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20 Ways to Improve Your Performance When Working From Home

We all have areas that need improvement to increase professional performance. Become a force to be reckoned with by developing and cultivating smart habits as you work from home.

1. Get Up!

Don’t sleep in — get after it. Work out before you sit down. Shower. Grab some coffee or tea. Arrive with purpose.

2. Organize Your Day

Prepare for the next day the evening before. Make lists of what you need to do, who you need to call, key deadlines and project status summaries. Track work expenses for taxes in a financial planner diary, Excel spreadsheet or software program.

3. Set Goals

What do you want to have done by the end of the day? By the end of the week? To whom do you promise things?  Make sure you exceed expectations at every turn. Even though you are at home, your collegues and managers notice. 

4. Don’t Multitask

Focus …… Strive to create smart habits that can continue for a lifetime.

5. Have a Space of Your Own.

You don’t need to be moving papers and your technology on and off the kitchen table. Have a place where you can set up your “office” and keep it there. If you do videoconferences, make sure your background is a clean wall behind you, not a hallway or bathroom door. Your bed is not an office space — it also makes it harder to sleep there at night.

6. Know Your Own Technology

- Have your computer up to date — does it have enough memory?
- Have a printer that works seamlessly with your computer
- Does your computer’s camera work so people can see you?
- Do you need a scanner?
- Can you take a photo of a document for your job — do you know how to send attachments from your phone?

Knowing these things in advance will save you many trips to Staples or FexEd Office. 

7. Learn Google Suite 

Instead of emailing documents, you can be working side by side on the same documents.  Learn it and use it.

8.  Use Good Audio/Video Conference Etiquette and Technology

Learn and be able to use the latest video communications technology -– Zoom, Skype. Use online collaboration tools to help keep things organized for all who are working on the project - Trello, Microsoft Teams. Make sure everyone is using the same messaging tools.

Put yourself in a quiet, well-lit place. Put your pets/kids someplace else. Be prepared and speak up! Do not surf the web or multitask during the call.

9. Learn to be self-sufficient

Depend on no one else. Thinking differently will get you noticed and elevate you in the minds of your co-workers and employers.

10. Find Your Expert

That said, you don’t have to know everything. You do have to know who to call and where to go when you need something (or just the sound of a human voice). Having a growth mindset doesn’t mean you have all the answers, but you should know which of your connections might.

11. Manage Interruptions

Yes, your family could be home now too.  Try to set parameters around when you can be distracted — but limit it.  On the other hand, your time is NOT more important than their time, Respect that. Don’t get mad — they are the reason you do all of this. Enjoy them. Same goes for the dogs.

12. When You’re Stuck, Switch Tasks.  

You might want to set a timer until you decide when you’re stuck.  It’s a trick programmers use to get unstuck in certain situations with a walk to the water cooler. This is how successful people think.

13. Take A Break. Go for a Walk.

Fresh air. No noise. Or listen to a podcast. Sarah Blakely lives five minutes away from her office, but has an hour route she takes to work, so she has time alone to think. We’re not suggesting that, but the point it to get out and have some alone time. 

14. Walk Your Talk: Return Emails and Phone Calls Within 24 hours. 

Don’t be a hermit. Don’t ghost people. The outside world is your connection to everything — ideas, sales, feedback, getting better, and smiles …

15. Use a Binder or Diary to Write In. 

Handwriting your thoughts and notes shows it’s more important than typing it into a computer. You can even use a sticky note. Make it visible. 

16. Schedule Food

Take a break and eat — don’t forget your fuel. Avoid constant snacking!

17. Reward Performance 

Our engineer rewards himself with candy for accomplishments. Think about what would be a great reward for you.

18. Pick a Time to End Your Work Day

You do not need to be a slave to your new home office.  There comes a time when you need to let it go.  If you're on an Apple device, you will get a report of average screen time on your desktop, just as you will your iPhone.  Make sure you're not overdoing it.  There needs to be time for family, friends and perhaps Netflix or Disney+.

19. There is No One Coming.

If you have a goal to be successful, you have to understand there is no one in the office down the hall — it’s on you. Look in the mirror when you wake up and give yourself permission to succeed.

20. Work!

Just because you’re not in the office doesn’t mean it’s time to slack off. It also doesn’t mean you’re supposed to be planted in your spot for 24 hours. BUT, learn to kick ass when no one is looking.

Bottom line: If you are focused and determined to be successful, we have every confidence you will thrive. We hope you found these ways to success helpful. Do you have other tips to share? Email them to me – [email protected] – and we will add them to the list!

Related: 20 Ways to Improve Your Performance at Work