Working from Home

I have to be honest.  This is an area for improvement for me.

Let me grab my friend Luke.  I need some help for this one.

Luke, can you help me get better at working from home?

Probably not.

Great!  Let’s get started.  Now, you’ve worked at home for some time, right?

Yeah.  I started in 2015 and a heavy part of that was working from home.  Really, this was my first time working so often from home.  When you are in a situation like that,  you succeed or you drown.

Is it ok to call it W,F,H?

I don’t think anyone minds.

Ok!  So when you WFH, do you try different organization techniques to try to be more efficient?

Sure.  You have to.  Sometimes you try a totally clean, mostly empty desk.  Sometimes you try sacrificing a little of that space to have your necessities close by.  

My strategy is, if it takes longer to find it than to tidy up, just take a timeout and tidy it up.  It’s a better use of time than just floundering.

But it’s not just physical, think about your phone and computer.  Consider your desktop and your inbox.  Sometimes organizing digitally spends a little time  but can save a lot of time.

It’s all about experimenting.  I can give you some best practices, but you have to figure out what works for you.

So what does your workspace look like now?

Well, I keep a large desk with space for my laptop, tablet and other papers.  I’ve got a comfortable chair and the room is a comfortable temperature.

You want a set up that gets you into the zone.  It’s all about a state of mind.

For me, a clean space, some music and a bit of sunlight puts me into focus.

Give that a shot.  If it puts you in the zone, great.  If not, adjust and tweak.  

So we’re playing the hotter, colder game until we get the proper mix, right?

Exactly.

 

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One of my mentors, George Lenhart suggested you get dressed up.  Put on a button up shirt or put on your makeup like you were seeing clients.  This psychologically transforms you from ‘Home mode’ into ‘Work mode’.  What do you think?

I totally agree.  I don’t go into that extreme, but I’ve heard that works.  I do a modified version of that, but mine is with jeans.  A light hearted business-casual if you will. 

That’s great!  How about starter tips for someone just starting to “WFH”?

You don’t have to say the letters in conversation.  You can just say “Work from Home.” It’s probably more confusing to be honest.

But it’s so fun!

Alright!  So here are a few starter tips I’d recommend:

  1. Find a good chair.  Even if you spend a bit extra.  You’ll be spending a good chunk of your life here.
  2. Develop a strategy and give it a shot.  Don’t over think it since you’ll be continuously adjusting to keep improving.
  3. Carefully consider your schedule.  I try to do email work heavily weighted to early in the morning.  If you regiment your schedule, it will keep you focused.

That’s a good transition into set working hours.  How do you handle the 8-5?

For me it’s about 8:30am-4:30pm.  If you get an employer that’s flexible, take advantage.  You might not want to sit and work straight through.  Stretch.  Go for a walk.  I don’t always take breaks, but I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.  Time will tell!

So how do you deal with distractions?  For me, this is hard.

Distractions are unavoidable, but you can reduce them.  

Having a good routine and convincing yourself you’re in ‘work mode’ is key.  

Before getting into the zone, consciously preempt any causes of distraction.  If your phone keeps pulling you out of focus, change your phone settings.  You can check those later.  

That’s interesting.  I’ve been starting to study what I call “The Zone”.  Some people call it deep focus.

David Allen is the author of “Getting Things Done”.  He suggests a few techniques like doing important things early on in the day when you are fresh and can enter the zone easily.

Absolutely.  And remember that getting into the zone takes time.  Cherish that time when you’re in it.  You’ll get a lot done.

This is fantastic.  Any parting tips for us?

Respect your home and respect your office.  There is a boundary.  When you step into the ‘office’, you’re now at work.

Thanks again Luke!

Now I have to go reflect on all the ways I’m terrible WFH.

 

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