Imagine not traveling all the way to work, not dragging yourself to one of those meetings about meetings, not even be bothered to look the part always and not break a sweat about being on time. Sounds like a dream, and also sounds a lot like working from home. But then work hardly happens at home, or does it? If you’re not sure of the answer and are looking for ways where you can ensure that you’re at your professional self at your home, then you’ve come to the right place.
Here are some tips using which you can make working from home a lot more about being productive and a little less about getting distracted continuously.
Define Your Working Hours Clearly
As strange as it sounds, knowing your “Working Hours” is crucial. Especially when you’re working from home. The first step to do that is, forget that you’re working from home and deal with distractions by asking yourself this question: “If I was at work right now, would I be doing this?” If the answer is no, you just drop the thought of doing that and get back to your work. But then there are certain tasks like picking up kids or responding to a personal emergency; there’s no way around them. Treat them as exceptions and make sure they never become the rule.
Break Your Day Into Slots
If your line of work requires you to be in “Maker” mode, then set aside time for focused work. If your job needs you to be in “Manager” mode by responding to emails and tasks as and when they come up, then split your day into easily manageable chunks. The point is to choose or create a schedule that’s in line with your focus and energy levels, and always, works for you. Then decide which are the tasks you want to tackle during that period. It is better if you turn away from notifications or close that e-mail tab so that you have all the energy and you get the time you’ve set for the completion of the task at hand. If you’re expecting a lot of emails and messages during that time, drop a message to your peers or colleagues that you’ll not be available during that period.
Know and ask people to respect your boundaries.
To really make working from home, work for you, it is vital that people around you know just how important it is to keep your schedule in mind before they come visiting you. You can do this by telling them that just because you’re working from home that day, it doesn’t mean that you’ll get a chance to indulge in a casual chat or some other leisure inducing activity. For example, you could tell your wife or husband that you need to be “wired in” and working with a steady pace for the next 5 hours so that you both can go out in the latter half of the day without worrying about work-related emails.
But what about situations where people just happen to drop by and are looking forward to a conversation with you? Well in such scenarios you still have to be a stickler as far as your schedule is concerned but be very diplomatic in letting them know about it. Say something like, “I loved having this chat with you, but I’m afraid, I’ve got to go back and respond to some work-related emails. Would it be ok if we catch up over the weekend?”
Working from home can work out for you, provided you treat it as actual work and make the people around you respect it as much as you do. Eventually, you’ll not only find more time to do your work but also find that working from home might just lead to something special: The mindset of doing work you’re proud of even when you’re not at work.
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