Tips for Working from Home

  • April 07, 2020
  • Bradley Taylor

Recently, I’ve had some friends reach out to me about the topic of working from home. I guess you could say I am sort-of-an-expert on the topic, literally. In a book by Malcolm Gladwell, he explains that 10,000 of doing anything essentially makes you an “expert” in that field. By my quick calculations, I have worked approximately 26,250 hours from home in my career. In this blog I will give a list of tactics that worked for me over the years.

The home workforce just grew by the millions in the last month as the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the world. With the advent of high-speed internet and reliable electronic devices with cameras, many types of work can still be performed away from the office.

In a text, my friend asked: “How do you work from home? Do you work on a schedule? I’m finding it hard to turn on and off.”

I replied: Yes, making a schedule is the best idea. I actually used a white board to plan my day. I would create my schedule the night before. I did this for years.  The writing on the whiteboard should serve as a general outline because things don’t always adhere to schedule. There will be interruptions and you may change the order of tasks as the day goes on. But it should always be there to help keep you on track. If you don’t have a white board then use an index card and tape it to your desk.

Some other tips I came up with for my inquisitive friend were these:

  1. Start working as soon as you are done with breakfast. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted by other things that need be done around the house.
  2. Take breaks every 1-2 hours. Lay in the sun, wash your dishes but DON’T TURN On the TV.
  3. DONT TURN ON THE TV. Distractions like this will undermine your entire effort. You are much more likely to get carried away in a show or movie and neglect your work day if the TV ever comes on. My rule is that TV doesn’t come on until after all work is done for the day.
  4. Naps are Fine. Take advantage of what you always wanted to do at the office. A 20-30 minute power-nap will give you a full recharge. It is fantastic. Even if you don’t feel tired, laying down for 20 minutes helps your bones and muscles stretch back out.
  5. Make a designated work space. Don’t allow other people to use it. Keep it clean and tidy. It should be considered your “Holy work place” in that nothing else but work should take place there. When you are there, you should be working.
  6.  Consider a standing desk. I currently work at a tall table that allows me to sit on a chair or move the chair to the side and stand up. There are work desks that raise and lower with the click of a switch. Being able to stand up and sit down while working will make your job a lot easier. You are taking some of the strain off your back.

Over time you will have the routine down so well that you may not need the white board. But many people choose to keep one as a visual reminder of what needs to be done. We are creatures of routine and when you build this routine it will definitely start to come as second nature.

One disclaimer I have to make is that in my almost 2 decades of running my business, I have found some people are just not cut out for the work-at-home environment. They get distracted very easily. And that is OK. We are all made differently.