Jump to content

How to work from home successfully.


Neville

Working from Home Office

 

My name is Neville, and I've never had a job.

This means my entire working career there's been no office to show up at everyday.

There's no such thing as "vacation days" or "sick days".

There's nothing I can do to get fired!

I can work from home, a coffee shop, a co-working space, my own office space, my bed, the couch, the pool, or fly across the world and work from there.

To someone who's worked an office job their whole life this sounds pretty amazing. But like everything in life, it has it's Yin's and Yangs....good's and bad's....pro's and con's.

 

Working from home is great in some ways: PRO'S

  • Can wake up anytime you want.
  • Can go on vacation anywhere for any length of time.
  • Can do stuff during weird hours. Going to WalMart at 5pm is a nightmare....but going at 10:30am on a Tuesday is great!
  • Can do fun stuff during weird hours (like go wakeboarding on the lake at 10am on a Tuesday when the lake is smooth and no other boats are out), and then do work stuff at night.

 

Working from home can also suck in some ways: CON'S

  • People miss the social element of an office.
  • No accountability and people telling you what to do.
  • It can get lonely.
  • Sometimes kinda boring.

So for someone who's been at it his whole life, here's some of the tools you can use to successfully work from home.  This list comprises of the things I've invested in that've massively increased my work output consistently over the years.

 

 

1.) Wear ear plugs:

ear plugs blocking radio waves

I love working with ear plugs on.  It's like "my own little space."  Whether at home, in a coffee shop, a co-working space......ear plugs drown out just enough noise to let me write in peace wherever I am.  However they still let sound through enough to hear your phone ring, people talking to you etc.  I've been raving about ear plugs forever.

I've been through a lot of brands of ear plugs, and the only one's I can stand to have in my ear for long periods of time are Hearos.

I'm not sure why they're different than others, but all I know is they block out sound really well, and they're super comfortable.

A pack of 14 pairs will run you like 5 bucks.

hearos ear plugs

I think ear plugs might be the highest ROI (return on investment) product I've ever bought!  They are especially helpful when writing.  Since I have to write a lot, the ear plugs seem to keep the focus "in my head" for a lot longer than not using them.

I'm an easily distracted fellow, so cancelling out all auditory distractions is super helpful.

 

 

 

2.) Have a good pair of headphones that allows hands-free calling:

Different headphones on head

Over the ear.  On the ear.  Wired.  Wireless.....I don't care.  Whatever your preference is.  Just make sure you have a reliable set of good headphones you can wear for long periods of time that also allows hands-free calling.

This means it'll have that little volume dongle that also has a microphone in it so you can take calls.

You'll be using these for phone calls, and also for Skype and Google Hangout video calls.  Honestly the standard headphones that come with any iPhone are pretty dang good in all respects, so you don't need to spend a lot of money on headphones.

I personally prefer the standard Bose in-ear headphones.  They're compact, they're extremely comfortable, they fit in my pocket, and I can use them for other things like running and the gym.  For some reason the design of the Bose in-ear silicon thingy is the most comfortable I've ever used.  I can leave them in all day without a single tinge of pain on my ears:

bose-in-ear-headphones

I also have the large over-the-ear Bose headphones, but they're so damn big I can't possibly take them everywhere!  They take up a ton of space in my backpack when traveling and also require batteries.  So over the years I've transitioned 100% to a nice pair of in-ear headphones and love it.

 

 

 

 

3.) Use "Self Control App" to block distracting websites:

use self control app

This is a handy little program from Mac computers called Self Control that completely nukes certain websites on your computer for a set amount of time.  For example, I'll set it to completely block my top-most distracting websites for a certain period of time to get work done:

self-control2    self-control-app

You can also set it to only allow certain websites to be access for productivity purposes (Like Outlook.com or Gmail.com).

This app has saved me TONS of time when I'm feeling super lazy and start slacking off.  By simply restricting my access to websites like Reddit or Digg, I'm pretty much forced to do work.

 

 

 

4.) Install "News Feed Eradicator" Chrome Extension:

facebook news feed eradicator

I use Facebook for my business a good amount.....but the damn thing is so addicting and distracting.  ESPECIALLY the newsfeed (which is precisely designed to get you hooked in and scroll through Facebook). Because of this, I may go on Facebook to answer one little message, and then 30 minutes later I'm stalking friends-of-friends!

To combat this distraction, just install the "Eradicate Newsfeed" extension for Chrome to block the Newsfeed, yet still use Facebook.

This thing is a lifesaver.  It only prevents the Newsfeed from popping up, but allows all the other functionality of Facebook.

If you want to re-claim some of your time, this is one of the best ways to do it.  I've had people tell me of any tip I've EVER given them, this Newsfeed Eradicator was the most useful thing.

 

 

 

5.) Have a big brainstorming surface (Either a whiteboard, chalkboard, mirror, or window):

whiteboarding

Being able to write things out on a giant white board is extremely helpful.  It's also really helpful if you have a friend or colleague over and you're trying to explain an idea to them.

Having access to a big ole white board is always great.  However you don't ONLY need a white board.  It can be any large surface you can write on with a dry-erase marker.  Mirrors and windows make great dry-erase surfaces also.  I routinely use a big mirror in my living room to scribble on:

mirror writing dry erase marker

 

 

 

 

6.) Have basic office supplies ready:

office-supplies-shopping

This includes tape, paper, stapler, pens, markers, and a printer.  Yes....a printer.

The reason I say stock up on stuff like this is because when you ACTUALLY NEED THESE THINGS and you don't have them, it wastes an exponentially large amount of time.

You know how much time I've spent fastening together random sheets of paper because I didn't have staples in my stapler?  Or how hard it is to print something out if you don't have a goddamn printer?  It's so so so so much easier to spend $50 in advance and knock out all the office supplies you'll need.

Here's my little desktop-stash of office supplies, always within reach:

Basic office supplies

 

 

 

 

7.) Have fun toys laying around!

have fun toys home office

Working hard and earning good money isn't about trying to just work all day....it's about working hard so you can have a great life.  Life is better when you can sprinkle in a little fun into anything you do!

I have guitars all over the place.

I've got a piano.

I've got a 3D printer to play with.

I've got a hoverboard thingy to lazily roll around on.

You're the goddamn CEO of You Inc......bring as many toys to work as you want :)

Fun stuff guitars

Whenever I take a break to jam on an instrument or good around, I usually get the best ideas.  There's something about putting your brain into a playful state that helps you get a lot of creative work done.

 

 

 

8.) Have a "3rd Place" where everybody knows your name:

3rd-place

This is a concept I stole directly from Jordan Harbinger from (here's the episode about the 3rd Place).

A "3rd Place" is someplace that's not your house or office.....it can be a regular coffeeshop where you know a lot of people.  I think my 3rd Place would be WeWork.  I love going there, I know enough people to strike up a conversation whenever needed, it has lots of cool nooks/crannies where I can work in a non-traditional format.  Rain or shine, weekday or weekend, holidays etc....I can always go there.

Some people's 3rd place is a pub.

Some people's 3rd place is a park.

Some people's 3rd place is a restaurant.

Some people's 3rd place is a friends place.

 

 

 

 

9.) Keep relevant books for inspiration:

inspiration books

If you're a designer, have a bunch of books about design.

If you're a copywriter, have a bunch of books about copywriting.

If you're a programmer, have a bunch of books about programming.

Whenever you're stuck, or need some inspiration, you can always bumble through your stack of books and get some great ideas.

I have a separate "Reading Room" in my place where I keep an assortment of copywriting & marketing books.

relevant-books

relevant-books2

 

 

 

10.) Have a sitting AND standing desk:

sitting and standing desk gif

Sitting all day is not the optimal work position.  However.....standing all day is not the optimal work position either.

The optimal position for optimal work is BOTH sitting and standing.

Every single person I know who went to an all-standing desk goes back to sitting in less than 3 months.  Sometimes standing is not the optimal comfortable position.

The desks that are most badass allow you to sit AND stand.

I personally have been using a HumanScale Float Desk for about 3 years now.  This thing is a BEAST.  It uses no electricity, it's freakin huge (6 feet wide), it's extremely simplistic, and it works via an internal counterbalance that allows you to move the desk up-and-down with one hand with up to 165 lbs on it.

If you're going to be at a desk allllll day long, you may as well be comfortable....and sometimes being comfortable means sitting, and sometimes it means standing.

When I bought this desk it cost near $2,000.  I asked my mom before buying it if I was crazy for spending $2,000 on a desk.  She said, "No!  At my job they would spend $6,000+ on each workstation so people would be comfortable and work more."

Suddenly $2,000 didn't seem so bad, as I use this thing every single day for multiple hours.

I've noticed a lot of copycat desks like the HumanScale Float which are faaaarrr cheaper than the $2,000 I paid.  You can Google "Sitting Standing Desk" or "Adjustable Height Desk" and find a variety of them.

I would highly recommend setting up your home office environment up in a way that's conducive to your particular line of work.  While I think most jobs nowadays can be done with a laptop and a simple kitchen table, it's much better to have a proper workspace.

If you're a programmer or designer, perhaps you'll have a workspace with multiple large monitors.  If you're an architect perhaps you'll even have an old-school drafting table near your computer desk.  Whatever your job is.....take some time to make a nice, tidy, comfortable, and functional home workspace. A huge part of this setup will be your desk, so chose wisely!

 

 

 

11.) Lighting behind your desk for video calls:

Desk backlighting setup

If you work from home quite a bit, my guess is you take a decent amount of video calls.  For this reason it's important to have lights BEHIND your desk that brighten your face & surroundings.

If you already have great lighting in your home office then you probably don't need these lights, however most people's home office will not have ideal lighting.  This means when you get on a video call it looks extremely unprofessional and just plain hard to see.  This is where having a set of lights behind your desk comes to the rescue:

Desk lighting for video calls

I have a set of 3 lights behind my desk from Wistia's Cheap Lighting Kit guide.  The whole set of lights cost less than $100, and have really improved the quality of my video calls.  They are setup to a remote so I can click a button and all three come on at the same time.

This way whenever I hop on a Google Hangout or Skype call, I just press a button and it brightens up the picture!

The difference is easily noticeable.  Here's the LIGHTS OFF and LIGHTS ON pics from my 27" iMac stock webcam:

Desk lights off:

desk lights off

Desk lights on:

desk lights on

The picture with the lights on is far more easy to see.  Even with the bright sun shining through blinds of the window, with these lights I can still be seen.  #brownpersonproblems

 

 

 

12.) Keep a bunch of Sticky Notes around:

Sticky notes writing

You know what they're for.  They're so useful. You can never have enough.

 

 

 

13.) Throw "co-working parties":

co-working parties coffee

It's important to actively seek out others to work with, bounce ideas off, and just hang out socially.  You can do this by holding a casual "co-working party" every once in a while.

I used to hold "Morning Pool Writing Sessions."  I would just send out a small Facebook Event invite to a few friends I knew would show up, we'd go to the pool downstairs with laptops, grab some coffee, and work from IN the pool!

Fortunately these chairs hover your butt like 2 inches above the water so you don't get wet.

Here's Me, Noah Kagan, and Ryan Holiday chilling in the pool at 8am on a cold day.  I call this:

"Morning Pool Writing Sessions: Hoodie Edition"

Writing in the pool

Here's another co-working party, but this time at a rock climbing gym.  I sent out an invite for a random Wednesday for people to meet at the Austin Rock Gym and bring their laptops.  It was nice combination of getting some work done, friends meeting friends, and rock climbing.

"Rock Climbing, Horsing Around, and Co-Working"

rock climbing co-working party

These co-working parties are super cheap (maybe just buy some chips, salsa, water) and fun to throw.  It also brings out people who you may not know want a buddy to co-work with.

Have a co-working party at your home, at a coffee shop, at a work space, or even an unusual venue.  Just send out a quick Facebook invite to your friends and you're done!

 

 

 

 

14.) Work from a coffee shop (pro's and con's):

Working at a coffee shop

I used to be a total coffeeshop hound.  It was always a fun experience working form a coffee, kind of a like a little "field trip" from work!

PRO'S of coffee shop working:

  • If you've been cooped up at home for a long period of time and have no where else to work, a coffee shop is always a welcome change of scenery.
  • You serendipitously bump into people you know, or make new friends.
  • Since there's other people around and you specifically went there to get work done, you're less likely to sit around and goof off.
  • The distractions can also serve as a creative outlet.  Sometimes being outside of your normal environment drums up great new ideas.  I've had lots of great emails and pieces of content I've written from coffee shops.

However there's some serious drawbacks to consistently working from coffee shops:

CON'S of coffee shop working:

  • It's actually pretty expensive.  I would routinely spent upwards of $20 or $30 working from a coffee shop.  Getting 2 drinks, a sandwich and a cookie will easily ring up a $20+ tab!
  • The amount of distractions are through the roof:  People coming in-and-out, jockeying for a place to sit, finding out where you can plugin your laptop, loud people talking etc.
  • Shitty internet is a common thing.  I'd say when working from a coffee shop that 25% of my time is spent fiddling with the damn internet.  It works sometimes, then cuts off.  Sometimes it flat out doesn't work at all.  Sometimes it's super slow.  Generally without internet you can't do much, sooooo what was the point of coming to the coffee shop then?
  • Just trying to go pee is a major life decision of leaving all your stuff unattended and asking a stranger to watch your stuff.
  • Taking calls or video calls is unprofessional looking and difficult.  Slow internet, background noise etc really prevent you from doing any sort of proper video calling.
  • Driving, parking, figuring out which coffee shop is open....it's all a big time suck and distraction.

I've gotta say in the past 10+ years I've got a TREMENDOUS amount of work done at coffee shops, but the experience of coffee shop working is always inconsistent and riddled with distracting variables.

I'd say I've got FAR MORE WORK DONE at various co-working spaces.

This brings me to the next tip for working from home.......

 

 

 

15.) Join a Co-Working space:

co-working conversation

I personally love co-working spaces.  The very first co-working house in the U.S. was started by my friends right here in Austin, and now the co-working concept has massively exploded into every city.

My personal all-time favorite co-working space is WeWork.  Honestly I'm not even sure if there's a single competitor who has done co-working as well as WeWork.

It's a co-working space with offices alllll around the world. I obviously go to the one in Austin, but also New York and San Francisco when I'm there.  It's SUPER CONVENIENT to have a proper place to get work done besides a janky coffee shop.

It's got all the things you need to get some serious work done: Conference rooms, coffee, water, beer, restrooms, safe to leave stuff around, 24 hour access, power outlets, printers, office supplies, fast and reliable internet, and great locations.

I used to associate "co-working spaces" with just a bunch of semi-un-employed freelancers, but WeWork is a legit collection of real businesses, freelancers, lawyers, accountants, big companies etc all bundled into one great space.

There's developers/freelancers/designers/lawyers that use the huge WeWork network to drum up all their clientele.

I probably get the MOST AMOUNT OF WORK DONE at WeWork compared to any other single location.  There's something about the way it's setup, the people there, and the amenities that make it a great spot to get hours and hours of work done.

I particularly like that at one WeWork working session I may sit at my desk, use a little "phone booth room" for an hour, setup in a conference room for a while, take a break on the balcony, go to the little yoga room and do some pushups and handstands, grab a cold brew coffee, grab a snack, chat with some friends.  It's like having a full-on tech office experience without actually having a job (or having to hone my workplace communication skills) :-P

Ever since getting a WeWork membership I no longer enjoy going to coffee shops to work.  There's too many variables, shitty internet, and distractions to deal with compared to WeWork.

So if you're looking for a great spot that can be your own "3rd Place", a nice getaway from home, and a place to socialize yet get work done, I'd super-highly recommend a nearby co-working space if you have one!

 

 

 

16.) Have a nearby caffeine source:

Drinking caffeine

Most people like a bit of caffeine, so instead of having to hunt it down every morning from a store or restaurant, it's nice to have it handy.

This means keeping some coffee or tea at home.

In my apartment complex we have a free coffee station thingy, and it's a morning ritual of mine to go downstairs and make the coffee-robot brew me up some fresh black coffee or a cappuccino:

Coffee machine area whitley

I try my best to avoid putting too much milk and other crap in there.  The goal is to get pure caffeine into your system, not shit-loads of sugar that will crash you within an hour.

If you wanna get totally buzzed, try drinking between 200mg and 400mg of caffeine on an empty stomach before noon!  It's safe for healthy adults, and if you cut yourself off by noon it shouldn't interfere with your sleep.

You know that actually sounds pretty good, think I'll grab a cup right now :)

Coffee machine making

 

 

 

Example weekly schedule of working at home:

Working from home schedule

Every day and week is different of course, but here's a rough sampling of how a week will go (keep in mind my entire life is within 4 square blocks Downtown, so transitioning from place-to-place requires only a quick walk):

  • Monday: Writing day. Work from home in the morning. Take a few calls.  Around 1pm head to co-working space and write.  5pm go to gym.  Dinner with friends.
  • Tuesday: Consults day.  Home all day taking calls.  Do work in-between.  Catch late lunch with a friend. Work or goof off till night.
  • Wednesday: Writing day.  Go to WeWork early in morning.  Work until tired.  Around 2pm head back home.  Workout.  Work some more from home.
  • Thursday: Consults day.  Home all day taking calls.  Do work in-between.
  • Friday: Writing day. Will either go work with a friend, to a co-working spot.
  • Saturday: Sometimes will do a "Smart Saturday" where all day long will get work done.
  • Sunday: Typically get 2+ hours of work in if no other plans.

 

 

 

 

17.) Getting a Work From Home Job:

Working from Home Office

All of this information assumes you already have a work from home job.....but what if you don't?

If your company doesn't allow it, maybe you can try this script with your boss:

If you want to do your job from home, then you have to convince your boss and your company it will benefit THEM.....not just you! That is the key.

The above script makes sure it shows that if you do your job from home, the company will benefit from it.

 

Hope this example and all these tips helps you better work from home!

 

 

Join the email list and download this whole Working From Home post for your files:

Click here to subscribe

 

Sincerely,

Neville Medhora - Writing this from home

 

P.S. What are some of YOUR working-from-home tips?? Let everyone know in the comments below!

 

 


User Feedback

Recommended Comments



Guest Kenneth Paul

Posted

I like the ideas you mentioned here. I also like your style and how you keep people's attention. I usually keep it simple, I just get on the couch or in the recliner with my laptop to get some work done. I have a job so I'm not a full time Entrepreneur YET!

Thanks for all the things you share, I just bought your book and will be looking to buy you Kopywriting Kourse soon in the near future.

I am new to Kopy Writing but feel this will be the lynch-pin that TIES all my ideas, futrure products, and current business together.

THANKS again,

Kenneth Paul

Link to comment
Guest Marmel

Posted

There are a lot of distractions at home--and it's not just websites but things you see and want to tinker with (ex: a new gadget). I would suggest time-boxing your tasks using the Pomodoro Technique especially when you need to get things done. One thing to have is a ritual as well. For example, mine is (upon waking up, does not matter what time): drink water (hydrate!), bathroom stuff (hygiene), smoothie, write in my journal, reading time, go through my MIT (most important task) for the day--and the rest will follow.
Link to comment
Guest Pete OC

Posted

Hey Neville,

I like the ear-plugs idea... and that feeling of getting into "your own little space".

My method for doing that is putting my headphones on and listening to alphawaves... or white noise. (Go to simplynoise.com)...

For some reason it gives me a laser-like focus on whatever I'm doing... especially if it's mentally demanding.

Anyway mang, nice article... thanks for the info

Pete

Link to comment
Guest Shyam

Posted

It is fun when our creativity gets activated while working alone from home.
Link to comment

Been working from home for a few months now, and loving Todoist! I put all the tasks (even really basic ones) on a list, and start ticking them off. Very satisfying :)

Taking a hard stance on 'no books during the lunch break' because then I'll get suckered into finishing it :(

And for toys, highly recommend checking out nanoblock! Little bit like Lego, great fun, and kinda sorta works like meditation!

Great tips about using Self-control and news feed eradicator' - getting on to that right now.

Link to comment
Guest Paige

Posted

Hi there!

I am finishing up my degree in Creative Writing in New Zealand and someone mentioned to me recently that copywriting could be a career avenue. Because of this, I found your blog, and have just today printed off The Boron Letters.

I sometimes find it hard to do study at home, as I am surrounded by distractions. What helps me is to reward myself for hard work, but in a different way each time.

Example 1: Accumulative reward

I tend to use this one when i feel particularly motivated

1hr continuous work = 1 candy bar

2hrs continuous work = watch a tv episode

Etc

Example 2: timed rewards

I tend to use this one when I'm struggling to get into the work I'm doing. First start with 30 minutes of fres time. Then go into an hour of work. Once that is done, reward yourself with another 30 min break.

With this one i eventually loose track of time while working and do a solid 2-3 hour block.

Well I hope this helps people. Sorry in advance for any spelling mistakes etc. I only have access to my phone while my laptop is getting fixed.

Paige

Link to comment
Guest Brent Mercer

Posted

Step #5 - Make sure to use dry-erase and not permanent markers on your mirror. I have a *friend* that did that once...
Link to comment

Hi Nev - great post.

A lot of people assume that listening to music is fantastic for enabling you to get "stuck in" whilst working.

Although listening to music (or at least the decent stuff...) CAN be good, I have found the trick is to ONLY listen to instrumental music.

Why?

You won't find yourself getting distracted by the lyrics. Also - have you ever been typing away whilst listening to someone talk/sing only to realise you have zoned out and accidentally typed whatever it is your are listening to? Rather than what you ACTUALLY wanted to type? Yeah. So annoying.

Here's some I've listened to recently:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8pVz6nJpEc

The examples I've given here might not be to everyone's taste, but once you find your sound - the effects are great.

Link to comment

If you've use permanent marker on a white board, simply go over the ink with an dry-wipe marker and it will all come straight off!

Deodorant works well too, the alcohol-denat must pull away the ink pigments.

:-)

Link to comment
Guest Julian Yong

Posted

Pomodoro Technique works wonders. 4 short sessions with a short break between each, and one long break after. Can't work too long, you need to take time to rest your eyes as well. It's good to stretch often and look at green objects like trees during your breaks. Staring at your laptop screen for too long isn't healthy.
Link to comment
Guest David

Posted

Something that's made quite a difference for me even though it's obvious: I think it's good to have a space that's dedicated to work and clearly separated from the rest of your home (i.e. office with a door that closes, a shack in your garden, whatever), that way you can have some kind of "going to the office routine" and separate work/play more clearly. Separate computers to me is even better than Self Control (just block stuff permanently on your "work" computer).

I've been meaning to try those Bose earphones 'cause as you point out, they're way lighter than standard headphones. I'm curious if you've tried the noise cancelling version? Or maybe someone else here has! Would love to hear opinions about them before I take the plunge.

Link to comment
Guest Rafael

Posted

In addition to what you already mentioned:

1. Quick workout in the morning. The purpose here is get your blood flowing, not to train for the rest olympics. My morning routine includes 100 push-ups (usually intervals of 20-40 with 30 second rests), or 100 situps, or 30 pull-ups. I mix them up every day.

2. Morning coffee in the sun (if there's sun). While sipping coffee I go over notes on Evernote that are related to things I'm currently working on, or to prime myself into a positive mindset.

3. Use pomodoro technique. The traditional pomodoro is 25 minutes work and 5 minutes rest (I think). I usually set my pomodoro form45 minutes work, 7 minutes rest. However, I don't strictly follow it. If I'm in a flow state, I keep on working and ignore the bell.

4. During (pomodoro) rest periods, do something unrelated to what you're currently working on. Play guitar, read a book, do a quick workout (if you're tired), take a quick shower...

5. Drink water. Keep a bottle at your desk regularly, and take a sip every now and then. This keeps you alert and combats drowsiness.

6. Take a coffee nap. I recently started doing this, and it's amazing. If you're tired/drowsy, make a cup of coffee, and take a 15-30 minute nap immediately after. It doesn't actually matter if you're able to fall asleep or not, but try to. You'll wake up extremely alert and ready for action. ( the science behind it, in a nutshell, is that it takes time for caffeine to kick in, and by the time you wake up, you will feel extra altert thanks to the caffeine &a nap mix)

7. Diffuse distractions. My work office is problematic... I have my bed right alongside my desk, TV (even though I don't watch Tv anymore) etc...the mere existence of these objects can be distractions. So if you have no choice, and you can't work from a separate room, then diffuse these distractions. Examples: unplug your tv from the chord, put a ton of bags on your bed, making it unsleepable.

8. Work with an extra screen. I literally can't work without 2 screens, especially when I'm coding/designing stuff.

I'm sure there's more I can't think about right now...but that'll do for now

Link to comment

Thanks for the article bro, got out with some future ideas for my Batcave.

I'm a video editor and most of my work is done from home.

Most of the time it's great cause I can do anything I want but it's also the worst thing because of that. I don't have a separate room to work in so the freaking bed is always near my desk. This is how I roll:

1) I do my bed as soon as I wake up. Aside from that 0.1% feeling of doing something right, it's so tidy that it sort of stops me from messing it up again.

2) I use an app called ColdTurkey instead of Self Control, but I guess it does the same thing. It automatically comes with a list of 25 websites that you can block with the option of adding more. Got Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Reddit and more blocked until 9pm. Until then I'd always say I wouldn't then end up watching 3 hours of YT. https://s31.postimg.org/dtzkf0jcr/Screenshot_2.png

3) I try to eat as late as possible in the day. I'm more energized when I'm on an empty stomach and everything I want to do after I eat is take a big nap. I usually snack on easy things like watermelon and carrots.

4) 2 hours after I wake up I'm the most productive I'll ever be during the day, no need for caffeine. But after that, I want to ride that bed and usually that's when I hit the gym. I get energized with a shower then I'm right back at it with the white vans.

That's me.

Great insights from everyone in the comments here!

Link to comment
Guest Mark Gavagan

Posted

Before shutting down at the end of the day, write the three most important things to do the next day (most important item first) and post it conspicuously. Next day, immediately read the list, then focus only on the first item until it's done, then the second, then the third.

(Not my original idea and not just for working at home)

Link to comment
In case you don't have the ready cash to get a standing desk, a reasonable alternative is a single or dual adjustable armed monitor stand (now as low as $70 although I paid more like $200) that fastens to your desk. Add to that an adjustable laptop stand (about $30) for your keyboard. For sitting comfort, a rocking footrest for underneath the desk can be helpful (about $30). There are tabletop standing desk additions, as well in the $350 range, but I haven't tried them.
Link to comment
Guest John Thomas

Posted

Two things help me quite a bit: having a morning routine (I use Hal Elrod's Miracle Morning) and Focus@Will which has music in different styles or ambient sounds (your choice) that I can listen to that keeps me focused.
Link to comment
Guest Danielle Kelder

Posted

I recently discovered the app Forest and I love it. It uses the Pomodoro technique, with a countdown timer, AND it blocks distracting websites. What I love about it is that instead of warning you or simply closing the websites again, you plant a tree and if you visit the blacklisted websites, your tree dies.

I don't want dead trees in my forest.

So I click to plant the tree, work hard for 25 minutes (or more) and then admire my tree and give myself 10 minutes free time.

You can find it here: http://www.forestapp.cc/

Link to comment
Thanks for the tips Neville! I've been a copywriter for several years (in house) but have only been reading your stuff now for a few months, and have to say you breathe fresh air into the industry. I look forward to your emails and their insight and wit each week. I also picked up your book on Amazon, totally dig it. As for tips for working from home, I would have to say that I always have a steady stream of Jake and the Neverland Pirates cued up on Netflix. The show captivates my toddlers and prevents them from harassing me while I try to get some work done. I've also found that working out early in the morning (a la Gary Halbert) really wakes me up and sets up the day well. Thanks for again!
Link to comment
Guest Monika Richrath (@EFTloesung)

Posted

Hi Neville,

as I am a very disciplined person, I have only one rule I stick to: never to do any work on my computer in my pyjamas! For me, the most important is to keep my private life separate!

Kind regards,

Monika

Link to comment
Awesome post. My tip for anyone starting out is to put pants on. It's crazy how much more productive you can be from home when you change out of your pajamas or actually put clothes on. It took me a few solid months to realize that my laziness was showing up not only in the no-pants wearing to work,, but my work itself. So word to the wise: get dressed even if you don't plan to leave the house. It will help start your day.
Link to comment
Guest Marina

Posted

I've been working from home for around 6 years and this is my magic formula, so I hope it will be helpful to others:

- Having both standing and sitting desk is a good option, but I've found that balance board ( eg http://goo.gl/u0dmtx ) and standing desk work magic for my back. Find some great music and you'll have both fun and exercise while you work. I'm a funk head so my personal favorite is: http://radionula.com/

Mixcloud is also useful.

- Flexible work time is tricky for me, though it's useful when I travel. I work in 2 chunks of time (morning and evening, 6+3 or 6+4 hours usually), so I can "recharge my batteries" in between.

- Socializing is important, at least 2-3 times a week, otherwise I become the person from the Oatmeal's comic (http://theoatmeal.com/comics/working_home). I don't have much of free time and I carefully choose people I spend it with, which keeps my optimism at peak.

- Keeping a lot of plants and having a good light in my work space benefits my mood>>motivation.

- I use Trello for organization (from personal tasks like "call your mom" to managing projects at work), this plugin for blocking all distractions: https://www.gofuckingwork.com/ and this android app to speed things up: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.plafhop.getshitdone.

- No sweets and simple carbohydrates allowed while I work, so I don't get sleepy and lazy. If I want something sweet, I eat a piece of fruit. By all means, fight the pig within you and you'll be happier, I promise.

- Having a separate bedroom with no gadgets inside (only Kindle is allowed, but no wifi use!) helped me sleep better, so I have plenty of energy when I wake up. Earlier I lived in small apt with no separate bedroom and watching my work desk from my bed gave me the feeling that I work 24/7.

- Dancing 'till morning hours on weekends is my best stress reliever. Having priorities instead of deadlines also helps a lot. Living a good life, laughing a lot and having no toxic people around you also helps a ton.

- I don't work in pajama or underwear, it only makes me wanna go back to bed.

- Loving my job (aka being good at what I love and having a good income from that) is maybe the most important factor for motivation. There were days when I did lousy projects for lousy money and I couldn't make myself to go out of bed, but I knew if I keep fighting and learning that there will come a day when I'll be able to choose nice projects and nice people to work with. Now I'm eager to wake up and "go" to work :) So, if you're going trough hell, keep going, there's a sunshine ahead :)

Link to comment
Guest Old Curmudgeon

Posted

All very interesting suggestions. For the past 45 years and more I've free-lanced writing legal briefs from my home office and I've found it useful for my desk to be positioned in front of a blank wall. Windows and decorations are a distraction. I work seven days a week, take short hourly breaks, although if I'm hot on the trail of a narrative or argument often I work until it's drafted out. I need quiet (no music, although I like to hear the birds singing outside) and a comfortable chair and I don't play well with others when there's work to be done. I have no use for the growing list of electronic distractions that most young people seem to crave (e.g., Facebook, twitter, etc.), but I indulge myself with twice-daily walks covering roughly five miles everyday, weather be damned (often I sort out legal arguments as I walk and record them for later consideration). I suspect my work habits are more useful for those who do technical work, whereas if I wrote comedy or screenplays most likely the work product would be better if there was someone else in the room.
Link to comment
Guest Josh Reola

Posted

Agree with all the above. Great thread. About the lighting. It's key. Why be on video if it sucks? Also most people don't know but good lighting can save you on bandwidth also more processing power is needed. If you ever travel and your location has crap bandwidth, remember lighting!
Link to comment
Guest Jesal Trivedi

Posted

Fantastic Tips!!

I have been working remotely for my job (and my side gig) for over 2 years now. Few tips I can provide:

1) Waking up with intention and morning routines help frame your work day out. You're waking up with a purpose and goals in mind.

2) If you hit the gym in the AM, do it and take a shower. If not, still take a quick shower/rinse. it cleans off yesterday and focuses you for today.

3) Always have your To-Do list ready from the night before so you don't waste time figuring out the stuff you need to do. Just jump right in.

4) Take a break and go for a walk to stretch your legs and refocus your energy. Listen to an inspirational podcast that reminds you of your goals and what you're trying to achieve.

Hope that helps!!

Link to comment


×
×
  • Create New...
Guest