4 Tips to Not Be Bad at Working from Home

I was talking with a client recently who kept saying they are “bad at working from home.” Throughout the conversation, they mentioned their ability to be a forward or strategic thinker was hindered because of distractions at home.

Though we can all relate to having distractions at home in whatever form they come in (kids, roommates, the pile of laundry you’ve been meaning to do, food, neighbors, pets), learning how to be more efficient in your work-from-home approach will help you in the long run, especially as we try to imagine what life will be like during cold and flu season just a few short months after the stay-at-home orders around the COVID-19 pandemic.

So, first, create your space. Assess what you need to get done and create the space that will ensure you can achieve your performance expectations. Do you need privacy and quiet? Do you need a large computer screen? Do you need additional technology and connections? Do you have Zoom meetings that will show your space on screen? Create what you need to be successful.

Second, remove the obvious distractions. Working at home can put many distractions right in your reach. Scan your area for anything that will distract you such as the TV remote, the availability of snacks, piles of laundry, dirty dishes, other household activity. Take a step back and just observe your workspace. Ask yourself: what could disrupt me in an unproductive way? Then remove it.

Third, create a daily to do list. Spend whatever time you need at the start of your day getting your head in the right place. Review your calendar so you know what calls or deliverables are required. Consider creating your to do list in order of priority with the items at the top of the list that need to be done today. Or, if you like to see the red marks as you cross things off your list, consider creating an “at work” list and an “at home” list. Identify 2-3 big things for each list you want to accomplish for that specific day and stay focused on getting those tasks done.

And finally, divide your day into blocks of time. This includes work and home times. For work times, set your day up to tackle the biggest, most important or thought-provoking items you need to complete during the part of the day when you are most productive. Be sure to define a clear start and end to your workday to also be able to accommodate the home requirements. This may take some time to notice what works best for both your work and home responsibilities, so challenge yourself to take note of what works best to get done what has to get done.

Working from home can be challenging when there are multiple distractions outside of your control. But following these four tips can help you set yourself up for success as a productive work-from-home employee.

Take Action
Take each step on its own. Master each one before you move on to the next. Take a day to get adjusted to the approach and give yourself some grace in learning this adjustment. There will need to be some flexibility for the first week or so, but stick to your new guidelines. You’ll see a drastic improvement in your productivity and mental capability.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading How to Balance Working From Home With Kids

Return to the Blog

The Waiting Game

When you find yourself waiting, what are you doing? Checking your phone? Tapping your foot? Pacing? Getting irritated?

What could you be doing instead?

I recently had a conversation with a friend who took her young daughter to the pediatrician. While in the waiting room, she handed her daughter a coloring book and some crayons. The receptionist said, “I think you’re the first parent I’ve seen in weeks not just hand a phone or tablet to their kid while they waited.”

Though we both celebrated the fact that we must be doing something right if others are noticing our actions, we also both admittedly became pretty judgmental: “what are these other parents even doing with their kids?” We listed out things that parents and kids could be doing together while waiting, like coloring, playing a game, telling a story, sharing a memory, inventing something or just talking about life, to name a few.

And that’s when it hit me. Though I may be good at inventing opportunities to keep my kids engaged, I’m the first to pull out my phone when I’m in a waiting room alone (pot, meet kettle). Whether it’s at a doctor’s office, waiting for my car getting serviced or something else, I’m quick to fill the void with something to distract me.

But choosing to zone out with my phone means I’m missing the opportunity to tune in to what’s going on around me. I could miss the opportunity to speak with the woman sitting next to me who has so much wisdom to share. I could miss the opportunity to learn about a deal or discount available if I opt in for a short, extra service while I’m already there with the car. I could miss the opportunity to share what I do as a life coach with someone who is looking for some guidance to figure out their next step in life.

Instead of thinking, “this is going to be such a waste of time,” consider asking yourself, “how can I use this opportunity to connect to those, and the world, around me?” Or even, “what am I not seeing that would be worth seeing?”

Take Action
Consider this quote from our Power Within email on September 23, 2019: Today, I will be humble enough to know I am not better than anyone else, and confident to know that I am just as good. We all have great value.

Instead of tuning out when you find yourself waiting, imagine what life could present to you if you choose to tune in. Try it. You never know who you could meet, what you may learn, or what opportunity awaits you. We all have great value if you use the waiting game as an opportunity to discover yourself and your world.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading The Post-It Note as a Mindfulness Tool

Return to the Blog

RSS feed
Connect with us on Facebook
TWITTER
Follow Me
Connect with us on LinkedIn