Under normal circumstances, working from home full time – either as an entrepreneur or as some variety of remote worker – is a dream for many people.
As of this writing, however, working from home is largely a necessity for many people around the world, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
But, as many people are finding, while there are certainly benefits to working from home it is also an art in and of itself, and requires a significantly different approach, and a different set of personal management and coping techniques, than working in a conventional job setting.
There are plenty of different variables that have an effect on your ability to work effectively from home. Here are a few of those key variables for you to consider, and adjust, so that you can be productive and happy as opposed to stressed and disorganized, while telecommuting.
A sufficiently sizeable home environment
First and foremost, if you’re going to work from home and be effective and balanced while doing it, a sufficiently sizeable home environment really makes a big difference.
Sure, if you’ve recently bought an upmarket house in a beautiful and scenic locale, that’s likely to be a bonus. But you don’t actually need a huge or particularly extravagant setting in order to work effectively from home. It’s just that having a bit of space allows you to properly section off an area of the home to use for work, and can prevent you from being distracted from your usual work routine by assorted irritations and distractions.
In recent years, the “van life” movement has become quite popular thanks largely to various high-profile social media influences who have taken to living life in a nomadic way in vans or small motorhomes. There may be various benefits to this kind of arrangement depending on your priorities, but ducking your head down below the roof of your vehicle and perching on the edge of your bed with your laptop on your knees certainly isn’t an ideal working arrangement for anyone who has to put in a significant number of hours a day.
By contrast, if you’re able to set up a desk in an undisturbed corner of your home – ideally a home office of sorts – you’ll be much better positioned to zone in on the task at hand and enter a state of flow.
The ability to limit distractions and maintain a clear and orderly space
One problem with working from home – and a challenge that faces probably the vast majority of all home-based workers when they first switch to working from home – is the simple fact that your own home is bound to be filled with distractions that you wouldn’t typically encounter in a conventional office setting.
For example – you likely have a TV there, perhaps videogame consoles, maybe an assortment of interesting books, your bed (which makes the prospect of napping pretty alluring) and much more besides.
What’s more, there typically won’t be the same sorts of filters in place to prevent you from spending a couple of hours on social media, when you are working from home, by yourself.
One of the key traits that differentiate those who are able to successfully work from home from those who aren’t, is the ability to limit distractions and maintain a clear and orderly space.
In other words, put the most overt distractions in your home out of sight, keep the place tidy and organized in general to create a sense of order and stability, and consider using distraction-busting apps such as Freedom web blocker to keep you on point.
Accountability measures are also very highly recommended – even if just in the sense of having to discuss what you did at work that day with a friend, accountability buddy, or partner.
The division of work and personal time
When you’re working from home, it’s extremely easy to have your work bleed over into your personal life – and for that matter, for your personal life to also bleed over into your work.
The more you allow this blurring of the lines between your work time and your personal time, however, the more every waking hour will seem dominated by work and work concerns, and the less able you will be to actually relax and recharge your batteries.
A division of work and personal time is essential. Decide when you’re going to stop working for the day, and actually stop. Resist the temptation to check your work emails outside of “office hours,” too.
Even purely for the sake of performing to the best of your ability with regards to your job, you’ll need periods of rest and rejuvenation.