I’ve been working from home for over five years since I left my corporate job and many people can’t understand how I’m able to do it. In their minds, “working from home” is full of distractions and they imagine Homer Simpson sitting on a couch drinking a beer, while watching TV. The reality is that anyone can work from home with ease by having self discipline and focus on the work at hand. This is much easier for those who are results driven and care about their careers. While there may be some distractions at home, such as the TV, noisy neighbors (which you’ll find in a traditional office), video games and a bed that you can jump back into, it’s also a space that’s free of people, wasteful meetings and you save time commuting too.
How I work from home successfully
I’m able to work from home because I have a clear set of daily, weekly, monthly and years goals that I’m laser focused on. I have virtual checklists that rank goals by when they need to be completed and how significant each one is to my business or career. These goals guide me on what I should be doing when I wake up every morning. I set my alarm for 8:00 AM every night so that I wake up at a consistent time every morning. Then, between 8:00 AM and Noon, I do the most intense work because that is when I’m most productive (as are most people). After lunch, I’m working on lighter tasks because my energy level drops for the rest of the day.
The secret to breaking up your workday
It’s extremely hard to work through the entire day without taking necessary breaks. These breaks serve as beneficial distractions that help you stay engaged and relax your brain. For me, there are three common breaks that I’ll take throughout the workday. First, I’ll get coffee, breakfast or lunch with a colleague. This is good for maintaining both friendships and my growing network of contacts. Second, I will go for a run or walk so that I stay fit, I can think more creatively and it’s easier to go to sleep that night which helps me get up the next day. Third, I cook breakfast and lunch almost everyday unless I meet a contact. Cooking gives your mind a break, as you concentrate on cutting and making dishes.
My three most important tips
1. Get in a routine. If you want to work from home successfully, then you need to get in your own specific routine. You should seek to wake up at the same hour every day and put your work hours in when you are personally most productive.
2. Set concrete daily goals in advance. If you don’t have daily goals, you won’t be focused enough to get work done and you’ll end up procrastinating. The goals should be measurable, attainable and specific so that you can accomplish them.
3. Give yourself breaks. When you’re in an office, breaks happen more naturally because your colleagues are in close proximity so you’ll have meetings in conference rooms and lunches in the cafeteria. Since you’re working at home, you have to come up with your own breaks.
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I think this article misses community work space centers popping up world wide. Majority of people do not enjoy or can’t work at home because of home issues. Also, you never know who you are going to meet
I think this article is great for someone who is already successful and *happens* to work from home – reading your schedule, I have to ask “When do you work?” It sets unrealistic expectations for someone that is just setting out in their career. I also work from home (and manage a 20-person, 100% remote staff who work from their homes). My loose schedule is 6am to 2pm (I am also most productive in the morning, and plan for the lower energy of the afternoon). Breaking for breakfast and lunch then places those things in the appropriate places in my day, and still leaves time for physical activities after work. I think the keys to working successfully from home are more significant than goal-setting, lists and schedules. These aren’t the things that keep people motivated, even if they offer discipline. My keys for success, and the ones I promote with my team, are really more abstract – good feedback loops, good connections, and dedicated physical or mental space so that your work/life stays balanced.
What stands out from this is an elephant in the room. Nobody stays “on task” for eight hours a day (or more). Instead of the rejuvenating breaks you describe, people in offices engage in energy-draining activities in order to appear to be continuously working. Imagine how much more pleasant it would be in the office itself if it were within norms to take the number and kinds of breaks you describe.