May 18, 2010

Working from Home Tips and Home Study Tips

Working from home tips may not sound relevant or appropriate to your situation, but I assure you it is. How many of us actually conduct business in a traditional work at home sense? Probably not many. However, how many of us "work" from home (mind you, we are currently reading a self improvement and personal development blog)? I would venture to say that the vast majority of the readers on this blog consider themselves hard working individuals who work on themselves.

Working from Home Tips

Furthermore, working from home tips are equally as applicable to people studying at home -- whether college courses, high school, or simply learning for personal satisfaction and intrigue.

Although edited for you, I came across most of these work and home study tips while participating in a forum based around productivity and personal success.

The tips are broken down by broad categories to help you go from developing the right mindset and focus all the way to keeping your mind and body fresh and vital throughout your work day. I'm sure you will enjoy these techniques and tricks, AND that you will benefit from them once you apply them to your own life and home office or workspace.

Working from Home Tips and Home Study Tips

Preparing your mindset and focus tips

Pretend you have company coming over even if you don't.

Take a shower, brush your teeth, fix your hair, and pretend like you're going to a regular job where you're expected to look the part and be on time. If you wear perfume or cologne then put it on as well.

Got a real big day or an online meeting? Put on one of your best suits or outfits even if someone else won't see you.

Eat a hearty, well-balanced breakfast.

Get to your designated work area (home office, basement, attic, spare room) on time -- if you've got a "start work time" then be punctual.

Take regular breaks for lunch or snacks or coffee just as you would at any normal job. Employers don't want you to starve because they know it's bad for you and them.

If you're using the internet then only have the browsers or windows open that are for work-related purposes. If you have a huge favorites bar packed with enticing links and shortcut icons then use a seperate browser for work or a different computer without these distractions.

Consider working or studying at your local library for its peaceful atmosphere. The occasionaly change from your usual home office may provide a boon to your productivity and mental fortitude.

Go out to breakfast and just think about things and plan with a pen and paper (try to keep crumbs and stains off!).

Preparing your home office for work and home study

Have a designated place or room from which you work; do not just work from anywhere within your home, as this helps to "get" you and then "keep" you in the right mindset. Once you step into that place or room for work you are more likely to be in the "I am at work" mindset. And once you step out of that area or room you are back in the "I am at home again" mode.

Get your work table organized. Among the best home office organization tips is to simply remove distractions from your office.

If your feel your home office is too bland, instead of putting distracting items to spruce it up use small plants instead.

There's a book entitled "Home Office from Hell" by Jeff Landers.
Landers' key message was this: if you're interested in growth (he calls these people growth mavens), then you will eventually have to leave your house. I've got 4 kids (oldest one turned 7 today) and they don't "get" that daddy is "at work". Neither does my wife when things go haywire (think fish-fingers stuck to the walls, light-bulb blowing and dish-washer starting to leak all at the same time) -- "but you're here honey" (no, I'm not, I'm at work).
The other group Jeff calls the "lifestyle gurus", who are not so interested in growth and they tend to be happy at home, even when there are interruptions.
The one question you need to ask yourself is this: do you want to grow a business that runs on autopilot at some point and give you the freedom to do whatever you want or is it more a lifestyle thing, where you enjoy sitting around in your boxers?

Plan your day for success

Remind others around you that you are working.

Create your to-do list the night before to make yourself a lot more productive than if you leave it to the day you need to work on those tasks.

Get your "to do list" out and start working on it right away.

Prioritize your tasks using 80/20 rule so that you use your time most productively.

Eat away from my your desk and work area - do not work and eat at the same time. Take a break instead.

When you are done, be DONE until the next work day.

Set a timer (could be on your computer, could be as simple as a cooking timer) for periods such as 30 minutes and just work without distraction until the timer pings. Also set an amount of time for each item. 30 minutes to work on #1, 45 minutes for #2, etc.

If you prefer not to time yourself, try simply separating your time into 3 portions everyday. A daily plan example:
Morning: post article and bookmarking
Afternoon: source information
Night: write article

Take care of important errands in the morning and devote your afternoons and evenings to working at home to stay focused when working from home.

Home Study Tips

Working from home tips on productivity

Write a handwritten, detailed record each day of every action you have taken. Use a page per day or two page per day diary. If you took 30 minutes to write an article, add it to the paper list. At the end of each day you will have a very motivational PAPER record and list of your real productivity (the proper actions in your business). You can see that you did 25 individual things that day. You didn't just consume the internet calling it research.

Imagine your parents coming over (even if you're 30 or older). Just picturing them walking into a sloppy office and the ensuing questions about what you do with your time may be enough to whip you into shape.

Picture the results you want, but plan tasks.

Rejuvenating yourself while working from home tips

Go out for some air; go shopping for necessary things or just enjoy your favorite book store with a great ambience inside.

Take a "breather" of sorts. If you've never done it, you'd be amazed what a short walk around the neighborhood can do for your mental clarity and productivity.

Work for 2 hours straight on your to do list tasks and then have 1 hour off to do something else. Now that sometimes does mean you'll work alot longer in total but you'll manage to get alot more done and during those 2 "work" hours you will do work and get a lot done!
It's not always practical but you enjoy that 1 hour when it comes around and then by the end of it you'll usually want to get back to work again, too.

Watch the news (I usually would never recommend this!) to see the state of the economy and help you realize how fortunate you are to work for yourself and have the opportunity for incredible growth.

Set an hourly reminder to tell you to stretch, relax, and check that you're working on what will have the most impact -- this often jars us out of email and busywork and gets us refreshed and back on track.

Be aware of your own energy levels. If you find yourself treading water through tasks and making little progress; if you are getting distracted by emails or being lured into forum or private chats then that is a sure sign that it's time to take a break.

A good home office idea is to make a routine of reorganizing everything and cleaning up on a regular basis. You'll feel better and be more productive, so make it a thing to make sure and do that regularly.

Schedule mid-day exercise. It can help alleviate the common mid-day crash that many people experience.

Working it all out for YOU

As you go over these good studying and working from home tips I urge you to choose just a few that really resonate with you. Perhaps there's only one that really struck you, so go for that one. The key here is to aim for progress not perfection. On the other hand, if you're looking for radical change and you're very gung-ho about the idea then choose as many tips as you can, apply them, and watch your at-home productivity skyrocket!

If you're hungry for even more, then one of my favorite authors when it comes to time management, productivity, and doing the RIGHT things is Stephen Covey. He really gets you to think about things in a refreshing new way (he calls paradigm shifts). Really, one of his best techniques revolves around weekly planning that is so crucial to people working at home. As mentioned before, Covey helps people focus on more than just doing things right, but doing the RIGHT things. I would highly recommend his book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and the video The 8th Habit Updated 2008 CD/DVD.

These are two great programs that I have used with measurable success and shared with personal friends.

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Anonymous said...

Very nice article

Anonymous said...

I have been working from home for over 3 years now. I still can't get anyone around me to realize that I'm working. Tried to tell them to pretend I'm not here. That hasn't worked either.

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