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Mastering the art of remote work: how to effectively work from home (evidence-based practices)

Updated: Oct 26, 2023

In this article, I'll provide you with five actionable and easy-to-implement tools to improve your work-from-home experience.

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, most of us, myself included, began working from home. For me, it was a dream come true!

No stressful commute, comfortable clothing, snacks at my disposal, and the option to go for a surf every morning. Who wouldn't want such flexibility throughout the workday?

However, as I shifted to remote work, I discovered that working from home wasn't as glamorous as it sounded. Quickly, I began to fall behind on deadlines, struggling to find structure in my day, and was consistently distracted.

I spoke to a few friends and discovered five consistent challenges for adults who work from home. Which of these challenges is most pressing for you?

Which of these challenges is most pressing?

  • Time management

  • Lack of motivation

  • Distractions

  • Poor work-life balance

How do you manage time while working from home?

For people who struggle to meet deadlines, attend meetings on time, or procrastinate, you are not alone.

According to multiple sources, 82% of adults do not have a time management system.

One of the easiest ways to better manage time is to update your to-do list at the end of the day. When you begin work the next day, you already know what your number one priority is as well as the other tasks you need to complete.

Not sure how to structure your to-do list? Try the Eisenhower Matrix!

Why do I feel unmotivated?

Many adults struggle with daily inspiration, questioning their purpose at work, leading to demotivation. To reignite your motivation, consider setting goals that genuinely matter to you.

Perhaps a promotion is motivating, or maybe you need a new job, making rewriting your resume a source of motivation.

The Gallup survey of roughly 67,000 people in 2022 found only 32% of workers are engaged with their work compared with 36% in 2020.

Remember, motivation isn't always reliable. We're rarely motivated to do things we don't enjoy.

Instead, establish achievable goals and take small steps toward them; this builds momentum and, in turn, motivation.

How do I minimize distractions?

What is your biggest distractor while working from home?

If your phone is your biggest distractor, you might already know the next two pieces of advice I have for you. Choose one, share it with an accountability partner, and give it a try:

  • Put your phone on ‘do not disturb’

  • Place your phone it in another room during certain working hours

  • Use focus tools like Forest App to stay focused.

To manage thoughts, ideas, or to-do's that pop into mind while you are working, try using the distractibility delay technique. This will keep you focused on what matters most.

If you are distracted by other people, have an open and honest discussion about your needs. Use the conversation to set boundaries or determine specific times of day when you need to be left alone.

In the evening, spend a few moments sharing what your work calendar looks like with the people you live with, making them aware of the times of day you cannot be disturbed.

How do I improve my work-life balance?

When you can roll out of bed and start working, it's easy to overwork. By creating routines and setting boundaries, you can achieve the work-life balance you dream of.

Start your day with activities like going outside, practicing mindfulness, or simply enjoying a cup of coffee while reading or journaling. Determine your ideal work start time and create a morning that energizes you.

Seeing bright light in the morning will help you fall asleep easier at night.

After you've completed your check-out routine, leave your workspace for the day. By training your brain to work in a specific area, you can mentally check out after work and increase productivity during working hours.

How does community building help wellbeing?

Harvard's 80-year study on happiness and longevity reveals that maintaining a sense of community is key to a happy, long life.

Several studies found that people’s level of satisfaction with their relationships at age 50 was a better predictor of physical health than their cholesterol levels were.

To apply this knowledge, find like-minded people by pursuing your interests. Look for local groups, online communities, or volunteer opportunities related to your passions.

If you struggle with isolation and loneliness, it's crucial to seek professional support. Reach out to your physician or use resources like Alma to find a therapist who can help.

In Conclusion

While working from home may seem like a dream, it comes with its challenges. Issues like time management, motivation, distractions, work-life balance, and isolation can impact your productivity levels and mental health.

However, with practical strategies, you can transform your work-from-home experience into a fulfilling and productive one.

Create your to-do list each evening, set motivating goals, minimize distractions, establish routines, and build a supportive community. By doing so, you can enjoy both flexibility and productivity in your remote work journey.

Stay engaged

About the author

Eric Kaufmann, M.Ed is a Professional Educational Therapist and Certified Executive Function Coach. He is the co-founder of UpSkill Specialists, an online adult executive function coaching company designed to guide adults in overcoming disorganization, procrastination, and productivity roadblocks so they can unlock their potential. Eric is also the founder of Elevate Learning Solutions, an Educational Therapy practice located in San Clemente, CA, that guides students with neurological differences toward becoming independent and confident students and self-leaders.

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About 👋

Upskill Specialists was founded when two former special education teachers turned executive function coaches decided that adults need tools and coaching to improve their workplace skills and feel confident and empowered. Our mission is to ensure every adult with EF challenges has access to high-quality coaching services. 

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