It's Friday at 5! You've worked hard all week and are feeling exhausted. You can't wait for the weekend; finally a chance to relax and unwind. In addition to getting together with friends and family, you have a hike planned and the weather is supposed to be perfect.
But you also have a big project due Monday morning and you figure it will take about 4 hours of work to complete it over the weekend. Before you leave the office, you need to decide if you will come into the office to finish the project or work on it from home.
What makes most sense? How can you get the most work done and have it encroach as little as possible on your weekend plans?
These 3 D's will help determine where you work best:
DO YOU DISTRACT YOURSELF?
- Do you have trouble settling and focusing on your work?
- When working from home, do you start tackling overdue home maintenance projects?
- Are you constantly preparing yourself something to eat and drink?
- Do you find yourself searching for adorable dog and cat videos?
Everyone procrastinates a little and some people find it particularly hard to get motivated at home on the weekend. Taking regular breaks is an important and valuable strategy, but if you are unable to sit down and focus in your home, commit to getting your work done in the office.
DO OTHERS DISTRACT YOU?
- Do you have a spouse? significant other? kids?
- How likely are you to work without being interrupted by someone?
- Does your needy dog view you sitting at a table as an opportunity to get attention, constantly nosing your hand off the keyboard?
While we are all capable of distracting ourselves, it's even harder to get work done from home if you live with other people. Set realistic expectations of yourself and those living in your home.
If you are constantly distracted, it will take much longer to get your work done than if you simply went into the office for a few hours.
2. DESIGNATED SPACE
When working from home, where do you work? Is there a designated space that is quiet and has some privacy?
If you live alone, this may not be an issue for you. When living with others, it is difficult to focus and get work done in an open area.
I recommend avoiding the couch and keeping the TV off. When a TV is on, even with the sound off, it is distracting and will increase the amount of time it takes to get your project done.
If you want to work from home, can you ask your family to go to a movie to give you a few uninterrupted hours?
Without a quiet space, it may be difficult to accomplish your work. Your workspace should be clear - cluttered areas can make it difficult to focus.
This is the most important consideration in determining if you can be successful working from home.
To be your most productive, create some structure to your day. Don't sleep too late, eat a good breakfast, take a shower and get dressed. These morning rituals help to signal your brain that you are preparing to use it!
Otherwise, you begin the day thinking you have loads of time, only to find that it's four o'clock in the afternoon and you haven't done a stitch of work. And you're still in your pajamas!
Taking the time to map out a plan enables you to concentrate for set periods of time without distraction or interruption. I suggest using time blocking (scheduling appointments with yourself throughout the day for everything you want to get done).
Matching your work to the time of day when you work best will improve your efficiency, enabling you to complete your work faster.
Deciding whether you should go into the office or work from home is a personal decision. Being honest with yourself about the ability to concentrate effectively from home will ultimately save you time.
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