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As I personally did, you have probably encountered many of those « work from home » articles that list tips and « techniques » (can they be called « techniques »? I personally don’t like to « over-label » things) that will somehow make us work better and be more productive (even though we already know all theses tips)
You read it all, you are all convinced, but for some reason, you still struggle working from home, why?
The thing here is that knowledge is not what we lack to make us efficient working from home, but more of how much are you able to stick to rules and tips; it only do when it comes from you and when you’re convinced with, but also, when these rules do make sense for you.
I’ve read some of these « tips », some do really make sense, but some other may do not really resonate with you, and I am here to tell you this is totally OK. An example of these tips is « Get dressed », in which you are told to get dressed (while at home) when you are about to work, and if feel like « really? » while reading this, you are not alone.
Another tip that may look helpful at first is « Fix working hours », while this can be helpful for many, many others find it more convenient to unless you are customer service or you have an issue if your working hours changes, you can discover your own most productive working pattern. It is totally OK to change them as long as you keep your work objectives on track and you do not affect other people’s work.
Long story short, not all tips have to work with you, or the other way around; you are not going to be productive by necessity if you apply all these tips.
So what it may really work?
You may have already got the sense of the answer from the lines above, but we’ll break it down in three main points below, that I personally think that they are the key to be able to work from home more effectively, and thus, get that guilt feeling out of yourself and feel productive and satisfied.
1- Adopt a « work oriented » mindset
As mentioned above, it is more important to focus on getting the task done beside when it is done as long as schedule is respected. Wearing whatever you want, anywhere in your house or room. What is the best time to work for someone who is living alone? Maybe directly after the morning coffee?… What is the best time to work for someone who have kids? Maybe after getting them what they need or while they are busy doing their own stuff too? The main idea here is that adopting a « work oriented » mindset implies that you’re committed to getting your job finished no matter what, overcoming your own constraints and limitations.
2- Avoid distraction
Right now, news is one of the greatest distractions. And if the new Coronavirus causes you to work remotely, checking in on COVID-19 updates will be at the forefront of your mind. Of course it’s good to keep updated, but scrolling yourself into an anxious mess isn’t good as well. Get detached from the social media, your phone and any other mean that may distract you from your work… This also includes avoiding family, friends and even pets. Now you may say « OK but isn’t that one is already one of those « tips » that you read somewhere? » Kinda, but I want to pinpoint here the other type of it which is often ignored, what I call « invisible distraction ».
Distraction can have indirect sources that have nothing to do with the external world but within your own work, one example is using many management apps, that’s why it is better to stick with one task management app. You can even use a vision board or a regular whiteboard if you have one to stay on track. The main point here is to have one thing that guides your plans so you stay focus. Also avoid over-communication, jumping between tasks and all the bad habits. Get rid of that « illusion of work and overburden » and remember to always « do one thing at a time ».
Try to adopt a kind of continuous improvement strategy that will help you keep the focus on improving the way things are done on a regular basis. What went well today? What didn’t (and why)? What can be done better? Only you can answer these questions and find a fix. In order to do that you have to identify the encountered issues, many people for example complains from procrastination, this article from riskology is a very good one to overcome it in a smart way… There are also tons of useful articles about other issues but do not get lost in readings. As you may have noticed already, all what was needed for you to be able to work properly from home is knowing the « real you » with all it’s flaws, streghts and weaknesses and basically knowing how to deal with yourself to get the work done.
Remember that what matters is that you create your own system for working from home. What works for other people might not work for you and vice versa, and what works for you today may not work for you tomorrow