The infamous home office, chock-full of distractions. While some envy those working from home, it brings a host of challenges.
Think about it – your workspace is simultaneously your resting space. You're surrounded by countless distractions and it's too easy to lose focus.
As a man who runs an online company with a team that works exclusively from home, I know the struggle.
So, what do you do?
That's the topic of today's article, gentlemen – we're going over how to work effectively from home!
1. Minimize Distractions
This is priority 1, and it takes discipline above all else.
Let's start with your phone – the elephant in the room. Turn it off, put it on silent, and shove it aside. If it's urgent, then they'll call you.
What's next? Your space. Working in a space flanked by a blaring TV and a game console simply won't do. Isolate yourself. Most of us are lacking for space, that's why I've seen men use their laundry rooms as workspaces. Some of you might even go out to your car to work in order to avoid interruptions.
Finally, allocate about 30 minutes to get in the zone. Don't expect to be productive off the bat – calmly set yourself up, open the necessary programs on your laptop, and get to work.
2. Schedule Everything
A daily schedule is essential to working from home.
You're the boss – you set your own hours. You don't have a manager or an office to tell you when to come in or when to leave. This can swiftly leave you in a state of chaos.
The simple solution is to build a comprehensive schedule to make sure everything that needs to get done, gets done.
3. Identify The Biggest Wins
Allow me to introduce the Priority Matrix.
Split your tasks into the four categories you see in the infographic above. Zero in on the tasks that are both critical and urgent. Once you knock those out, you can work your way down to important-but-not-urgent assignments. Don't forget to schedule these in!
Once you move down to urgent (but minor) tasks, you can delegate these to other members in your team who are best-suited for it.
Then, at last, purge the unessentials.
4. Start The Day Early
Don't abuse your flexibility by sleeping in. That blurs the line between work and play.
Instead, pretend as though you're getting up to leave home and follow the appropriate routine. Give yourself time to work out, shower, get dressed, have breakfast, and sit down to work.
Carve out some time to yourself before work starts.
I recommend waking up no later than 5:30 AM, as it allows you some quality time before the kids wake up and demand attention.
5. End The Day Early
It's about balance. You're entitled to equal parts work and rest.
The 8-hour workday is engrained in our society, but if you can make your deadlines in time, then cut it down a couple of hours. I do my best not to work more than 7 hours total, and I encourage my team to do the same.
Don't fall into the trap of working endlessly – it leads to burnout. Before long, you won't be any use to anybody. Work responsibly, gentlemen.
6. Be Kind To Yourself
This has everything to do with mental health.
Remember not to be hard on yourself. Things won't always go according to plan.
Your kids might need emergency care, your wife may need a little extra help. These things happen and it's perfectly ok to falter from the schedule.
It's there for you to strive toward an ideal – and hopefully, you stick to it 90% of the time. If not, simply amend it to better fit your needs.
Be flexible and do what you can.
7. Make Deadlines
Deadlines make the world go round. They are what keeps businesses afloat and what keeps schools running.
Deadlines mean progress.
Firm deadlines breed firm discipline.
The key to working from home is to set your own deadlines and to stay true to them. Turning in something that's incomplete sucks, but so does never turning in anything at all – and obsessing over it until it's perfect.
This brings us to my next point…
8. Set Realistic Goals
Your regimen won't matter if you set impossible deadlines. Nothing here applies to everybody, you need to determine what's “realistic” for you and you alone.
I will relay some valuable advice from one of my favorite books, Essentialism. Among its many lessons, it tells us that just because you did something once, it doesn't mean you can do it every single time.
Example: Let's say it took me three hours to write a 2,000-word report. Pretty fast, right? Does that mean every single report, regardless of subject matter, is going to go that fast? Absolutely not. Different topics require different sources from which to draw information. Some topics are simply more complex than others, etc.
Adapt to each assignment and plan accordingly.
When you don't have anybody around you to enforce a deadline or to keep updated, it's essential to over-communicate when working from home.
What does this mean? Emails, emails, and more emails. Whenever you aren't sure of something, ask questions. If you need feedback, directly contact the person you need it from.
What's the worst-case scenario here? Your colleagues telling you to ease up. It's no big deal!
10. Setting Timers
Another essential to working from home is to take regular breaks. Remember, there's no hurry.
The caveat here is that you can't take too many breaks, right? So, where does a man draw the line?
A system that works for me is the 25/5 cycle. This is where I hunker down and do 25 minutes of focused, steady work. Then, I break off for a 5-minute break.
Doing this over and over ensures that I'm never burnt out on a project while making progress.
11. A Badass Playlist
Can music help you focus? Northcentral University says it can. They determined that different kinds of music can have a profound effect on your attitude.
For instance, music with a high tempo will help you focus for longer. A classic example is Beethoven’s Fur Elise, which yields 60-70 beats per minute.
High-paced music can get you in the zone.
There's no shortage of music apps so I don't need to go into considerable detail. If you use Spotify, for instance, there are playlists designed especially for high focus.
Music is invaluable when you're working from home.
12. Become A Laser
This is true for any man regardless of where he works. The danger behind multitasking is that you don't get anything done.
Multiple tasks pop up at once, and you can't help but try to tackle them all. Your friend also gave you a call and you're trying to catch up while making headway.
Gentlemen, this goes back to the very first point – eliminate distractions at all costs. Focus yourself like a laser at one task at a time, and see it to completion.
13. Have Short Meetings
Nothing is more tedious than a long-winded, often unnecessary, meeting. They sap your desire to work whilst devouring the time in your day.
The solution? Keep it short, keep it simple. Do your best to ensure that meetings never exceed 15 minutes.
Planned meetings should take no more than 15 minutes.
Furthermore, make sure that every meeting has an agenda. Make it a rule; No plan? No meeting. It's decisive and (almost) guarantees you won't stay there longer than you need to.
14. Run Sprints
What's a sprint? A timeframe where a specific task has to be completed by a team. This is common with online companies. It's essentially a fast-paced group project.
It's a way to keep yourself beholden to others and to stay focused. Have them often!
15. Treat Yourself
Working from home doesn't need to be a drag. You have the advantage of indulging whenever you like.
Turn this into a system.
Establish milestones – especially for larger projects – and take your favorite drink or snack whenever you reach those goals.
No, not alcohol… I'm talking about coffee, soda, or tea. Have these with your breaks!
Summary – Working From Home
- Minimize distractions
- Schedule everything
- Identify the biggest wins
- Start the day early
- End it early, too
- Be kind to yourself
- Make deadlines
- Set realistic goals
- Setting timers
- A badass playlist
- Become a laser
- Have short meetings
- Embrace sprints
- Treat yourself
When your office becomes your home, your world changes. Distractions are rampant, but with the right guidelines, you can stay laser-focused.
You can make money from home in several ways. Writing for blogs, virtual assistance, and selling on Amazon are just a few. Web developer, translator, family therapist, franchise owner, tutor. It depends on your line of work, just like any job. Owning a successful blog can yield great returns, and even small tasks like paid surveys can provide an income boost.
Can I make a living at home?
What are good stay at home jobs?
Do online jobs really pay?
You can make money from home in several ways. Writing for blogs, virtual assistance, and selling on Amazon are just a few.
Web developer, translator, family therapist, franchise owner, tutor.
It depends on your line of work, just like any job. Owning a successful blog can yield great returns, and even small tasks like paid surveys can provide an income boost.