Who doesn’t want freedom? If you are working in an office, you have to work for 8 hours and for some folks, these 8 hours tear them apart. This is where the notion of remote working or working from home comes into the play.
If you are on the thought to work from home, it would obviously be a nice idea. The reasons could be many.
You would be surprised by knowing that I am (a professional content marketer in a reputed software company) suffering from ADHD. Another thing is that I live in Dhaka which has the biggest problem, traffic jam. To get rid of this trouble, I decided to work remotely for a few months.
If you also have ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) just like me or have a tendency to be easily distracted; it can be an out of the question to be as productive as you expect.
However, things are not that easy as you would expect. Most if not all, I found it extremely hard to concentrate on my home tasks due to the distractions that happened around me. This is why I have developed my own strategy to overcome this obstacle to work from home effectively. Without any further hoopla, I am going to reveal the paradox, sharing the strategies to you.
Before that, let’s begin with…
How Popular Working from Home Is?
Working from home is obviously surging in popularity nowadays. On the more advanced side of the spectrum, take a look at the following data given by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to know how workers are changing their attitudes towards working at home:
What Are the Biggest Obstacles When Working from Home?
Working from home can act as a double-edged sword. You can either be productive or can be unproductive at the same time. Here is the catch under the hood – these are the main factors that obstruct your productivity while working from home:
- Distractions at home
- Staying motivated
- Time zone challenges
- Finding reliable WiFi
- Food Cooking
- Uneven Sleep Pattern
Here Is How to Work from Home Effectively
If you have ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), you can still overcome it and become a star performer in your team. I have been working for a software company for the last two years.
And as I have mentioned, after the hustles and bustles of swimming through the sea of a traffic jam, it became really hard for me to maintain office time and concentrate on my job responsibilities. That is why I needed to build my own strategy to work from home. Interestingly, If I do not follow my own strategy, I tend to fail to reach my daily, weekly and monthly goals. Here are some tips for success, taken from my real life experience:
Build Your Own Structure
You should always need to synchronize your working room to the office so that you never feel that you are working from home. Like your office room, you need to keep the lights turned on so that you don’t feel drowsy.
According to a flurry of research, humans do not feel sleepy before going to bed if they expose their eyes to electronic monitors that emit bright light (Especially blue light).
Here is the proof from the National Sleep Foundation,
“Exposure to light stimulates a nerve pathway from the eye to parts of the brain that control hormones, body temperature and other functions that play a role in making us feel sleepy or wide-awake. Too much light, right before bedtime may prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.”
Hallelujah! you can do reverse engineering here with tweaks. If bright lights prevent us from sleeping, you can use it in day time in your room to prevent sleep during working hours. Therefore, ensure getting the most of the sunshine in the daytime or enlighten your room with adequate light.
Being Organized with Apparatus
Many people suggest working under a large tree beside your home so that you can work in a distraction-free atmosphere. But the thing is, you may not have such a tree beside your home.
Even if there is a tree it can be far away from your home and you will have a poor WiFi network or you may need to pay the phone network service providers to buy internet data.
Another thing is that you may face a little difficulty to watch the contents of your laptop screen due to the brighter daylight.
Luckily, you can make your room more working friendly just by removing distractions like Television, Telephone etc. to another room. You should keep your phone switched off unless you are using collaboration tools like Slack, Asana, Trello, Project Manager etc. with your team.
Using White Painted Walls
If your room is not painted white you should do now. Why? Because it creates an illusion of freshness and you can think anything profoundly. Besides, it also reflects light properly and thus you need to spend less money on power.
Play Inspirational Music Quietly During Your Work Time
To stay motivated, I sometimes play inspirational music quietly so that I don’t lose my passion for doing my work. But don’t turn the volume up too much as it may distract you from your work very easily. Here are some data,
However, playing music may not be effective for some people. This is why I would recommend you to do a split test with music to see whether it fits you or not. However, you may find music distracting rather than finding it beneficial especially for works that require deep thinking.
Maintain a Strict Routine
I know how boring it is to maintain a routine. But if you can abide by the tight schedule of your routine for three consecutive months, chances are very high that you will get used to it. Try to maintain sleeping and rising from the bed, sitting on the chair to work, having lunch and finishing the daily tasks at the same time each day. This will help you boost your productivity to the fullest.
Even the most successful persons maintained an individual routine and so, you should create and follow on your own.
Here is my own routine while working from home:
I love to get up at 6:30 am, do a little physical exercise and have breakfast. After that, I read the newspaper headlines at a glance. At 7:30 am, I sit in front of my MacBook and check my task lists and the mails. I also distribute an estimated time period for each task so that I do not take much time to carry out a certain task.
At 1 pm, my work vigor starts to sap. So, I go to take a shower, take lunch and listen to music for half an hour to get rejuvenated. At 2:30 pm, I again get back to my work without even having any catnap. Having no catnap is more than important. Because, if I take a catnap or an hour-long sleep, I can not enjoy a sound sleep at night and irritatingly, you will again feel sleep every day after having lunch which can thwart you to focus on your work during the post-lunch period. It’s nothing but a vicious cycle! To this end, I drink tea to repel the drowsiness.
I usually finish my work at 4 pm and I then hop onto my personal life to enjoy! Next up, I cook food from 6 pm to 7:30 pm. Again at 7:30 pm, I try to learn something new that will enrich my existing skills. At around 9:30 pm I have my dinner and then I browse the social networking sites to stay updated with the vibe. Then I prepare to go to sleep.
Take Breaks Properly
A high amount of activities at a stretch on a day can cause boredom. This is exactly where breaks come into the play! Unfortunately, taking too many breaks can reduce your work time whereas, taking no breaks at all can cause fatigue and grow monotony. This is why I take breaks only two times a day.
Track Your Work Time
If you find that you are still unproductive, you should be tracking your time spent on performing every single task. This way, you can not only get to know which types of tasks are eating up most of your time but also can focus more on them to carry them out quicker.
Grasp All, Lose all
I have seen some programmers saying that they are extremely good at multitasking. They said they can actually code very easily while they are learning a new framework simultaneously. But research tells a completely different story.
If you pick up too many tasks to do at a time, you will be focusing on neither of them. As a result, even if you are doing them, you cannot perform them efficiently.
Grasp all, lose all – remember the old saying?
Though sleeping is very important yet most people tend to neglect it. See the following infographic to see how we are deprived of proper sleep:
Experts suggest that on average, humans need 7 hours of sleep to work in the full swing on the next day. An uneven sleep pattern or sleeping at a different time during a day is not that effective rather it can create insomnia and so sometimes you will be forced to sleep more. A 7 hour-long-sleep during a specified time in 24 hours each day revives your work stamina.
Here is how lack of sleep may dwindle your productivity:
I usually go to bed at 11 pm and get up at 6.30 pm. This boosts up my work energy.
Prepare Your Meals Only on a Single Time (Especially If You Are a Bachelor)
No matter how fast I cook, eat and wash my utensils, I need at least one hour to do it. This is why cooking or preparing my breakfast, lunch, and dinner would take up to 3 hours which was not a little time in any way. Now, get ready to be surprised to see the time spent on cooking food in some countries:
You can see that the consumers in the United States spent 5.9 hours to cook food.
That’s why you need to prepare your meals only at a single time each day.
After preparing the meal, you should preserve them in the refrigerator and bake them in the microwave oven or stove if necessary.
Preparing meals ahead of time ensures that you avail maximum time to work.
Save Your Calls & Meetings Either for the Morning or Afternoon
While you are doing creative activities like programming, painting, SEO, music composing or anything consistent with your profession do it at a stretch so that you do not mess them up with the calls and meetings.
In addition, do not pick up any casual call during your working time. Rather save them either for the morning or for the afternoon. That’s because your close friend may call you in to go out for the brandy or so during your office time and you may not refuse the proposal. 🙂
Over to You
Always keep in mind that, unlike working on your office, you have no one to remind of the deadline of your pending and overdue tasks while you are browsing the news feed on Facebook, Twitter or watching funny videos on YouTube.
So, you have to train your brain that you are not working from home rather than working in your office to ensure maximum efficiency. This way you will be able to prevent the distractions and become more productive at the same time.
Finally, I would love to mention that everyone is different when it comes to taste or preference. My work hacks will work better for some people while it may not work that well for some people. If these tricks don’t work well then you can add some tweaks to tune up these strategies for yourself.