Working from home can be both a blessing and a curse. While it's fantastic to have the freedom to choose your own working hours, cut down on commuting time and get all of your work done from the comfort of your own home (oh what a blessing in winter!), it also means there are distractions lurking around every corner.
Friends and family may think your home office means they can call or drop in at any hour, your children may not understand why Mum doesn't want to play with them while they're at home, and your partner may think this gives you the time to do all the washing, clean the house and cook the dinner while still getting all of your work done too.
If you're feeling under stress when working from home, it may be time to set new rules, establish boundaries for your family and friends and make a clear divide between work and life. Get ready to boost your efficiency and productivity... now!
It may sound like an obvious one, but many of us don't use our calendars and diaries effectively. More often than not, we have a bunch of Post-Its, a smart phone calendar, an email calendar and a half-forgotten paper diary somewhere too... Streamline your many to-do lists by investing in a one-full-page-per-day diary and jotting down all of your daily tasks in the one place. Mark major deadlines (as well as holidays) and key meetings on your calendar so they're clearly visible in advance.
Sure, your work can feel overwhelming when you're viewing it all as one large chore. Instead, try breaking your projects down into smaller, more manageable tasks so they feel easier to work through and you can enjoy the satisfaction of ticking things off throughout the day.
If you find that you're getting so stressed out that you're working all day, right through lunch, and late into the evening without even a pause for a cuppa, it may be time you reassessed your workload. By setting strict work hours and making sure that you take decent breaks, you can determine how much work you can realistically fit in.
Everybody needs adequate sleep, fresh air, clean water and a balanced diet to achieve good health. If you're feeling fatigued or sluggish, reflect on your lifestyle and see if you can make any minor changes. For example, spend your lunchbreak taking a brisk stroll around the block before making a fresh salad, or swap your daily soft drink boost to a freshly made fruit juice. Take advantage of the fact that you work from home!
Working towards a key deadline or achievement is a fantastic way to motivate yourself. If you really want to win that campaign, impress your boss or complete a project, identify your goals and repeat positive affirmations to motivate yourself. And if all else fails, a reward will help give you that extra motivational boost! A new pair of shoes, perhaps?
It's important to draw the line with friends, family and yourself. Teach your kids that when the door is closed, Mum is hard at work and not to be disturbed unless there's an emergency. Similarly, explain to your friends that even though you're working from home, it doesn't mean you're lazing about the house ready to drop everything to head out and meet them. This also applies to limiting the pressures you put on yourself. Draw clear lines between work time, house cleaning time and leisure time -- and don't be tempted to start vacuuming when you should be completing the work that pays the bills!
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