’s free. It’s nice to have all your spreadsheets and important docs as well as email all in one place. There are tons of apps to help you. From calendars to email programs, find the proper tool for everything.
Pro-tip #11: Explain to Everyone What Working from Home Means
Once again people need to know what you are doing. It’s not like you need to be doing people favors. You still have a job. You have certain hours that you need to work. You have projects you need to complete. You don’t need people to be bothering you. Trust me, you’ll have enough distractions as is. You also have money to make!
Pro-tip #12: If You Need it, Ask for it!!!
This applies to people who work for companies and corporations. If you need things, ask for them. If you need a new computer, ask for it. If you need a chair, ask for it. If you need anything down to a stapler, ask for it. The only way they are going to make money is by you working for them. They are there to make your life easier, not more difficult.
Pro-tip #13: Sick Days
Everyone gets sick. If you are sick, you need to rest. You are definitely going to be more comfortable. You aren’t going to be around people. Yes you are able to work, but you can also ask someone to help you out here as well to get your work done. So take the time you need and take the day off. Everyone works better, when they are healthy anyway.
Pro-tip #14: Routine
Routine is everything. You lose these things when you start working from home. Even something as basic as stopping at a gas station and getting coffee and a pastry on your way to the office. Or stopping at the same bar or gas station and getting your favorite beer. All these things add up. Find replacements. Instead of stopping for coffee make it. Take a walk around the house during these stay at home times. Work out instead of going to the gym. Create new routines. Remember after 30 days it should be a habit!
Pro-tip #15: Enjoy!!
Enjoy your new-found freedom of working at home. You should be happy! You should enjoy this. There is no one that is going to be breathing down your neck. Take advantage of everything you have gained.
This is a great thing for you and your family. You will have more free time to spend with your family and friends. You will be able to work on things you never thought you’d have time for. So enjoy your family, friends, and the freedom you have received. Follow these tips and you should have no issues!