Updated: Dec 4, 2020
With social isolation increasing I wanted to share with you my best tips for working from home effectively. Having worked from home for the better part of a decade I have learned a few hacks along the way to maximise productivity and efficiency.
Tips for Working From Home Effectively
| HAVE A SOLID MORNING ROUTINE
My number one top for working from home effectively is to have a solid morning routine. Get up early (as if you were heading into the office). Here are the things I like to do first thing in the morning:
Exercise + mediation
Shower + get dressed (If you work in your pjs you are not going to feel great and this will affect your work.)
Prep food for the day
Fill up water bottle
Do the housework (make the bed – kids do their own, put on a load of washing, clean up after breakfast, sweep floors and tidy up the common areas).
By doing all of this first thing in the morning, I will be less likely to get distracted by personal tasks during work time.
| PREPARE YOUR TO DO LIST AT THE END OF EACH WORK DAY
I like to prepare my top 5 priorities just before I close off for the day. This way I can hit the ground running when I start work in the morning. On the days I don’t do this I waste a good half hour thinking about where I was up to the day prior and planning my day ahead.
| WORK IN 50 MINTUE BLOCKS
I have found I am most productive in 50-minute work blocks. I then take a 10-minute breaks at the end of each block. By working in 50-minute blocks I am able to work intensely on the task at hand with laser-like focus.
| CREATE A SPACE TO WORK
In an ideal world you would have a home office set up away from communal living spaces. This allows you to
fully immerse yourself in work (without distraction). Also, from a lifestyle perspective it will help you to create physical boundaries between work and home. I like to close my office door at the end of each day.
If it’s not feasible to create a home office in a separate room, I recommend having an ‘office box’. Pack away all of your work at the end of the day and put it away. That way you won’t be tempted to work when you are ‘off duty’.
Working around the clock is not only harmful to your wellbeing and relationships, it’s also detrimental to your work. Your productivity will fall and mistakes will creep in.
| COMMUNICATION IS KEY
If you have two people working from home with kids at home too, negotiate who is responsible for watching over the kids at all times. Even older kids need support throughout the day. It’s far better to be up front and organised on this ahead of the day. That way you are not left scrambling on the fly over client meetings etc. It also enables you to set expectations with your colleagues or clients.
| BE FLEXIBLE WITH WORK TIMES WHEN KIDS ARE AT HOME
When my kids are at home with me, I prefer to get up early and work for a few hours. It’s one of the best ways to promote effectiveness when working from home. I then spend the morning with my kids. In the afternoon a movie goes on and I get stuck back into work. And if I need to do extra work I will work in the evenings when they are in bed.
Work days need to be flexible when you are working at home with children. Please don’t be so hard on yourself (the conventional 9-5 may not work in such situations).
| TOOLS OF THE TRADE
Make sure you have everything you need to make it work from home. This includes a good internet connection, reliable laptop and a printer if you need to print off documents.
There are an abundance of excellent apps to support a home office, including the camscanner app. This is great for turning photos into scanned documents (it flattens the image so it becomes more legible).
Let me know if you would like me to go further into the apps I use for my business.
| STAY NOURISHED AND HYDRATED
There is a temptation to snack on unhealthy food when you’re busy. I try not to purchase much of this stuff anyway. Instead I have as much fresh fruit and vegetables in the fridge as possible. I like to prepare a week’s worth of green smoothies in advance. I throw the bags into the freezer and that way I don’t waste time chopping up ingredients during work time.
I also make sure I have a bottle of water on my desk at all times, as well as plenty of herbal tea.
| CONNECT WITH THE OUTSIDE WORLD
When working from home, it’s easy to find yourself isolated. It’s important you create time to communicate with others. If we move into social isolation with coronavirus, this can be done via video link, Facetime or phone. Resist the urge to always send e-mails. Human relationships are extremely important and nothing can substitute hearing someone’s voice or seeing their mannerisms via Facetime.
| REDUCE DISTRACTIONS
If you are working on a piece of work that requires deep concentration, you need to reduce distractions. Close down all other applications on your desktop and remove your mobile phone from the office so you are not picking it up at every notification.
| USE A PROJECT PLANNING TOOL TO STAY ON TRACK
Asana is a great resource for keeping your projects moving forward both as a solopreneur or within a team environment. As a business leader you can oversee all projects taking place and you can own and assign tasks.
Asana also has a really good basic free plan where you can communicate with up to 15 people and it’s very easy to get up and running quickly..
That's it for now. But I would love to know your tips for working from home effectively! Pop then into the comments below.