lunes, 23 de noviembre de 2015

Working From Home? 5 Tips to Manage Your Time & Stay Organized

By Ramona Costea-Oracle

 Photo Credit:www.bloomberg.com
Working from home can be the best or the worst thing at the same time.
There was a time when I experienced the great perks and hidden downsides of working as a freelancer from home. I remember being so excited at first: no more early waking hours, no commute stress and pajamas all day. Not having to ask for permission to go out and grab a coffee or to do personal chores was my favorite part. I was my own boss and it sounded just about brilliant!
However, I soon came to realize that this idealistic work schedule started interfering with my personal life. In fact, things became so tangled up that I couldn’t set apart anymore working hours from personal activities. I would sometimes find myself working late in the night just because during the day I couldn’t resist other distractions such as handling domestic duties, running errands or meeting with friends.
At that point, I understood that working from home is a privilege only if you know how to self-educate yourself in managing your time.

What did I do?
I’ve established a set of rules and routines to keep me organized and motivated and tried really hard to follow them religiously. If you’re dealing with the same issues, here’s my 5 tips to get you back on track.

1. Wake Up Early & Work During Business Hours

First thing I changed in my working from home routine – resist the temptation of waking up around noon.
Not being what you can call a “morning person”, this was my hardest struggle. I had to impose myself a schedule that involved working during normal business hours, from 9 to 6. It was a huge positive step in reorganizing work duties.
Working “on the clock” gives you the sense of being professional in your attitude towards business. It also helps prioritize work and set clear boundaries between work and home life.

2. Stay Away From Distractions

When you’re working in an office, you are restricted from certain distractions you cannot control as well while being at home: talking on the phone or chatting with your friends, watching movies, doing a bit of online shopping - just to name a few.
Don’t gloat because you can watch TV during working hours. It’s just a distraction and eventually, it will slow down your working pace. My advice is to pretend that you’re not even at home, in sweats, eating cereal. Try to act as if you are in an office and you have the boss looking over your shoulder.
Close any potential sources of distraction: TV, loud music, any not so work-related sites. Get your focus back on what you have to deliver and do it with maximum attention to detail. You can watch that cool movie later when the working day is over.

3. Create a Work Zone at Home

Thriving on the idea of bringing the laptop in your cozy bed?
Talking from experience, this is one of the most toxic and non-productive habits one could have while working from home. I know how you picture it in your head: wake up, have a quick breakfast and then snuggle back in bed with your laptop. Believe me, it’s a trap and the first step towards a really unproductive day.
Instead, you can designate a corner of your house as a “work only” environment. Ideally, you already have an office desk at home, but if not, you can still adapt. For example, a dinner or kitchen table can suddenly become your new office space during the day. The point is to stay away from the bed or couch and leave room to even the slightest desire to linger a bit more.

4. Don’t Run Errands Or Keep Them To A Minimum
You probably think you can solve them all: do the dishes, wash some clothes, prepare dinner and pay the bills, all while working. In reality it’s not that easy.
It’s so tempting to run a few of those pressing errands during office hours, but that eventually leaves you less time to focus on business assignments. I used to do it all the time and still couldn’t finish everything I set myself to finish by the end of the day.
That’s why I believe it’s best to keep your chores list to a minimum during work hours. The pile of dishes can wait, trust me.

5. Don’t Be Too Generous With Your Breaks

Keeping a consistent working schedule is golden.
With no one to assist, you might have the tendency to take more than a few breaks throughout the day: coffee break, lunch break, cigarette break, etc. All these put together can seriously demotivate your working routine.
As a smoker, I used to take more cigarette breaks than I would normally do while working in an office. And I would also tend to make those breaks last longer than 10 minutes. Completely unproductive.
How I managed to overcome this habit? I self-educated myself to take smoking breaks only after finishing tasks, like some sort of reward. It worked for me, then and now, too.
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There you have it, my rundown of 5 important things to take into account and implement in your work at home routine.
Working from home can be a great thing if you learn how to manage your time.
Don’t forget to make a plan – and stick to it!

This article was originally posted on LinkedIn

About the Author:
Passionate about turning simple ideas into creative stories. Truly in love with storytelling, Ramona Costea has been active in the media writing and publishing business for over 8 years. She is now a Copywriter for Oracle’s Global Recruiting department, where she continues to experiment with social media and improve content strategy. Her specialties include content writing, online marketing, employer branding and social media. 
Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter

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