Telecommuters are all too familiar with comments from critics saying, “I could never work from home. I’d never get anything done.”
It is hard to get work done if you’re not used to it. Working from home requires loads of discipline.
One of the key ways to becoming disciplined while working at home is creating your own routine. For example, changing out of your PJs might help get you into “work mode”, exercising in the morning could help you start planning your day, or meticulously mapping out your to-do list could increase your productivity while working at home.
The great thing about creating a routine while working at home is that it’s customized to your needs and preferences. We’re all different and have unique quirks and preferences to help us work. You should do whatever makes you productive.
With that said, here’s a few strategies that you may want to consider for yourself to help you stay disciplined and productive while telecommuting.
Create a Home Office
Having a dedicated space for work can help you divide your personal life from work. It’s easy for that division to be blurred when you’re working at home. When you create a space that’s dedicated to work and work only, it can create a “going to the office” experience and mindset.
This tactic can help fend off non-work related tasks and distractions when you’re working. For example, in a traditional office, you wouldn’t turn on the TV, start vacuuming, or doing your bills. Those home-related tasks shouldn’t happen in your home office, either.
Do Fun Stuff First
Have you ever had something exciting planned at the end of your work day? I know I have. What usually happens during that day is I catch myself daydreaming and staring at the clock. It makes it so hard to concentrate on work!
You know how when you have something fun planned at the end of the day, and you can’t concentrate? When you start the day doing something fun, it makes it much easier to have your mind on work for the rest of the day.
If you have a flexible schedule, you might want to try this if you’re easily distracted and are easily excited by activities after work. Granted, this won’t work on activities like grabbing dinner or happy hour with a friend, but you could use this tactic for activities like going to the beach, hitting the gym, or watching a movie.
Track What You’ve Done
Some people may benefit from staying on task by tracking exactly what they’ve done and using that progress as motivation.
Hold yourself accountable for your own goals and tasks by tracking your progress. Gutman keeps an Excel spreadsheet to monitor his daily progress.
Tracking your daily progress is a great way to make sure you’re on-task and getting things done. You can use something as simple as pen and paper or Google Sheets or if you’d prefer something a bit more sophisticated, a tool like iDoneThis. What matters most is that you’re getting work done and you’re able to look back on your day to see how much you’ve accomplished.