There’s no denying it. The pandemic has had a profound impact on how we “life”. Celebrating major events no longer requires cleaning up. (A ponytail, sweatpants, and a nice top will do.) Coughing in public is almost a criminal offence. And certain industries are on the verge of disappearing. (Does anyone wear lipstick anymore?)
And then there’s this new trend in office jobs called remote working. I must confess that when it comes to working from home, I’m a bit of an authority. Before working as a freelance writer, I had a business called The Home Office where I helped individuals and businesses with administrative tasks. My edge? It was the 80s and I had a home computer.
What I’m about to share with you are my hard-earned secrets on how to be efficient while working in close proximity to your humming refrigerator, screaming laundry, and other minor distractions.
Secret #1: Get out of bed before noon.
So, you think you’re a night owl. Or at least that’s what you tell yourself when you sit down at your computer at 9 a.m. sharp and realize that you’re just “not in the mood” to work. But wait! You said the same thing last night at 10 p.m. Night owl … early bird … These labels we give ourselves are EXCUSES. Set your hours and get to work.
Secret #2: Lunch is at noon. 1 p.m. the latest.
Stop wearing out the floor between your desk and the fridge. You’re not hungry. You’re PROCRASTINATING. The best way to control your walks into the kitchen is to stop buying snacks and junk food. Eat breakfast and get to work. You can stop to eat again at lunch time.
Secret #3: Turn off notifications.
Oh, but what if your friend Jane posts pictures from her recent hike or you miss the latest Tik Tok video on how to make ice cream out of marbles? Sure, it may only take a few seconds to catch up, but did you know that it takes about 20 minutes for you to re-gather your thoughts and put your brain back into your work? And besides, social media platforms WANT to distract you because they don’t want you to get ahead in life.
They want you addicted to their junk so that they can tell advertisers that they have eleventy billion viewers who spend an average of 14 hours a day on their platform. Do you really want to play a part in them getting rich while you fall behind in your own work? No, I didn’t think so. Get off Facebook and get to work.
Secret #4: Be your own boss.
Okay, so working from home means no one is looking over your shoulder to see how far you are on that project you’re working on. Along with dinosaurs and lipstick, micromanaging is becoming somewhat extinct. That said, you still have to get your shit done. Make a list of what you need to accomplish in a day … a week. Open a spreadsheet and schedule your to-dos in your calendar if you must. Just remember that watering your plants is not work-related and over-planning can be a form of procrastination.
tie sweatpants and get to work.
Secret #5: Know yourself.
Whether your work is strategic, creative, or administrative, you need to know when you do your best work. Odds are your job requires you to be a little of everything, so you need to plan your days accordingly. As a freelance writer my job entails figuring out what my readers want to read (strategy), writing (creating), and billing my clients (administration). Since I’m my sharpest in the morning, I reserve that time for writing and strategy work.
Secret #6: Move your body.
Don’t kid yourself. You may not have to sit in traffic but sitting behind a screen all day does have its occupational hazards. Bursitis, tendonitis, stiff back, aching neck … these are real pains and can become chronic. Get up from your desk often to refill your water bottle, go for a walk, and fit in an exercise (daily if you can). The good thing about walking away from your desk while you’re into a project is that you continue thinking about it. It may be time away from your computer but it’s not always time away from your work.
So yes, we are all different. While I can’t promise you that these secrets (except that they’re not really secrets anymore) will work for you, perhaps if you follow them to a tee, you’ll see a difference in how efficient you are in your work.
More blogs that you just can't miss from Mona Andrei
An award-winning humour blogger and the author of SUPERWOMAN: A Funny and Reflective Look at Single Motherhood (Cynren Press). Mona writes about everything from parenting to birds pooping on her car (on purpose!) to how much her kitchen hates her.