Working from home, or what some call being a remote worker, has been an important way to earn a living over the past decade, and is no longer reserved for a select group of self-employed creatives.
For many, the ability to work from home can help to keep a more balanced life.
But having a balanced life and a productive work life are two very different things. So here are ten tips to help you do both.
1. Bring your work with you
There are several productivity apps available to remote workers.
Some, like the Trello tool, keep you on task and track with all the tasks you need to get through.
Some, like Google Calendar, help you track your tasks and deadlines.
Some, like the Pocket, keep you on track with all the articles you want to read.
Some, like Slack, allow you to chat with team members and keep in touch in real-time.
But if you work in a creative field like writing or graphic design, you can’t be chained to a computer.
A simpler solution is to bring your work with you. Put in a writing session during your lunch break, or get a coffee on your way to work.
The key is to take the time to get it done, even if it’s an hour here or there, rather than spending it holed up in an office.
2. Make a plan
Try to plan out the time you have available each day and make sure to get the most important tasks done.
Try to carve out time in the evening for planning and your most time-consuming tasks, or try to have time during the day to get your most challenging tasks done.
The less you have to do in one day, the more time you have to devote to the things you actually enjoy doing.
3. Set reminders
Set alerts to tell you when something important is coming up.
This is especially useful when you have a lot of things to do on a tight deadline.
Set it so it’s easy to see what it is, so you won’t forget about it.
4. Set priorities
Once you have a plan for your day, you can make a list of your priorities.
The most important thing is to figure out which tasks you want to complete and what needs to be done on a day-to-day basis.
Set goals so you know exactly how many and which tasks are on your to-do list.
You can get some help in figuring out what needs to be done to make a living from working from home by looking at online resources like the remote work directory of the Society for Human Resource Management.
5. Schedule your day
By scheduling out your days you can make sure you’re getting as much as possible done.
If you know you have a major project to finish at some point, work on that task in the mornings so that you can spend the rest of the day getting the less time-consuming tasks done.
You don’t have to follow your scheduled tasks down to the last detail.
But make sure you follow your scheduled task is a good rule of thumb to ensure you are getting as much work done as possible.
6. Keep your workspace clean
Working at home can get messy very quickly, and before you know it, you could have an entire room covered in dust, scraps of paper, and personal stuff.
So it’s important to make sure you have someplace where you can sit down and clear your head.
Sometimes you will want to get up and move around to take a break and stretch your legs, but it’s also important to keep your working space tidy.
When you clean it up you can take your mind off the task at hand, and come back to it refreshed.
Before you start tackling a task, ask yourself, “Is this really important?” If the answer is no, then don’t start doing it.
Your brain tends to have a mind of its own. Make sure you stick to your priorities and stick to your time limit for each task.
8. Change tasks as needed
When a task needs your attention, it’s easy to get caught up in it.
That can make it hard to jump back to your to-do list to find a new project.
The trick is to be able to switch tasks quickly, so you can keep your workspace tidy.
9. Be organized
If you are starting a new project, it’s important to get organized from the start.
If you don’t plan well in advance you will find it hard to keep on top of things and you will be buried in an unorganized mess.
This is why it’s important to start with a clean slate.
10. Set boundaries
When you work from home, it can be very tempting to do just about anything you want to, but at the end of the day, you need to set boundaries.
If you work from home, you are working on your own time. You should be able to do it at your own pace, or without distractions.
So don’t take on a huge project and feel pressured to keep up with it at any cost.