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Working From Home: These Powerful Essentials Are Absolute Necessities

Take your at home work to powerful new levels with these essentials


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Tealfeed Guest Blog

3 years ago | 9 min read

Working from home isn’t easy, but when done right, no other work can really compare. But just how the heck are you supposed to get things done?

There are a lot of items that will really help you get work done when you work from home — powerful tools, comfortable chairs that make sitting for long periods do-able, standing desks that help keep you healthy, and so on — but sometimes, work needs more than powerful items. This article explores both topics and digs into the essentials of getting things done when you work from home.

Keep reading and find out what I mean.

Quick summary

Being productive while working at home is a balancing act. You’ll be balancing demands from life, from the work, and everything in between. Similarly, this story is balanced between essential items and essential attitudes and choices.

We’ll start with the essential items and then quickly slide into the attitudes and choices, which will be given a bit more focus as these things are the true foundation to everything else. You can have all the tools in the world, but if you don’t have an effective schedule, determination, goals, and the willingness to work these things harder and smarter than everyone else, you aren’t going to get very far.

Let’s dive in.

Essential items:

  • Comfortable chair
  • Green tea
  • Journal
  • Healthy snacks
  • Noise-canceling headphones
  • More green tea
  • Music or white noise
  • Trello
  • Water
  • Trusty desk and work-space

Morning routine

It goes without saying, I’m a huge fan of a solid morning routine.

For me, I get up at 4 am every day, and never take a day off. I take a shower, splash my face with cold water, get dressed like I’m leaving the house to go to work, and then head to the writing desk. I sit still for a moment, doing my vision board routine, and then I hit pause and meditate. These two things are my cues to my brain that my day is officially rolling.

They act as much as a routine as a ritual and a rite of passage into the day I’m about to begin.

Next up, I read, then I write in my journal. These two things are a counterbalance. I feed my mind, then I write for myself. These are more personal and inward acts for me. The work I do before I do work, as it were.

Then I kick off my workday, writing the articles and stories I send out into the world from my desk.

I do these same things every day without fail. I adjust and fine-tune the things I do in the early morning, always mindful of what’s working, what isn’t and exploring why. Which, I suppose, is also part of my background routine — carefully observing the things I do for progress and improvement.

Your morning (or evening, or whenever you work) might not be the same. That’s fine. But the point I’m making here, and your real takeaway is this: build structure, fine-tune as necessary, and make it a routine. Do it every day you work and it will take care of you and your effort.

A get crap done attitude

No amount of effort or routine is going to get you far, or even go very far itself, without the right attitude.

Let’s talk plain for a minute: getting things done is hard. Some days a lot harder than others.

You aren’t always going to feel up to your tasks. Sometimes you’re going to be outright lazy and lacking. Some days you’re going to feel like a joke, a failure, or like you can’t achieve whatever goals you’ve set.

Sometimes, your inner critic, that asshole that whispers lies about you and your accomplishments, is going to come in with a bullhorn and shout down all the positive self-talk and thoughts you’ve built up in the days prior.

But you know what can push back against all of this? Attitude. Trusting your grit and your gut that you do have what it takes, that you are more than enough, capable and strong no matter what you feel or think. You are stronger, bigger, badder, tougher and going to get crap done, come hell or high water.

Gritty, rugged, tough self-determination and belief that you can succeed, that you will succeed — that’s called attitude my friend. And you’re going to need it to keep moving forward no matter the day, and no matter how you feel.

Remember this: Works without faith is dead.

Goals, priorities, and milestones

The real secret to getting things done when you’re working from home is best measured by the strength of your goals and priorities and how well you keep track of them, measuring your successes and exploring where you come up short.

Remember, your goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timed. Essentially, you should clearly know what you want, have an idea for how to get there and be willing to go after it.

A schedule

You might think that because you’re working from home, you’re the boss and can just wing it. That you work best when you can just roll with the punches. Besides, isn’t the freedom of controlling how your day goes one of the true perks of working from home?

You’re half right, you are the boss.

But just winging it isn’t a plan, or at least not a very solid one. The main problem with this kind of thinking is that it is rooted in reactionary thinking. You’ll be forced to simply react to whatever happens, your day dictated by its events instead of you deciding your day and setting its priorities.

Having a schedule is your greatest strength and you are right to think of being able to set that schedule and what it looks like as a perk. But it’s far more than a privilege, it’s a major power tool in the belt of your productivity.

Whatever your goals, whatever your priorities, and whatever your vision and future endeavors, the schedule you plan and keep is the schedule that will ultimately help you meet and excel in those endeavors. It’s just that simple.

A journal

How do you create a plan of action to reach your goals and set your priorities?

For me, it all comes down to my journal. I use it to log my successes, record where I come up short, what needs focus and to chart a course for what’s coming next. I recently wrote an article talking about all of this in greater detail if you want to check that out here: My Journal Is My Most Powerful Productivity Tool.

Ultimately, whatever I need and want to accomplish starts in the pages of my journal and grows from there.

A simple method for doing similar for yourself:

  • Log three different things in your journal entries (note, you don’t have to do this every entry, but can spread these out over several): Write the goal, brainstorm and plan how to get there, jot down your next steps
  • Follow these entries with progress reports, how much work is left, where are you weak and coming up short, what can you do to improve your efforts?
  • Once a week, take time to plan the upcoming week’s goals and priorities, and the previous week’s overall progress toward whatever goals you had set. Don’t forget to write down what still needs attention and its next steps

You can do this in a journal, like me, or you can keep track of it in excel or even Trello. The point is this, whatever you do, write it down somewhere and measure your progress.

Trello

This is an amazing tool, and to me, a close runner up to my journal.

Whenever I have a big project, or a large goal (or collection of goals), I almost always wind up with a Trello board to act as a companion to my journal and the effort of succeeding at whatever I’m working at.

It’s a lifesaver on a big project. And I can think of few projects bigger than being productive and striking a real balance between life and work than working at home. Trello will help you get there.

Also, this is not a paid endorsement, or an affiliate review, I just really like them.

Trello basically operates as a collection of digital index cards that you can write a short header on and can click on to fill out any pertinent details or chart specific results to actions you are taking or planning. You can then slide these digital cards into collections on the overall board.

So, you can make your schedule in a Trello board, label each column a day of the week, leaving one at the beginning to dump all your tasks in as they pop up, and pull from these to schedule them accordingly. On the other end, create another bucket (collection) to slide finished tasks too. Oh, and you can connect a calendar to this board as well and set reminders and see how everything works together for the month ahead.

Bonus tip: If you use Trello for a schedule, create a color-coding system and attach specific colors to each task. This way, you can spot them faster on your calendar.

But Trello can be used for more than a schedule. I have a board dedicated to my entire year of goals, breaking my buckets (columns) down into quarterly chunks and essentially do the same thing as I just described for a schedule. I have a bucket that holds the collection of big picture goals I’m working toward, one for finished tasks, one that describes my guiding principles and so on.

However you decide, if you decide, to use Trello, the power of its flexibility and easy adaptation will help you win the day. If you’ve read my other articles and stories, you know I’m a huge fan of choosing progress over perfection. This tool thrives on such a principle as this.

Designated work-space

It’s painfully obvious and yet, if you’re like me, easy to overlook this simple but effective productivity tool. Your work-space.

I’ll be honest with you, I tend to keep a bit of a cluttered desk at times. I practice more than one medium of art, so, on my desk, I literally have a laptop and writing tools next to a glass with paintbrushes and ink pens for drawing and sketching.

The real takeaway here is to designate a space for your work. Better yet, designate a couple of spaces and bust up the monotony of one space by changing them out from time to time. And make that space work for you, whatever that means to you.

Keep it clean, keep it organized, and keep it functional. (Mine might be a bit cluttered from time to time, but I definitely keep things in their places and easy to switch between as I need to. Order, organization, and function are the foundation to a winning work-space.

And being smart with your work-space is being smart about your productivity.

Work harder and smarter than everyone else

In the end, it isn’t just about working harder, we know that by now. Just about everyone everywhere is preaching this message from the rooftops. We get it, work smarter, right?

Half right.

The real secret to great progress in your efforts, and ultimately your productivity, is to strike a balance. There will be days when it all comes down to the grind, and simply sticking to a task and sweating it out. There will be other days where you have to hit your breaks and think a thing through, figure out a better system, a better plan, or re-think the strategies and even the goals themselves.

Most days will be a mix of these, and if you truly want to level-up just how productive you are, learn to see and plan your days with this balanced approach. Work smarter, work harder, get crap done.

This article was originally published by Gregory D welch on medium

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