Career

How to get the best out of working from home

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Working from home sounds like the ultimate dream — no office politics and no dreary commutes! But how hard is it to stay motivated when working solo? These tips will have you ticking off your ‘to-do’ list in no time.

When freelance journalist and communications specialist, Andrea Sophocleous, began working from home five years ago, she was surprised how much time she saved during the day.

Suddenly there was no more time spent on travelling, attending lengthy meetings, managing staff or even having a light-hearted gossip around the office.

“For me, the biggest motivation is that the faster I get my work done, the more time I gain back for other things — going to the gym, catching up with a friend for lunch, or occasionally picking up my nieces from school,” Andrea says.

Schedule your day

Without a set routine, it can be too tempting to stay in your PJs, flick the telly on and stretch your lunch break to two hours, leaving you in no mindset to get work done.

Andrea says each morning she showers, gets dressed and has breakfast before sitting down at her desk.

“I then attack my list of prioritised tasks, which I always create the day before,” Andrea says.

Coaching psychology consultant Kelly Fischl says it’s important to spend ten minutes planning and prioritising at the start and the end of each day.This can include writing a list of everything you want to achieve.

“When we work by ourselves, things can pile up and become overwhelming, so this can be a great way of feeling in control,” Fischl says.

It is also vital to take time away from your desk — setting a reminder on your phone when your breaks are up is like having a virtual boss.

Keep up human contact

Skype, instant messenger and even FaceTime are great ways for those working from home to feel connected with their wider team, Fischl says.

“It’s important to have regular contact with your team. These forms of technology are more instant and also more personal than sending an email,” she says.

For the lone rangers who have no direct reports, Fischl says finding a mentor or friend who will talk with you about your business helps you stay on track.

“This person can be valuable in terms of keeping you accountable. It’s also a good excuse to get dressed up, leave the house and focus on yourself for an hour!” Fischl says.

Other working from home tips:

Get out to events: Attending networking events can re-energise you and connect you with like-minded business people.

Change the scene: If you find yourself distracted at home, try clearing your head by working for an hour or two from a different location, like a nearby café.

Celebrate your wins: Fischl recommends setting goals to stay motivated. When you achieve them, celebrate by rewarding yourself with a long walk, or booking in for a massage.

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