I can’t remember the time I worked from an office, away from home, a place where I would go to for x number of hours to do a y number of things.
I enjoy working from home. No morning or after commuting. No traffic. No having to get dressed. Or even put on any clothes. No, I can jump into my work at once.
But working from home is not for anyone. Not everyone can handle the discipline it takes to work so close to the living room. Kitchen. Bedroom. Not everyone can handle the distractions from other who live in your home, those people you love, but have no understanding of what you do and that working from home is working.
One of the hardest on them – and you – is to learn to respect your time, your space. That though you are home, you are working. They wouldn’t just barge in, unannounced, to your office, yet, at home its totally OK.
Working from home definitely has its perks, but what most people don’t realize is that it takes incredible discipline, focus, and drive to plan your day, maximize it, and just plain crush it. Here are some habits that can help you make the most of your day.
Jumpstart your morning.
A while back, I heard a podcast that completely changed the way I look at mornings. It’s calledand it’s hosted by Hal Elrod, the author of a book called I liked everything I heard: it was an in-depth guide to structuring your mornings so that you can accomplish things early in the day. Since following the podcast and reading the book, I have become a real fan, so much so that I started writing about my experiences with cultivating a morning routine ( , for example).
Do your hard work early.
According to scientific research, the brain’s peak performance happens 2-4 hours after we wake up. Early work allows the brain to focus fully on the problem at hand, with fewer distractions, less inputs from our environment, and with a lot of energy that we’ve gained from a restful night. This is why I adjust my mornings so that I do my deep work first – anything that requires the most concentration (reading, writing, problem solving). I stay away from checking emails before noon, I leave all my calls and meetings for the mid to late afternoon, I listen to the news later in the day (while driving, for example) instead of first thing when I wake up.
Get social in the early afternoon.
Once you get a lot of your deep work out of the way, use you afternoon to get social with your network. This covers the 12-4 p.m. time range, when you take a lunch break and the few hours after lunch. It’s a good time of day for collaboration, and you can use it to schedule meetings, make phone calls, get involved in online discussions, and work on projects where you can provide feedback to others and get valuable advice regarding your work.
Use your evening for the big picture.
Evenings which are usually in the 5-9 p.m. range can be scheduled for strategic thinking. This is typically the time of day when the brain slows down, doesn’t go at top speed to adhere to deadlines you set for it, so it has space for more creative thinking. If you’re thinking of setting goals, strategizing where you want to be in 6 months’ time or a year with your personal development or career, this is when you can outline your next steps. It’s a great time for being bold, dreaming, scheming, and planning.
Depending on your personal preferences, your fitness levels, and your work schedule, select a time in your day to move your body and get an energy boost. It doesn’t necessarily mean you need to hit the gym at 5 in the morning (unless that is your optimum exercise time, in which case you’re already one step ahead!). Pick an activity you enjoy doing, or choose something entirely new to give yourself an additional challenge early in the day. Your mini-workout can be as short as 10 minutes (aor a set of hindu pushups or sun salutation poses) or just a bit longer session of 20-30 minutes (a quick power walk through the neighborhood, a run, a pilates session or a session of squats, lunges, pushups, etc.).
Treat yourself well.
After a day’s worth of working towards you goals, you should give yourself a small reward. What you choose to do will depend on your personal interests, your passions, as well as your personality. If you enjoy spending time with friends, go out for a cup of coffee or ask them over for dinner, watch a movie together, and just have fun. If you’d rather spend some quiet time alone or with your family or your partner, make dinner with some of your favorite ingredients, watch a film or a documentary that interests you, or do something else that makes you feel happy and energized, like playing guitar, painting, writing, or any project that fully engages your mind and your imagination.