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Sunday, 27 May 2018

How productive are you working from home?

This article is aimed at both self-employed and office staff working from home.

The most important discipline here is self-discipline. To make sure you work at a sensible pace and, at the same time, get your work done.

I work from home, and I have four major projects on the go at any one time. I have a reminder app to remind me when each job needs to be started. And my phone buzzes at the following times. I use the 52:17 technique, that is 52 minutes concentrated work and 17 minutes for a rest break. This keeps me going at full pace throughout the day.

08:30 Administration
09:22 Rest break and phone calls
09:39 Project A
10:31 Rest break and coffee
10:48 Project B

… and so on until five o’clock.

Type in “Reminder” in your app search box in Google and you’ll find a few. But make sure you choose the one by Arthur Ivanets. Some are just a single date widget, but the ones you need to look for are for a series of alarms throughout the day. I’m on Android and use Reminder free, it’s £1.99 to remove the adverts which I am about to do. If not in the Apple Store, you may need to look through a few to find one suitable

An app available on both Android and Apple is called “Wunderlist”. This is ideal for adding all those chores that turn up daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly. Home ones might include clean the Krups coffee machine every three weeks, Take a tablet at 11:00am every day – you’ll need that if you become engrossed in your work. Working reminders might include, send in weekly report for each week by noon every Monday. Ringing the boss every Thursday at 3pm. Normal day by day matters such as buy more printing paper and phone George about meeting up after work, could go into the Reminder app.

One other app is Simplenote which allows quick notetaking on your Android or Apple phone, and you can get versions for Windows, Apple or Linux to share across these platforms. There is also a web version for when you are on someone else’s computer. Google Keep is also ideal as is Evernote, but the latter two can have other uses. I use Keep for snippits of information I get from the Internet and with email. Evernote is useful for entering information, such as clothes sizes, my VoiP account information and other such information but naturally passwords aren’t kept in there.

A good electronic notebook which is networked to your home computer, or to the company if you are employed is very useful. I sometimes pop in with mine to the local coffee shop when I have a routine job which I can do as it breaks up the loneliness.

If it's convenient, include a minimum of a mile walk into your schedule. A brisk walk can do it in around 20 minutes. Best time is early afternoon so it puts some oomph into the tail end of the day. Ideally do it in a rest period – 10 minutes to the local coffee house leaves you seven minutes to order a coffee, 52 minutes working on one of your prrojects, and a ten minute return half mile in the next rest break another seven minutes to relax. As I say, working at home requires self discipline and not lying to oneself.

If you have other apps you prefer, please add them in the comments section.

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