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Working from home can sound amazing – to people who haven’t actually attempted to do it. Working from home certainly isn’t for everybody. You have to be able to motivate yourself effectively to ensure you can get work and get it done. If you can’t be bothered to get dressed and sit around watching Netflix all day, then you’re probably not going to be able to earn the money you need to live. There are advantages to working from home, but sometimes, it can be even harder than working for somebody else. After all, when you work for somebody else, you know exactly when you start and exactly when you’re going to finish. Many people don’t have to take their work home with them either. The lines can be somewhat blurry when you work from home, and you can find yourself working for longer hours – sometimes feeling like you’re still not getting enough done.
The ultimate key to getting plenty done when you work from home is being able to get in the zone. We’ve all been in the zone, so we all know how great it feels when we can just knock work we have right out of the park without a second thought! When you’re not in the zone, it can feel like you’re a failure. Despair can carry over into everything else you do that day, and many people feel like tearing out their hair.
To help, we have 12 things you can do to get into the zone. Whether you work from home full time, part time, or this is something you’re thinking of transitioning into, the pointers below can help you. Enjoy!
First of all, make sure you have a great space to work. The ideal working space can be different for everybody, so you’ll need to know what motivates you and helps you to stay focused. Ideally, it’ll be in a room where you can be alone – high traffic rooms like the living room or lounge are rarely a good place to set up your workstation. However, you might not have all that much space or choice in the matter. If you have to work in an open space, make sure you have guidelines for how other members of the household should act. For example, not bugging you unless it’s an emergency. You may also find over ear headphones helpful if you find it tough to drown out that noise.
Other great elements of an at home workspace include:
Sometimes, you may find working from another location allows you to be more productive than working at home, for example, a coffee shop. While they can be noisy, sometimes they can be helpful for creative writing tasks and things that don’t require you to crunch numbers. It’s a good idea if you can get used to working in multiple settings, as you never know what the future might hold. It’s always nice for freelancers to have a change of scenery, too!
Don’t just get out of bed and sit down to work. If you do this, you’re unlikely to want to get right into your work at all. You’ll probably find you browse a few social media sites, read a few emails, scroll a little, and just procrastinate until you have to start.
Instead, come up with a routine that helps you to get into the right mindset. For example, get up at the same time every day and enjoy a hot drink. Try drinking a pint of water and lemon before the hot drink to rehydrate your body and revitalize your brain. We can feel groggy when we aren’t hydrated enough! You could even read a few chapters of a self help book, and do a few yoga poses. Some people also enjoy setting intentions for the day with journaling as it gets them pumped up and keeps them focused on their goals. Have a routine that makes you feel good and want to dive out of bed. Then, make sure you feel raring to work before you sit down to get things done!
You want to be working under artificial light as rarely as possible. Try to work somewhere you can make the most of natural light. Get outside for a short while before you start work if you can!
Everybody enjoys a coffee from time to time, but in an ideal world, it won’t be a crutch that you have to use to get things done. Look at your sleep pattern and ensure you’re getting enough sleep if you feel like you have to have coffee to get through the day. The best times to have coffee are usually around 10am and earlier in the afternoon. This spreads out the buzz and allows you to make the most of the natural hormones the body uses to wake up early in the morning.
Listening to music while you work is great, but it can depend on the kind of music you listen to. Classical music and plain instrumental music is great for almost any kind of work. However, music that has too many words can be distracting, as the brain can feel like it’s trying to do two things at once. Everybody works differently, so there may be exceptions. Some people prefer to work in total silence. Test out what works best for you and what makes you feel raring to go.
You have to be comfortable as you work. Don’t be afraid to invest in a nice seat, desk, and equipment so you can get your job done to the best of your ability. You’ll only struggle to get things done if you have an old fashioned computer and hard chair, and working won’t be enjoyable. You can get a little crazy if you feel like it and invest in a memory foam bean bag – they can be a great alternative option for working on or even having as somewhere to sit and brainstorm ideas in your home office. Don’t forget, you can claim these things as expenses when used solely for work!
Nobody should sit for hours without a break. Nobody. Take regular breaks, but schedule them into your day so you don’t feel guilty, or like you’re procrastinating. A short break should allow you to come back to your work refreshed and ready to go again. Keep them short, though, so you don’t get out of the zone. Shorter, more regular breaks are nearly always better than one or two long breaks.
As you’re working from home, it can be tough for you if family members and friends don’t realize that what you’re actually doing is really work. They might call you and ask to go for coffee, or even arrive at your house unannounced. Make sure you’re firm with them beforehand so they know not to bother you at certain times of day. As we mentioned before, working remotely does have its benefits, but for the most part, you do need to act like you have a job.
Working in your pyjamas can sometimes be part of the fun, but it can also hinder you if you’re not careful. Think about it logically; do you feel more productive wearing work clothes, or sweats? You’ll often find you get more done and feel in the right mindset when you look the part.
Maybe you don’t feel like doing much when you get out of bed, or you feel drained part way through the day. A great way to combat this is exercise. Going for a quick run, doing a few sprints, or even just doing a few star jumps can help you to get your blood pumping and energy back up. People like Tony Robbins swear by this! Usually, doing a workout in the morning can help you to have a more productive, happier day overall.
Maybe you don’t need to get moving. Maybe what you really need is a nap. If you’re doing work that is taxing on your mental energy, having a short 15-20 minute nap can leave you feeling refreshed, with better memory retention, and enjoying a plethora of other benefits. The challenge is forcing yourself to wake up. If you stay sleeping, you’ll feel groggier and likely won’t want to go back to work.
No matter how tempting it is, don’t go on your emails or social media for a few hours in the morning. Use this time to get the real work done without letting the outside world in!