You probably were one of those (very common) people, who – before the disaster of 2020 took over your life, was always quick to profess just how much you’d love to work from home instead of going to your workplace on a daily basis. I suppose you now look back on that version of yourself and shake your head at the sheer naivete, am I right?!

Covid-19 and the ever so lengthy lockdown has taught us that everything we wish for, is really not as wonderful as we expect it to be. We’ve learned just how much distractions you face when working from home.

Even though we are free from the duties of commuting to and from work, and the fact that we are free of the tasks of dressing up for work, and also of taking care of the home-front while at work, we’ve proven to ourselves that working from home often – just doesn’t happen very well. And when compared to pre-Covid, while you now actually have less to do, less is getting done.

In the past, the home might have seemed like the ideal place to work from, but now with the experience we’ve gained, many will beg to differ. But it’s not that the home isn’t the ideal place to work from, it’s just that maybe we should learn a few simple strategies of how to master it. Cause after all, Covid19 came upon us at breakneck speed, and we must remember to acknowledge our struggle and the fact that we are all beginners at this.

Here are six ways you can be a little more efficient- working from home.

1 – The Pomodoro Technique – Named after the Italian word for tomato, the Pomodoro Technique was created by this guy in the 1980’s who used a tomato-shaped timer when working. He set it to ring every 25 minutes, at which time, he would take a short break, and then return back to his work for another 25 minutes. This cycle was repeated until his work for the day was complete, and then he treated himself to a long break. This technique, if used well, works wonders when working from home too! But keep in mind, the 25 minutes that you set for working, must solely be dedicated to work and nothing else.

2 – Rewarding yourself is not bad – So what do you do after a high-intensity work session? Surely, getting yourself anxious about all the rest of the work that’s left to be accomplished, is not going to help. This will only make you dread approaching your work forever. Rather, do not hold back from rewarding yourself with a bit once you finish your 25-minute interval. Or aim for that one nice big treat you could enjoy at peace at the end of your workday. Whatever works for you. This way you have something to look forward to. Imagine what a better place the world would be if we all knew how to reward our own selves for all the work we do.

3 – Create goals for each day – Every day, before starting your work – make sure to make a note of the tasks related to work you must complete for the day. That way you won’t aimlessly be working all the time. If you do not set goals for the day, it will always seem like you have work to finish all the time. When you set a plan for the day, you will feel satisfied once you tick it off the list, and that in turn will give you the drive to complete the next job on the list. And voila, you have a nice productive day to look back on!

4 – Multitasking is not as admirable as we make it out to be – We live in a hustler culture that praises and glorifies multitask-ers. But let’s face it, multitasking is not really admirable at all. It is well known in psychological and mindfulness circles that multitasking, although looked up to, does not benefit or add to the well-being of a person. Rather multitasking is not good for anyone at all – it heaps unwanted pressures on you, you cannot practice presence while at it, and it does not support positive states needed for quality work such as focus and attention – all important aspects of doing a good job. So forget about becoming a great multitasker, and embrace the work ethic of doing your work – one step at a time!

5 – Treat Online Meetings as you would In-person Meetings – Video meetings from home have become a shield or a platform where many of us can really underperform at. With the ever available ‘connection problems’ excuse, it is so much easier for us to escape work and get nothing done for the day. If you want to work productively from home, take these online meetings and conference calls on zoom seriously. Sign in to the meeting on time, respect other colleagues’ times, and just be a dependable colleague.

6 – Tough times reveal true characters – For sure, these are times unlike any other. `Decide for yourself early on, what kind of person you want to be when times are hard. Working from home can bring out all sorts of scenarios, and say you have kids at home, or parents living with you, it can be particularly trying. While trying to be attentive to work needs, you can easily slip into not paying due attention to those at home, or worse, treating them unkindly. Specify your boundaries to the family when it comes to the expectations you require of them during work from home hours, and stick to it. Likewise, draw your limits for work too, if not, your mind will be in work mode the whole day, and that won’t be fair to anyone – including yourself. 

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