March 19, 2014


home office helperWhen you're working in a corporation, time gets wasted in less productive activities like meetings and memos. The best results come when you have time to think. That might be before co-workers arrive at work, when they’re at lunch or after they go home. Maybe you’re most productive at home before your family wakes or after your kids go to bed.

There’s more to life than extending the workday.

Enter the home office. You get many advantages but your productivity can suffer because you face many distractions too. Is that the fridge calling? In Part 1, we looked at basics of setting up your environment, tracking your time and stopping. This time we look at other tips for better results.

Have Morning Rituals

Do you touch your smartphone or tablet before you brush your teeth? Don’t. Leave your radio and TV off too. Control the way you start your day. Defer distractions until you’re ready for breakfast. Let the news, weather, traffic, sports, email, and tweets wait.

If you use your gadget as your alarm clock, get a real clock instead. Let your gadgets sleep in silent mode in another room, if possible. You don’t need to wake to a clock radio either.

Put Health First

Have a health regime which you ideally follow before breakfast. Since you've eliminated commuting, you have time (say for the seven minute workout). I allocate 30 minutes for ashtanga yoga, with a focus on breathing and stretching.

A proper breakfast helps too. We often eat leftovers from yesterday’s dinner – quick, nutritious, hot.

Ditch The Entertainment

You might think you’re more productive with the radio or TV on. Are you? We are not good at multitasking and get distracted easily (a reason to use time tracking tools). If you prefer background noise like a coffee shop, rain or birds, try soundrown.

I’m currently watching The Shield on Netflix. It’s tempting to sneak a peek over lunch. I don’t because it would be tough to return to the right frame of mind for work. Instead, I tend to read business articles or listen to a nonfiction audiobook.

Plan Your Activities

Plan your week and day in advance. Putting key activities into your calendar looks like the easiest way to schedule your priorities. That’s part of the first things first approach in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. There’s also the Getting Things Done process. You might find an amalgam works best.

Stay Accountable

When you’re working from home, who holds you accountable? Consider getting a private peer mentor. You help each other for free. That’s a win/win if you find the right person. If that’s not enough, you might want to hire a coach.

Use a CRM system

Are you following up on commitments and opportunities? The ideal CRM option helps you organize, take action and track results. It’s like having an assistant (or boss) — without working in a corporation.


PS When working, dress for a video call. That means look presentable from the waist up. You can still wear your slippers.

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