“The really happy people are those who have broken the chains of procrastination, those who find satisfaction in doing the job at hand. They’re full of eagerness, zest, productivity. You can be, too.”– Norman Vincent Peale
I work from home a lot of the time. In fact, many of us do; more and more people are doing either a portion of, or the majority of, their work remotely now. This is no surprise, really, with technology being where it is, remote employees and freelancers make a lot of sense in many ways.
However, managing your own hours in your own home is not always as cushy as it sounds to those who commute over to their 9 to 5’s every day. Procrastination is a genuine and common enemy among remote workers, and it takes some time to discover how to discipline yourself to reach optimum productivity. Although there are many things that will work specifically for the individual and their own personal habits and behaviours, there are a number of things that are guaranteed to curb your procrastination considerably…
1. Have A Designated Work Space
Naturally, we associate the home environment with relaxation and leisure. This association alone is enough to get in the way of productivity, but add to that all of the distractions and creature comforts sitting at arm’s length, it’s a wonder any work get done at all. A way to combat this is to have an area in your home, whether is be a section of a desk or an entire room, specifically dedicated to and designed to cater for a day of work. It should be a space that is set up to have everything you need to be productive nearby, and complexly free of temptation and anything that you know will trigger you meandering off focus.
2. Have A Tidy Environment
If you are anything like me, then you may find that the most undesirable jobs suddenly become very alluring when you are trying to avoid tackling a tricky work task or situation. So, before you start work, make sure that your immediate environment is tidy, that there is nothing you may be tempted to scrub, dust or organise. I have definitely fallen into the trap of organising my desk according to colour instead of replying to a difficult e-mail!
3. Remove Big Distractions
This is a follow on from the first two points, but well worth making a point of. Discrastions are everywhere now, so don’t put yourself on the back foot by having them in your immediate vicinity. You must try not to work in the same room as your TV, your consoles, your pets, or your phones. Yes, even your phone. If you don’t need it for work, don’t have it around. Or, if you do need it, put it on loud in another room to avoid habitual scrolling. The likelihood is that you will use a computer for work, so it is also a good idea to close any tabs on your browser that might draw you in.
4. Walk to Work
This is something I do that helps me to separate work time from home time. I get up early, have breakfast, shower, put my shoes on and then walk to work. When I say, ‘walk to work’, what I actually do is take a 30 minute stroll around my local park and return home. However, once I return home I am now officially ‘at work’, and so get right on with it, treating my home like an office. A walk to work is a good way to separate these two headspaces; ‘home mode’ and ‘work mode’.
5. Stick to A Schedule
Make a plan; a schedule or a to do list. Discover what structure works for you; how much you can tackle in a day, what, what kinds of jobs you do better when, when it is best for you to take breaks, and so on. Start every day with a handwritten schedule, to be kept near you at all times so that it can be ticked off as you go. The handwritten element helps you to connect with your plan.
6. Be Realistic About Productivity
On occasion, I used to think to myself, ‘yeah, I’m going to smash through this today and then I’ll have loads of free time tomorrow!’ Not only did I often not complete my desired to do list, but the work sometimes suffered. Nothing gets me anxious like an unattainable to do list. Be realistic about the amount of work you can get through, and plan accordingly. It is often good to stretch one’s self, but unrealistic targets can often do more damage than good, and send you in the direction of procrastination. Look after yourself.
By Chris Thomson
Working from home, and avoiding procrastination, is also, in large part, about maintaining motivation. Here are some thoughts on how to do that… Motivation: Tips on Finding It and Keeping It
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