How to Boost Your Productivity Working From Home

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It’s Monday tomorrow and I can smell the dread from you – a mile away. Yeah, I do. Stop looking at me like that. You’re nursing your drink from the bar with regret written all over your face. I won’t pretend to read your mind, but I can guess what’s going to happen to you tomorrow.  Here let me break it down for you.

Let’s Start With Your Morning Routine

Time to wake up and it resembles the second stanza of the sitcom Friends’ theme song:

“You’re still in bed at ten and work began at eight

You’ve burned your breakfast, so far things are going great

Your mother warned you there’d be days like these

But she didn’t tell you when the world has brought you down to your knees that”

The Rembrandts have never said it any better. You might tell me that I’m exaggerating. But at the back of your mind, you know I’m right.

Time to Face the Gauntlet of Your Daily Commute 

Great. So you survived the going through your morning prep routine. You now have to hurdle the dangers of your daily commute. Time to go get an Uber – which miraculously everyone is going to do. No, maybe I can go to subway. But wait, it’s not working today. Maybe it’s time to start doing that marathon to get to your building. It’s million miles from here and your day hasn’t even started yet.

Your Main Course of the Day Is Drama From the Office

Yay. You survived the post-apocalyptic wasteland of the daily commute. Time to face that boss you love so much you want to hug him in the throat with your bare hands. Oh wait. Here’s your best friend: that annoying guy you want to give a high five on the face with a folding chair. Office politics and drama is at such a high frequency you decide that you don’t need that Netflix subscription anymore. But who am I kidding, if hell existed it’s the cubicle dungeon you are chained o.

But wait, there’s more! Throat-huggable boss is now looking for volunteers to work on both days of the weekend. Will you get paid? Not on your fricking life! And yeah, it’s mandatory. Life just got sweeter in your perfect worklife.

The Horror Show Ride Home

You’ve survived. Barely. Your sanity is taking a hit everyday. You can only take so much before going postal. Now you’re ready to go home to get your much-needed repose.

Et Voila. Time to take the ride home. Another traffic situation. Another grueling commute. But hey, c’est la vie. Now that you’re home, you take out a frozen dinner and nuke it in the microwave. Watch some movies you illegally downloaded then sleep. Time to repeat the process ad libitum, ad nausea-um.

Now you got tired of working away from home. So you decide to make it out doing work at home.

Looking at the work situation that you have, you probably answered the question of why I should work at home. Of course, there are more reasons to work from home. Let me tell you some of them:

  • You own your own time. The daily rat race of working 9-to-5 is only an option that you can do. You can work anytime you want. That work timer at the office is no longer the invisible shackle to you.
  • More family and personal time. If you’re a working parent with kids, this could be a godsend. If you have a newborn kid, you can now witness a lot of firsts. If you have older kids, you won’t have a problem focusing on them. What about for single people? You now have time to learn that hobby or skill that you want. With the increased personal time, the possibilities are endless.
  • You can get paid for your passion.Did you learn a new hobby? That could be a start of a profitable enterprise. Turn your passion into a budding business.
  • You learn to manage your finances better. With the time that you have, you can finally learn how to manage those money matters. Start a business to get more cashflow. Learn to manage what you have, and you are your boss.
  • Managing your taxes. When you work for yourself, there are tax advantages that no employee gets. You can get tax deductions from the things you use your internet bill, water, and electricity. When you work for yourself, you can deduct your expenses than paying your taxes on the net income. Of course, you must learn the proper tax laws for this. Which is a good skill to learn?
  • No more uncomfortable uniforms and corporate monkey suits. Imagine working on sweatpants. No one will care if you work in your underwear as long as you do your job. Who knows, you can do you it au naturel and is stunningly effective.
  • No more horror show commutes. Aside from not facing the morning rush horde, you already saved a lot. No more paying for fares or using gas needlessly. You save time and money while you sit pretty on your bum all day.
  • No more office drama. Say good bye to your terrible boss. Say good bye to that coworker you love to hate. The workplace drama is now far away. Need I say more?
  • Sanity and Satisfaction. Of course, you have the sanity you already wanted all along. No one is going to take that away from you. You already have the peace of mind you were craving for when you once worked in that dungeon you called an office.

So How Do You Begin?

Preparations. Understand that working at home might have the hype, but you still need to prepare. If by a miracle your boss decides to give you a chance to work at home, that’s good. You just have to prepare your workplace. But what if, you find a different company who mercifully gave you the chance to work at home? Then you also have to prepare your workplace as well. But if none of that happens, you have to find work freelance. So prepare your CV or resume and run the gauntlet of freelance sites. You can read some of this post (Link)

Setting up your workplace.  Prepare the following things when you set up your home office:

  • Workplace. You have to make sure that you have a dedicated place to work. Don’t do work on a couch. Not on the dining table. Not even on your bedroom. You have to delineate some place where you can do the work. Or else it’s not going to be efficient.
  • Internet Connection. This is your lifeline to the outside world. You need the connection to contact clients and other people remotely. And of course, go online to have some fun.
  • Computer. You don’t need a fancy setup for your work. You need something that would work for your specific jobs. As long as it gets the job done, it wouldn’t matter if it’s a PC or a Mac, a laptop or a desktop.
  • Phone. Some clients need to contact you on the phone. So make sure that you have a phone that can work well.
  • Noise-canceling headset and Webcam. If you have work involving talking on Skype or other communications platforms, it’s a good bet to get a noise-canceling headset. I suggest using Plantronics headphones. You don’t need a Go-pro for a webcam. But you can choose from the following, so you know what to use.

Useful Software. It depends on what kind of task you must do. If you do writing and other clerical tasks, you need to use MS Office or other alternatives. You can also use other writing software like Scrivener.

You need communications platforms like Skype or Slack. Of course, this depends on your client or job.

You also need to work on your books and financial details. Some accounting software like QuickBooks and Quicken will do you great help.

There are a lot of software you can and have to use. What matters is that you have what you need at the instance.

Ways to Thrive and Boost Productivity in Your Home Based Life 

Ways to Schedule and Maximize Your Time

  • Set up a schedule that you can follow. Of course, you can handle your time, that’s one of the appealing things that made you sign up for the home-based worklife. But this does not mean that you have to work without a proper schedule. A schedule structures your sanity in your work place. And it makes you more productive.
  • Set up systems to make things more streamlined. Systems make you more effective in your work. It is important to follow them because it makes you do your work even if you might not feel it. Systems are habits to make things extremely effective.
  • Follow Parkinson’s Law. Parkinson’s law simply means that work expands to fill the time for its completion. This means that you must set personal deadlines to follow. For example, if you were given a task that requires a week, try to set a personal deadline that makes you finish it in half the time. If you follow the deadline of one week, you might end up doing the task at the eleventh hour.

Ways to Learn Skills Quickly

Set up SMART goals. Make goals that are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time-Bound

In doing so, you make sure that you can do something that is realistic and doable.

DiSSS-CaFE. Tim Ferriss made this in a book called “The 4 Hour Chef.” Here’s the breakdown:

  • Deconstruction – Find out how the skill works.
  • Select – Choose the most important things to learn for the skill
  • Sequencing – Decide the most effective order of learning
  • Stakes – Find a way to motivate yourself
  • Compression – Summarize your learning
  • Frequency – Find the best duration and frequency for learning
  • Encoding – Find ways to recall important concepts and actions for your skill

Follow this framework to make the process of learning skills faster and more efficient.

Ways to Relax

Find time to rest and recharge. Working from home need not make you a workaholic. Set a schedule and make sure that you have adequate rest. Burnout is not exclusive to working in office sweatshops. It can also happen to people like you working from home.

Find time to do fun non-work activities. All work and no play make the home worker dull and lifeless. You need to have fun too. Granted that you have a good chunk of time, you can always do a lot of fun activities. The important thing is variety. You don’t need to have a dull time. Do something different everytime.

Meditate. There are a plethora of things that you can find out about meditation. But it’s something that you must do. It helps your sanity and keeps you focused on the tasks that you can do. Here are some benefits of meditating:

  • It gives you a calm mind.
  • It improves your concentration
  • It provides you needed clarity
  • It helps you improve your communication
  • It relaxes and rejuvenates the mind

Mentally it can help you achieve the following things:

  • Improved emotional stability
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Greater creativity
  • Clarity and peace of mind
  • Increased Happiness

Physically it can do the following things for you:

  • It lowers your blood pressure
  • It improves your immune system
  • It increases your energy levels
  • It increases serotonin production that improves mood and behavior
  • It decreases tension-related pain like headaches, ulcers, insomnia, muscle and joint problems.

I know you can’t wait to start in your home based journey. In any case, you know that you can get in, survive better and thrive in work from home situation. Good luck to you. It’s going to be a fun ride. See you on the other side.

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