It is the second edition of Wednesday’s 5 Tips For Efficient & Effective Working From Home
I am limited on time because as I am typing this while I am not working from home. Instead I am working from a hotel room, long past my bedtime. The trade off to working from home is that I travel on business. We will keep that topic to another week.
Now onto my few tips for my friends who may or may not be interested in my working from home routine and experience.
My first 3 tips are all fairly connected. It matters where in your home you work from and that space needs to be dedicated to your work only.
1. Your home office is your work station.
Your home office is where you work. It is not where you fold laundry, scrapbook, watch television or do any other distracting tasks from your work. It is the place you to go to work and at the end of the day you need to leave work. I will talk about “leaving work” challenges another time or actually my husband could hijack the blog and give pointers to how I should learn to leave work.
No matter what nook or corner you need to clean out, I recommend you have a dedicated work station with a desk, comfortable chair and other technology essentials for your work.
I once sat at an traditional office cubicle with walls painted a bright orange. The hired interior designer for the office told me the paint color was called “caramel latte” and yet it looked like “pumpkin latte with orange food coloring” and gave me a headache. You get my drift here. Make your home office a place you want to work in daily. My home office walls are not painted “pumpkin latte with orange food coloring”.
2.Your dining room table is not efficient work space.
We lived in and I worked from a 800 square foot house for the first 11 months we lived on the prairie. My home office was also my dining/ living room. I survived but I learned what I need to be most efficient. Working from the same space your sit to eat a meal with your family or where you go to relax and then also working from there for hours at time makes you feel like you never leave work. Your work is always right there staring you in the face. Plus you are constantly cleaning off your dining room table office so your family has a place to eat!
3. After a few long hours, a change of scenery helps.
Fresh prairie air rejuvenates me after a few long hours in my home office. My ear hurts after being on the phone for so long and sometimes my eyes burn from staring at my computer for hours. Break time.
In a traditional office setting, people go to the break or lunch room. They run an errand. They chit chat with their office buddy.
I listen to meadowlarks sing and pheasants cackle while sitting on my front porch, quick water a few plants, or walk around the outside of the house.
4. Have a plan for your day.
Do you go to Wal-Mart and aimlessly wander around with out knowing where to go or what to buy next? I doubt it. You go with a list, with your plan and maybe even a few coupons to save some money.
The same can be said for your work day from your home office. You need a plan and your “coupons” can be your time saving measures.
Depending on your work, your plan might be fairly set for you. My friends that work from home doing medical transcription have a fairly set routine to how and what they are doing. However for me, my day is planned around video conferencing and phone calls. To add to that I get hundreds of daily emails and am active in social media personally and professionally. If you let the “ding” of your newest email dictate your day, you will be efficient. I have proposals and presentations to prepare and cannot let my day become derailed by distractions whether they be at home or on my computer.
I use my email software to best organize my day. Certain emails are flagged with a follow up time and date reminder. Others are sorted into folders. My calendar has every thing that I am doing for the day in it. I used to have this all on paper but now organize and plan my day electronically which syncs with my Blackberry phone. An organized email calendar reminds me of my next meeting or task. If I have work that must get done, I turn off all sounds on my phone and computer, close out my email inbox, turn off my phone if needed and get the work in front of me done before my self-imposed deadline.
5. It is okay to throw in a load of laundry.
If you think working from home will allow you to have your house clean, your laundry done and a perfectly prepared dinner each evening, you are wrong. An advantage to working from home is that I have the flexibility to walk my kids to daycare, set my day up in advance so I take them to the park in the late afternoon, take them to appointments, swimming lessons, etc. When I was a nursing mother I went over to nurse my baby once or twice a day. I do throw in a load or two of laundry most days. I don’t get any of it folded during my work day but it does at least get washed and dried. My husband comes home every day for lunch. I visit with him, have some lunch on the deck if the prairie weather allows and think about what I am making for supper. Sometimes I throw something together in the Crock-Pot or get out meat to thaw. Hectic days I have no time for a load of laundry, organizing anything for supper or even stopping for lunch with my husband.
You need to find the most efficient routine for you when it comes to working from home. My favorite part of the working from home routine that hugely increases my efficiency is…
no office gossip!