Even if you work primarily from a traditional office, you may find yourself occasionally working from the kitchen table or on the road. Sarah Kessler over at Mashable Business asked people who work from home, from coworking spaces, in coffee shops, on the road and in offices to share their secrets for a productive day no matter where they’re working. The following are the highlights of their collective advice.
Home workers reduce their commuting time to zero, aren’t distracted by coworkers, and can work on whatever schedule fits their style. On the other hand, their work often competes with their children, errands, and other distracting comforts. Here are their tips for staying focused, keeping a schedule, and reducing distractions.
• Have a work space that has a door that can be closed.
• Try listening to music on headphones while you work.
• Put together a box of toys, games, and books that your children are only allowed to use when you are on the phone.
• Get dressed for the office, go through your typical morning routine and tackle your day like you’re clocking in at 9.
• Don’t eat lunch in your office. Use this time to regroup and take a break.
• Be honest with regard to when you are productive.
From the Office
Most offices are designed with efficiency in mind, and some workers focus better if they have a set schedule and a dedicated workspace. On the other hand, a work day is a huge chunk of time to stay focused, and organizing it productively can be daunting. To avoid getting stuck in water cooler talk, organize the workday, and maximize productivity, read these tips.
• Do NOT check your e-mail for the first 45 minutes that you are in the office in the morning.
• Take the first 30 minutes to plan the rest of your day.
• Block like-minded tasks together.
• Give yourself three must-complete tasks each day (usually fairly large tasks) and take short breaks between each one to give your mind a break and switch gears.
• Show up to meetings on time.
• Carve out transition time. Devote the final hours of your workday to some of your least-pressured tasks.
From a Coworking Space
Coworking solves the lonely independent worker problem, and coworking spaces can be great environments for collaborating and finding feedback on your work. But even though coworkers leave the distractions of their homes, there are other distractions at a coworking space — mainly, other enthusiastic people working on interesting projects that you want to know more about. Read these tips for staying focused.
• Pretend all the people around you are potential clients judging my work habits.
• Surround yourself with the right people.
• Return to the same desk everyday.
• When someone is in your cube space and they keep talking beyond what you consider acceptable, just stand up like you are about to leave to get coffee or go to the bathroom.
• Bring headphones to a co-working space as an indicator of busyness.
From a Coffee Shop
For many people, coffee and working go together. The coffee shop itself, however, can be a bit of a challenge. Although it provides a temporary office and free Wi-Fi, it also provides an excellent people watching venue and a wide variety of sugary desserts. Getting down to business undisturbed can be tricky, but these tips can help.
• Get to know the guy who runs the coffee shop you frequent.
• Try to face a wall and never a busy street, and order a small drink to minimize bathroom breaks.
• Choose a coffee shop that does NOT have Wi-Fi. You can check your email and news later.
From the Road
Taking a break from the office might not mean taking a break from your work responsibilities. But shuffling between trains, planes and automobiles without your usual workspace isn’t conducive to efficiency. Learn how to make traveling work better for you by reading these tips.
• Check in to airports [on location networks] to let your family know that I am traveling and getting around safely.
• Keep everything electronically.
• Get menial tasks done like organizing your My Documents folder or going through your e-mail client and deleting useless/outdated e-mails
• Use the settings on your iPhone or Droid to troll for free Wi-Fi when the traditional bread company isn’t around.