The corona virus forces people to work from home with the ability to do so. Companies where working from home has long been possible, but which, because of culture and habituation, still like to see everyone behind the desk between 9.00 and 17.00, suddenly have to let go of control. That can be scary, and not just for the employer. How do you get the most out of your working day when the cat walks on your keyboard, your kids' glands or your partner gives you a job? From Bloeise's many years of practice, you will find five extensive tips here that will make you more productive.
Why I work from home
I started 100% with Bloeise to work location-free. Whether I open the laptop in Den Helder, Dublin or Bulgaria, if I only have internet I can produce. As an entrepreneur I mainly have to work billable hours. With an employer you can safely work on an email for 8 hours, even if you think it is nonsensical. He pays your wages monthly. But you are not paid by clients for such a waste of time. You critically compare these with your colleagues on price, quality and speed. So how do you get the most out of yourself when you work from home?
It's about managing yourself in terms of time, energy and tasks.
1. Start with a morning routine
The repetition and structure of fixed things that you do between getting up and working will help you with the right mindset. You only have to start thinking when you are sitting at your laptop with a cup of coffee or tea. You make a bad start when you have to think about what you are going to eat or suddenly decide to fold the laundry.
Of course, what you do in the morning differs per person and household. My advice is in any case:
- Work outfit. Put on shoes and work clothes. That 'uniform' helps you switch to a work situation. You also look better on the webcam.
- Movement. Do you sit behind a screen all day? Start moving in the morning. There are many apps for that. The free 7 minute training gives you a good workout, deepen NoRoot Firewall if you find the ads annoying or buy the paid version.
- Meditation. Fencing is thinking, and meditating helps you stay sharp. The app HeadSpace is very professional and the first ten lessons are free. Also the app Insight Timer is recommended, here you can search for 'mindfulness', for example, 10 minutes, sort by rating.
- Having breakfast. Fuel for your morning work. Also prepare snacks if you know that you get hungry long before lunch. Healthy snacks can include walnuts, 85% bitter chocolate, cherry tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables.
2. Make a schedule
In many professions, there are more tasks and projects than you ever have time for, especially in marketing. The following step-by-step plan gives you clarity:
- Collect all your tasks. Check your goals, projects, agenda, email, WhatsApp, Messenger, LinkedIn messages, Facebook and possibly your own overviews, whatever channel that feeds you with tasks. Use a list for this so that you do this quickly. The first time costs you more time, after that you become very efficient.
- Group your tasks. Certain things you really do not have to do every day, such as administration, writing blogs, SEO, updating customers or colleagues and work meetings. You can group these kinds of tasks and tackle them all in one Monday morning or Thursday afternoon. That really gives you peace of mind.
- Organize your tasks. On Important / Urgent. Or Impact / Effort. So you know: these tasks are important and urgent or these tasks have little impact and cost a lot of effort.
- Plan your day. It is always said: start your day with the toughest job you dread the most. Then everything becomes easy. I do not agree with that, because everyone is different. My advice: plan your tasks on your energy peaks and troughs. If you have a lot of energy in the morning, start with the hard job. Do you have little energy? Then do the lighter work first, such as preparing or checking.
- Take ad hoc into account. In some professions, few unexpected bells, questions or tasks come in. The day fills itself for others. Therefore, never plan your day completely full, but for example for 80% or even 50%. You just need that margin.
I use three columns of tasks myselfor every working day. Work, Arrange for and Social. In Werk I set tasks with which I immediately take care of turnover. Most I pick up in the morning, the smaller of these I do in the afternoon. Arranging is for all tasks for Bloeise that have no direct turnover, but which can eventually generate turnover. I mainly do in the afternoon. I can often postpone these tasks for a few days or even weeks if necessary. Social is my column for those things that make life more fun and that energize me: people speak, hobbies and relaxation.
3. Avoid distractions
Attention has value, and everything that gives you attention grows. Similarly, distraction. The way you can deal with this per type of distraction:
- Others in the house. Take your permanent spot and designate it as an office during working hours. A sign 'do not disturb' or knocking when the door is closed are possible agreements. The kitchen table may sound nice, but you will find that it is not conducive to your productivity with others around the house.
- Your pet. So nice to see each other all day now! But a pet does not understand what that 'working' is. Therefore, just consider your pet's needs and try to steer that.
- Social media. That is such a big problem that I have already devoted an extensive blog to it with 40 tips to reduce your Facebook addiction.
- Chat. Many people work at home and ping you a bit of fun or suddenly start whole conversations. Turn OFF all your chat channels and notifications and prevent someone from consuming your time without being asked. Social contact is very important at this time, but choose your own moments for that. For example during lunch or coffee break.
- Phone off. Do you always have to be available to all your colleagues? What would happen if you inform your direct colleagues that you are doing tough jobs in the morning and are simply available in the afternoon? You get peace of mind.
- E-mail. Turn OFF all your email notifications. Make sure you have all the information you need to work in a Word document so that you have closed your mail program by default. Process your mail up to three times a day and do one of these things with every mail: remove after reading, forward as a task to another, save as a task for yourself to plan, Do directly if it doesn't take more than 3 minutes, parking to keep an eye on, to archive without further action.
- Sound. Everyone at home? You will notice that in an apartment complex! Put on relaxed music (Philip Glass for example!) or invest in a noise-canceling headset that also helps you on the go (the Sony WH-1000 xm3 is currently one of the best).
- Workplace. Spacious desk, storage folders, office chair, laptop and mouse. What else are you wearing office furnishings required? Exactly! So make sure you don't have magazines, books, tax letters or toys in your workplace. They also distract.
4. Relax too
Find the balance. Just put something beautiful in that one hour? Take a well-deserved short break. Because of the human tendency to just keep on buffering, many employers will soon see that employees more productive when they work from home. But relaxation is also important for the long term. Tips:
- Walk and move. Get up and get that new cup of coffee, glass of water or piece of fruit out of the kitchen. Do not place a coffee pot or water jug next to you on the desk, but make it a mini break. Just move. Ideally, you should walk away from your screen every hour.
- Do you suffer from RSI complaints? The tip that helped me: do some slow push ups every day. Five to ten is more than enough.
- Do you have problems with your back quickly? This daily exercise helps me with my long back: stand up straight, bend forward with stretched legs but knees not fully locked. Try to put your hands on the floor. Breathe in and out a few deep, and you will find yourself getting a little closer to the ground. Don't force it, get up quietly.
- These stretching and stretching exercises from Medifit Physical Therapy also help:
- Read! Grab a chapter and imagine yourself in a different world. Or just read the Donald Duck. Great to do immediately after lunch, for example.
- News. Just put your head above water and see what happened in the world. The 14.00 update from RIVM, your favorite weblog or Facebook. Keep an eye on the time.
- Get a fresh nose. Take a walk outside, eat a piece of fruit in the garden or on the balcony, or go shopping for lunch.
- Take time for lunch. Cozy with your roommates! Make it a good, healthy meal, because you now have that time (actually always right?).
- Smooth talk. As a home worker, you do miss that sudden brainstorm over coffee or goats with your colleagues. The tricky part is that you can't put your head in another department to see if they have time for a chat. Name this human need. See which ways you can agree to keep this personal nonsensical contact possible, such as a certain status in the chat, for example.
5. Use useful tools
… But only because they are also handy. The problem within companies is that a standard way of communicating has to be agreed. However, that does not always work for every job description. Therefore, see what room there is in your organization's policy for using those tools.
- Microsoft Teams is very useful to quickly set up an ad hoc meeting, but should you have this standard enabled so that everyone can suddenly distract you?
- Skype is free and very useful for that work meeting. But with the free version, you cannot record the conversation. Is the agreement for everyone if you use Audacity for that?
- With Google Drive you can easily share files and collaborate on one document. But can we agree that we first send an email before new feedback is received on an open document?
- WhatsApp everyone has and is always handy for working from home. Also agree here how you deal with it and especially what you can expect when you send someone a message.
- Zoom is the only one suitable for team consultation with larger groups. With Microsoft Teams, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts and Skype you do not see the image. Immerse yourself in the privacy options, which is why some companies ignore Zoom.
Improve your WiFi
Your most important tool at the moment is of course your WiFi at home. But what if you get WiFi cures? First tip: pull that ADSL cable to your router, problem solved. Is that not a solution for now? You give the Consumers' Association here explanation of how to measure internet speed and improve WiFi reception. However, they miss the best tip: switching your WiFi to a different channel than your neighbors. You do this as follows:
- Warn every user in advance that you are going to run with the Wifi. First check your current Wifi speed, for example with Speedtest.nl, for all individual users.
- Connected to the Wifi? Type in the address bar of your browser 168.1.1.
- Login to your modem, check your manual or Google 'Change KPN Wifi channel' or Tele2 or whoever you have for the exact steps.
- Go to WLAN or 'Network settings' and then 'Wireless'.
- Go to 'Channel ', 'Band' or 'Channel', depending on your modem.
- Edit to another channel and click Apply or Apply. Check your new Speedtest for all individual users. Worse? Try new channel!
No ADSL or fiber optic connection? 4G for T-Mobile's Home is still a possibility. See 4Gbuitengebied.nl for a comparison between KPN, T-Mobile and the new evenwifi.
Free printing service
Inks started a free printing service for all people who do not have a printer at home. That is how it works:
- Mail firstname.lastname@example.org with the document as a PDF attachment (multiple documents can be merged via https://smallpdf.com/nl/pdf-samenvoegen) and the following information: delivery address, color or black and white, number of times to print.
- You will receive the prints at home for free.
Fine such a free printing service? As a thank you, Exclusive Ink suggests a gift the Red Cross.
Did I miss something? Questions about a specific situation or challenge? Leave a comment below!