30 Tips to Make You Unstoppable When Working from Home

by on September 29th, 2010 13 comments

In this day and age everyone seems to be busier than a one-toothed man in a corn-on-the-cob eating contest. However, busy does not mean that we are productive and getting things done. With my experience working from home over the years I have compiled a list of things that help me be more productive and get things done. These tips are great for freelancers, telecommuters, and students but many will transfer over to people who work in traditional offices.

1. Designate workspace

It is best to have a place you designate as your workspace where you only do that, work. By doing this your program yourself to be at work when in this space.

2. Keep that workspace organized and uncluttered

A nice clean, organized workspace will help you feel less stressed. Being more relaxed will allow you to focus on work much better. Make sure you only have items essential to your job on your desk.

3. Get a work computer

Don’t use your home PC as your work computer. Get a second PC and set it up in your workspace. Only use this PC for work, don’t use it to leisurely surf the web when you are not working.

4. Make that computer a laptop

Use a laptop for your work PC. This way if the you lose your Internet connection or something else happens that requires you to leave your house. Unless of course that thing is a fire or some other major catastrophe, then you can go ahead and take the day off.

5. Use a dual monitor setup

I have been using two monitors for several years now and can say from experience it makes me more productive. It is so much easier to be able to pull two things up at once instead of having to Alt+Tab all the time.

6. Stay away from your couch/recliner

Now that you are using a laptop it is easy to wander about the house and go sit on your nice comfy couch. Avoid doing this at all costs, this is why we setup a nice workspace.

7. Get a comfortable office chair

Since you can’t sit on your couch then you better have a nice office chair. Go to the store to check several out and make sure you get one that is right for you.

8. Use Caller ID

Know who is calling you and only answer the ones that absolutely need to be answered at that time. Answering every phone call you get can eat up a huge chunk of your day.

9. Make that person call twice

My theory is, if it is important will call back. If it can wait I can check the my voicemail at a designated time and return the call.

10. Appoint a time to read/listen and respond

Set aside a time to read and respond to email and voicemail. Avoid checking them spontaneously throughout the day as this kills productivity.

11. Use a dry erase board

Use a dry erase board to keep a list of to-dos and reminders.

12. Avoid Social Networks

Save surfing Twitter and Facebook for your leisurely web surfing. If your job requires you to be on these sites keep general browsing down to a minimum and stay focused on taking care of business.

13. Try not to use chat clients

Chat clients are a great for communicating with coworkers but can also be a huge drain on your time. Only launch them if it is absolutely necessary.

14. Get Dressed

When you get up in the morning get dressed as if you are going out to work. A mumu and a cape is not suitable attire ever, regardless of what Homer Simpson says.

15. Stay Well Groomed

Sitting around unbathed and unshaven will not make you feel like being productive.

16. Don’t Work 24/7

When you are not working stay out of your designated workspace. Don’t work all day everyday just because it is convenient.

17. Eat and Drink

Eat regular healthy meal but don’t sit around munching all day. Also drink plenty of water. This will help you stay energized and hydrated.

18. Shut your office door

Close yourself off from the world and make sure family memebers and friends know you are home to work. When you first start working from home the hardest part is for your family to get used to it.

19. Take Breaks

It is very important you take breaks. Leave your workspace and go do something else for 15 minutes. Make sure you time yourself and go back to work when time is up.

20. Turn off all distractions.

Power down any device that could potentially distract you. This includes your personal cellphone and televsion.

21. Listen to music

Get some noise canceling headphones and listen to your iPod or Pandora. This really helps me stay focused because I don’t hear every little sound around me.

22. Create lists

Make lists of things you need to do each day. The last part of your day make sure tomorrow’s list is updated with tasks that must get done. Keep all your tasks in one place.

23. Use a Calendar

Keep your busy schedule organized by keeping a calendar up to date with meetings and appoints.

24. Do certain tasks on certain days

Set up a schedule where regularly performed tasks are completed on certain days.

25. Don’t multitask

Focus on one thing at a time. It has been proven that multitasking can make you less efficient.

26. Set Priorities

Prioritize your daily tasks and complete them in that order.

27. Do the hardest ones first.

Once you have your tasks prioritzied do the most diffcult ones first. You will feel much better with them out of the way and can relax a litte while working on easier ones.

28. Stretch

Don’t sit perfectly still. Get up and move around. Take or make your phone calls while standing.

29. Take Power Naps

Often I will take a 15 – 20 minute nap on one of my breaks. I wake up feeling nice and rested.

30. Enjoy working from home

Last but not least, enjoy being able to work from home. A lot of cubicle dewellers would love the chance to be able to avoid brutal commutes and obnoxious coworkers.

I am glad I was able to share with the readers of TechKing what I have learned to be more productive working from home.  Like I mentioned earlier there are tips in here that will work for anyone, regardless where you work. Though if your place of employment allows you to where a mumu and a cape to work, I highly recommend you do so.

How do you stay organized and productive? Please share  your own personal tips and tricks with us in the comments.