If you are someone who works from home and you would like to improve your productivity and get more things done, this will be the right article for you. Motivation, productivity, and willpower are extremely important for those who work at home because they are alone most of the time and they tend to slack off and procrastinate. It is not easy.
You have to learn to manage yourself, your time and your workplace properly if you want to be more effective with your work.
We all know that motivation is not going to last. And no matter how motivated you are, there will be days that you will feel lazy and wanted to do nothing. You will be affected by lousy moods and you just don’t feel like working.
This is especially true for people who are working from home. You can’t stay productive if you constantly get distracted with social media or checking interesting videos on YouTube.
This is why we need to learn how to manage our environment in our workplace. Be it working from home or from office, the environment is important because it is a double-edged sword.
Do you know that your environment can either kill you or make you?
Les Brown, the motivational speaker often says:
“Birds of the same feather flock together. If you run around with losers, you will end up a loser. Stop swimming with the ducks if you want to become an eagle.”
And Jim Rohn says, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
Can you see how powerful our environment can be right now? It can greatly impact us.
Let me share with you an eye-opening study on how our environment can affect our life…
How Environment Can Affect Our Productivity
When you look at the world map, you will discover that different continents have a different shape, right?
When you first look at it, there is nothing special about it. However, if you study the shape of our continent carefully, you will discover something interesting.
You will find out that it is the shape of the continent that influenced and shaped people’s way of living. Allow me to explain.
So when you look at the world map, you will see that in general, the shape of America is North-South, or in a straight vertical line. The same goes for Africa. The continent is in tall and thin shape, rather than flat and wide.
On the other hand, if you look at Asia, Europe or the Middle East, you will find the opposite shape. The Asia and Europe look more in flat and wide shape, or a horizontal line if you will.
So what does this has to do with how the environment will shape your life?
This is the interesting part. When it comes to growing crops, it is easier to grow in Asia and Europe where the continent is in the horizontal stretch. Why?
This is because the weather changes will be small.
For continents that have a vertical line shape, the farmers will have a more challenging time to grow their crops. This is because changes in the weather and temperature will be radical when the season changes.
It is easier for Europeans and Asian to grow crops and expand along the horizontal line rather than traveling and expanding North-South, where the weather changes are drastic, like in America.
As a result, the food production in Europe and Asia are much faster and higher than in America and Africa.
This leads to strong growth in population and innovation. The impact is small if you look at it this way, but if you look at over centuries, the impact is huge.
Now, have ever wonder why the European countries were the first to venture and conquer the seas?
Can you see how the environment can play an important role in shaping countries, cultures and almost everything?
Why Managing Your Environment Is Important
You see, a lot of times we did not see the importance of the environment that we are in. When it comes to being successful, all we focus on are the motivation, goals, affirmations, visions, mindset, etc.
We forget about the invisible force that is also shaping our lives, which is the environment that we are in.
If you were born in a country that is always at war, your chances of success will be much lower compared to if you were to born in the wealthy first-world country.
This is why Les Brown said that if you mix with losers, you will eventually become one.
Therefore, in order for you to increase your probability and chances of success, you must actively shape your environment, so that your environment will give you the support such as energy, motivation and the willpower to act.
This is why everyone should learn how to manage the environment that they are in.
Be the one to change your environment rather than letting the environment to determine your future.
The 13 Best Tips How To Work From Home Effectively
Now you have understood that our environment is a very important factor that will affect our mood and our work effectiveness, it is time to learn to manage your environment to boost your productivity and increase your success rate.
1. Organize Your Personal Workstation
First, you must organize your workstation. A messy table full of papers and clutter is not going to help you at all. This is why the idea of minimalism is so popular right now.
When everything is organized, it will be easier for you to focus and work on the task at hand. Imagine that you are working on a table full of papers, you might not be able to concentrate well.
When you are writing your article, the paper in front of you will trigger you into doing another task. This is why having an organized workstation is important.
2. Decorations Help
You know that environment plays an important role in shaping your life, and thus, decorations definitely help in boosting your productivity at work.
Put some small green plant on your table helps release your stress and hanging inspirational pictures on the wall will boost the energy level as well.
Rather than an empty wall, make it for good use that will increase your work ability.
3. Get A Comfortable Table And Chair
Do I need to explain this further? Get yourself a good and comfortable chair with a good table that gives you matching height so that you can sit straight.
When you work from home, you will be sitting and facing your computer most of the time, thus, get yourself a comfortable and quality chair.
You are going to be spending most of your time sitting, so just invest in a quality chair that allows you to sit with comfort and work with higher efficiency.
Here’s one of the best-selling home office chair from Amazon that you should check out.
4. Include Your Vision Board And Scoreboard
I first came across the idea of vision boards from one of the speakers that were featured in The Secret. And he is none other than one of my favorite success coach, John Assaraf.
You can learn a lot about visualization and Law of Attraction from John Assaraf, he is definitely one of the best out there.
If you want to create a stimulating environment that will boost your motivation and productivity, you need a vision board.
Whenever you look at the board, the pictures remind you of what you want to accomplish in life. Those are the things that you wanted to achieve, and they will drive you and get you into the action mode.
5. Ready With Breaks And Refreshments
A workplace should fill with snacks and some refreshments. Think about it, we cannot focus 100% on our work all the time. This is especially true for people who work from home because they need to face the computer for long hours.
And you need rest to regenerate your energy and willpower. Our willpower is just like an energy bar. We use it whenever we make a decision and take action each day. Once it is depleted, you will feel exhausted and tired.
The good news is that we can refresh and replenish our willpower through breaks and rest. If you have a good rest, you feel more energetic and able to take on better task, right?
This is how our willpower and motivation work. So take breaks and rest from time to time. You will learn more below from tips #9.
6. You Don’t Have To Stay At Home All The Time
Working from home simply means that you have the flexibility to choose where you want to work most of the time. And you don’t really have to work at your home every day, or the entire day.
Like me, I prefer to work from the comfort of my home in the morning. And in the afternoon, I choose to go out and work from coffee shops.
This is because I used up most of my willpower in the morning for the most important task. And in the afternoon, it is hot here in Malaysia all year long and it is difficult for me to concentrate on my work.
Therefore, I choose to go out and work somewhere else. Well, I don’t do this every day, but it is flexible enough for me to choose where I want to work in.
The same can goes to you. You can choose to go to places where the environment is good and the white noise able to help you rather than to distract you.
7. Disconnect From Time-Waster
One of the main time-wasters of people who work from home is social media. In fact, social media distracts almost everyone, not only those who work for themselves.
When we are in front of our computer, we tend to want to check updates on Facebook or surf the web or YouTube for interesting stuff. These are fun stuff, but they did not contribute anything toward your success at all.
Hence, have the self-discipline to manage your time spend on social media. I’m not saying that you should stay away from social media all the time, however, you should disconnect yourself from these time-wasters when you are working.
Try to be as much as possible while you are in the flow and not get distracted.
There are plenty of apps that you can use to block yourself from using social media during working hours. Check out this website for recommendations.
8. Time-Block Your Most Productive Hours
Time-blocking is my favorite time management technique. It is effective, it is powerful and it gives me results.
All you need to do is to identify your most important task, and then time-block it. You block a chunk of your time for your task.
And during that blocked time, you will never do any other thing except the task that you have assigned.
For example, if you are in sales, you can time-block 2 hours in the morning, say, from 10am to 12pm to do your prospecting call. And during these 2 hours, you will do nothing except doing the calls.
Never get distracted and lock yourself in the room to do the calls.
And if you are a blogger, you can time-block your content writing too. Choose a time that will work out best for you and work on your content writing work.
Imagine if you use time-block and use it for a whole year, will this change your life? Well, maybe yes, maybe not, but you will greatly improve the results you get in life.
9. Use The Pomodoro Technique
Next, comes the Pomodoro technique. This is the strategy where you incorporate breaks into your work hours.
This technique suggests you work for 25 minutes, and then take a 5 minutes break. And this is considered as a session. You should repeat and work for 3 sessions and then take a long 30 minutes break before you continue again.
The Pomodoro technique works amazingly well. However, I don’t really follow through that much because usually when I’m in the flow, I don’t want to stop and I want to continue working.
You can also customize this technique to fit in your work working schedule. For example, you can work for 45 minutes and take a 5 minutes rest, etc.
The key here is to get small breaks and rests to maintain your energy throughout the whole day. You do not want to suffer burnout because of all work and without rest.
10. Connect With Other People
Do you know that socializing with other people will make you more productive? This is especially true for people who work at home all the time.
If you did not socialize and connect with other people for the whole week, what would happen? You will die of boredom and feel kind of lack of something in life.
Don’t just use the internet to connect with people, go out and meet people face to face.
Humans tend to want to connect and socialize with other people. We cannot survive without connecting with others.
Sometimes, you have to just go out, meet, talk and socialize to boost your productivity rather than staying at home facing your computer the whole day.
11. Create Your Working Ritual
It requires high self-discipline when it comes to working from home. There is no one there to hold you accountable. You can choose to wake up late or watch TV and there’s nobody there to check on you.
Therefore, the best approach to solving the discipline problem is to create a working ritual for yourself.
It is like a routine, or you can also call it a system.
For instance, wake up at the same time each day, go into your daily routine, and then start your work at the same time every day.
You need some form of consistency if you want to create a ritual.
Here are 2 great and inspirational examples of successful writers, Haruki Murakami and Ernest Hemingway.
Haruki Murakami’s Interview:
When I’m in writing mode for a novel, I get up at four a.m. and work for five to six hours. In the afternoon, I run for ten kilometers or swim for fifteen hundred meters (or do both), then I read a bit and listen to some music. I go to bed at nine p.m. I keep to this routine every day without variation.
The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind. But to hold to such repetition for so long – six months to a year – requires a good amount of mental and physical strength.
In that sense, writing a long novel is like survival training. Physical strength is as necessary as artistic sensitivity.
You can read the full interview with Haruki Murakami here.
Ernest Hemingway Interview:
When I am working on a book or a story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write.
You read what you have written and, as you always stop when you know what is going to happen next, you go on from there. You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again.
You have started at six in the morning, say, and may go on until noon or be through before that. When you stop you are as empty, and at the same time never empty but filling, as when you have made love to someone you love.
Nothing can hurt you, nothing can happen, nothing means anything until the next day when you do it again. It is the wait until the next day that is hard to get through.
You can read the full interview with Ernest Hemingway here.
So create your own working ritual. You need a system that you can follow through for the long-term to create amazing results in life.
12. Allow Natural Sunlight And Airflow
This is something easy, but yet, it is something most people neglect and never do. It is extremely important to allow some natural sunlight exposure in your workplace.
Studies have shown that working in an environment where there is exposure to natural sunlight tend to improve your productivity.
If you don’t believe this, just try to imagine yourself working in a cubicle and windowless environment that has no natural sunlight at all. How do you feel?
The same goes for natural airflow. Most workplaces are air-conditioned these days. If you are working from your home, you should have no problem switching off the air-conditioner to allow natural airflow from time to time.
Of course, turn on the air conditioner when it gets hot.
13. Plan Your Time And Schedule Your Work
If you want to work from home effectively, you must plan and schedule your work. The reason is simple, when you have no idea what to do and you are at home, what do you think you will end up doing?
The answer is none other than wasting time. You will spend more time on Facebook. You will take a rest or even sleep on your bed. You will do whatever task that has no impact on your goals and dreams.
Planning is extremely important when you are working all by yourself. It takes tremendous discipline to stay on track. Trust me, I’ve been there and I know how it feels.
So plan your day each week and each day. I will plan my week on Sunday and I will plan my day each morning. I will write down what I need to get done and stick to my schedule as much as possible.
One very important key to planning and execution is to be specific.
When you say that you are going to the gym today, it is not as strong as you say that you are going to hit the gym at 5pm for 1 hour today.
The more specific you are, the more likely you are going to take action. Thus, try to be specific with your task.
If you read until this point, it shows that you have better focus and you are serious about turning your environment to support your success.
You have learned how our environment can work as the invisible force that shapes our lives. Now, all you need to do is to create an environment that will boost your productivity and motivation.
When you are in a good environment, you will accomplish more. Use these 13 tips to work more effectively from home.
What do you think about this article? Do the ideas here spark your creativity and do you like what you have read? Share your opinion with me in the comment section below.