Time Management Series: Working From Home Effectively


I love working from home.


For years I couldn’t find the sweet spot between productivity and comfort, but I’ve finally nailed it.

Any time I need to really dig into a project, whether it be a process document or a heap of files I’ve got to trawl through, I work from home. I also use the home office option if my to do list has grown out of control, and being in the office has turned into a sea of meetings, phone calls and desk visits.

Working from home also has the benefit of allowing you to function during business hours with the rest of the world. You know what I’m talking about - doctors that aren’t open late, tradespeople that need to come at 10am. Life admin waits for no one to get home from work.

If your workplace offers a working from home option, take advantage, either sporadically or on a regular weekly basis. But do take my advice before you set your alarm a little later and fire up your laptop at home.

Before you leave the office

Make a to do list

This step is incredibly important before you head home from the office. Yes, it’s all well and good to create one from home at the start of your day but that’s where things can fall apart. You don’t have someone’s contact details, you left a pile of papers on your desk, or the files are on a server you can’t access from home.

Spend 15-30 minutes creating your hit list before you leave work and make sure you have all the resources you need. Speaking of which…

Make sure your technology is robust

Nothing makes me want to weep quietly on to my keyboard more than slow VPNs, progress bars telling me it will be another hour before my file downloads, or watching the spinning wheel of death.

This is such an important tip. Before you leave the office, make sure you have easy access to all the files you need, via dropbox, USB, your work server if it’s fast enough - whatever it takes, please, please make sure the files you need are easily and quickly accessible.

Depending on your work setup, also make sure you trial connecting to internet and VPN at home before you schedule in your first day working remotely. It’s a huge time waster otherwise, and once you’ve got your setup, you’ll be set for future days at home.

On the day

Get dressed

Yes, you can enjoy the perk of sleeping in a little as you won’t have a commute, but make sure you shower, get dressed and do your minimum hair and makeup routine. Your subconscious will think it’s a Sunday otherwise and your efficiency will start to wane before you’ve even gotten started.

Don’t do errands and housework

Again, it is a perk of working from home to be able to do some jobs around the house, or pop up to the bank or post office, but I wouldn't dabble in this until you have your routine down pat.

Yes, you can put the laundry on but then you have to hang it out. Yes, you can do a quick vacuum but then you’ll be reminded you need to mop as well. Suddenly it’s 4pm and you've done zero work. Stay away from the housework. If you need to do errands, schedule them on your lunch break but then I’d rather recommend…

Go out for lunch

In a similar vein to falling prey to pottering and housework, it’s also easy to stay on the computer from dawn to dusk and wind up feeling bleary eyed and exhausted at the end of the day.

A perk I do enjoy when working from home is heading up to a local cafe and dining in, feeling like I’m connected to the rest of the world for an hour. Grab a takeaway smoothie or coffee once you’re done, and head back to your desk feeling refreshed.

Complete an end of day review

Around 30 minutes before the end of your day, complete a workload review. Not only will this show you how much you’ve achieved that day but may also reveal some gaping holes in your plan. What couldn’t you get to because you needed to be in the office? What tasks were so much easier at home without distraction? This will help shape plans for future days working from home.

Did you find this post useful? Let me know in the comments below.