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5 Ways To Make Working from Home Less Work
Work Smarter, Not Harder
There are dozens of ways that people working from home have found to improve the way that they live and work, and it's often the case that working from a home office is more efficient and economical than working in a large commercial office.
Here are 5 ways that you can make working from home less work:
1. Stay organized
2. Automate as Much as Possible
3. Don't try to do it all
4. Divide and Conquer
5. Make a Schedule
A successful implementation of these ideas can be the difference between a happy and healthy home office worker and an overstressed, under-organized home office worker.
Staying Organized in a Home Office
When you work from home, your "office" is often wherever you can lay your laptop or desktop to rest. As much as possible, try to work in a designated space for your activities, with all of the resources that you need to use on hand and ready.
In my case, my home office has a desk with a fax machine, desktop PC, a paper organizer and a charging station for my laptop and mobile devices.
Having a well organized home office with everything in its place saves you time and energy looking for what you need, and reduces the work involved in being productive.
If you don't work in the same place all the time, you can implement a mobile version of the office workstation by packing all of your necessary devices and organizers inside of a binder or case that you can bring along with you, and you can set up your mobile office in a café, library, or conference room wherever you happen to be.
Automate as Much as Possible
No matter if you work from home or not, every minute of active time spent on something you don't care about is a minute of active time you aren't spending on something you do.
If at all possible, and within reason with regards to cost, leave machines that can be done by machines to the machines, and reserve for yourself the things that require your time and attention.
As an example, if you are planning on going to a meeting or going on vacation, set your mail client to leave an automatic message, and you can save yourself a few minutes for each correspondence.
On a more application focused level, I rarely retype content. I cut and paste.
For calculations, I use spreadsheet based calculators that log my inputs and outputs, and I never have to do the math and risk an error.
Every minute spent making these things usually ends up saving you hours over the lifetime of the tool.
Do you work from home now?
Don't Try to Do It All
Just as you have a special skill that has allowed you to work from home in your chosen field, and have the abilities to warrant payment in that field, so too do others.
In many cases, it is more efficient and effective to obtain service from other people to do certain things for you and your business, both in terms of cost and time.
If you can pay someone for an hour of working time every week or two, and as a result save yourself 5 or 6 hours, that can usually translate into increased earning potential for a minimal cost.
Especially when you work at home, your time and productivity are tied together, and your productivity has value.
Divide and Conquer
Large projects can often be made up of 50 to 100 smaller projects, and these can and should be mapped out (at least partially).
Splitting your tasks into smaller parts can usually translate into better projects and more achievable goals. Not only does the mental work of setting milestones and achieving them pay off in terms of making things seem achievable, it often reveals new and better ways of completing your tasks and reaching your ultimate goals in the process.
Keep an Eye on Time
Make a Schedule
Making a schedule sounds simple, and it is. When you work from home, your life and your workday are often one and the same, with unscheduled interruptions and a busy social and personal life eating away at your productivity.
My advice is to stick to a schedule, even if it is self imposed. Try to keep regular hours for your activities, and maintain control over your schedule. You determine the pace and intensity of your work, but time limits and assigned, achievable goals usually translate into productive days.
Putting it all together
Now that you've learned these 5 ways to make working from home less work, you can get started making your home office into a well oiled machine.
Do you have any methods that I might have missed out on, or do you use any of the tips I've mentioned above?
Let me know in the comments.