6 Tips How to Work from Home More Effectively

Some people can easily work from home, others find it impossible. Is it a matter of personality traits or maybe self discipline? In our history we’ve cooperated with some teammates that were not able to work remotely. We’ve mentioned how we fixed problems with productivity in our previous post Cooperation with a Remote Team: Recipe for Success?. But today we’ve asked our colleagues from different Polish cities for some tips. Here are their great techniques how to stay effective while working from home!

1. Establish your working hours.

Are you an early bird or a night owl? Think about it now and organize your working hours around your sleeping patterns. Choose when you are most productive and stick to it. Some companies can give you full autonomy on your working hours – then your personal preferences matter. At Sunscrapers we have a flexible, but reasonable working hours policy, so most of our working hours should fall between 9AM and 5PM. Using a time tracker might be helpful in establishing your working hours. Krzysiek, our team member from Poznań, reminds you to clearly separate your work time from your free time. If you don’t do this, you can be trapped in working all day long!

2. Divide and conquer.

What do you have to do today? Think about it at the beginning of your work. Michał, our colleague from Poznań shares his advice with you: divide and conquer. Take your big, hairy task and divide it into many smaller tasks. Attack each one of them until you see you’re done! And if you have a small task to do and you can finish it in two minutes – just do it, don’t plan it for later. Simple, right? What is more important – those rules are useful not only for those who work from home, but for all of us!

3. Dress up for work!

Many people praise the possibility to stay in pyjamas all day when working from home. Bartek, our team member from Szczecin, doesn’t think it is a good idea. He had found that taking shower in the morning and dressing up a little bit, help him work more effectively. You don’t have to wear your best suit though! Just leave your pyjamas in bed and you will find more energy to work.

4. Create a space to work.

We know that working from comfortable bed or couch is simply awesome. But it usually doesn’t help you to be productive, not to mention it’s not good for your spine. Szymon, who is working from Poznań, told us that the best way to stay effective is to have a separate place for work only. When he sits at his home office desk, it’s easier for him to focus. Think about arranging a working space in your style.

5. Build everyday habits.

We’ve already talked about everyday habits of famous artists in our post How to Plan your Day Like a Genius. Michał says that daily rituals are one of the most important things in his work routine. It can be a morning coffee made at the same hour every day. It can be a push up series to warm up. The goal is simple – as soon as you develop a new habit, your brain will automatically know it’s time to work!

6. Do your chores!

When you work from home, it’s easy to get trapped in typical household chores. You may think that it’s a perfect time to do the laundry, make some dishes or cook a lunch. You couldn’t be more wrong. Bartek, from Szczecin, reveals that he prefers to do all his house chores before or after work. Otherwise he wastes too much time for context switching. Try to do all your housework in advance if you get distracted quickly!

 

Those tips should help everyone struggling with home distractions. We hope you find them helpful! If you would like to know about productivity, don’t forget to check out our tips in one of previous posts 6 Tips to be More Productive Every Day. Maybe you have your own ways to work from home and stay effective? Let us know!

How to Plan Your Day Like a Genius

It can be a challenge to plan your day and squeeze all your tasks in 24 hours. And when you are moaning that you don’t have enough time to go to the gym or to call your mother, remind yourself that you’re not the only one with a tight schedule. Going further – all legendary people, like Mozart, Tchaikovsky or Kant, probably had the same issues. But they somehow managed to get the most from their days and now we will take a closer look how did they do this.

Mason Currey took a deep look into habits of 161 famous artists in his book called ‘Daily Rituals: How Artists Work”. Currey shed some light to a typical day of work and many eccentric routines of writers, composers, painters or philosophers.

Coffee & bath

Ludwig van Beethoven couldn’t start his day without a coffee, which isn’t anything bizarre. The weirdest thing in that is that he meticulously counted 60 coffee beans to prepare it. While bathing, he was playing with jugs full of water and his hands – turning himself into a state of meditation. While this ritual worked wonders for his art, it didn’t win his popularity as a neighbour – water was very often dripping through floor!

Another great persona with love for bathing was Benjamin Franklin. Although he didn’t took inspiring baths like Benjamin Britten or long showers like Woody Allen. He preferred to take an “air bath” – where he sat in his room without any clothes on, while reading and writing.

Give yourself a break

But those are examples of bizarre habits. Author also writes about ordinary routines that we could apply to our lives like exercising, walking or taking a nap. Great minds in our history worked a lot on their artwork, but the act of creation was not the essence of it. Small breaks was something more important! Taking time off, even for 5 minutes, let them clear their minds and come up with fresh, better ideas.

Sleeping patterns

Frank Lloyd Wright, an architect, used to work between 4 and 7AM. After a quick nap in the morning he didn’t work more during his day. Those three-four hours before the sunrise were the only moments when he had a clear mind and could devote himself to acts of creation. Actually, about a third of the 161 artists mentioned in the Currey’s book were waking up before 7 o’clock in the morning. Maybe it’s time to become an early bird then?

Being hungry helps

There was also one interesting pattern amongst many famous people – starving. Marcel Proust, Glenn Gould and Immanuel Kant were not the biggest fans of frequent eating. They usually ate only one meal during their day! Others ate lightweight food or did a little bit of fasting during really important days. All of them pointed out that they worked more productively on an empty stomach or after small meals. Well, we bet it’s also a great idea if you’re striving to lose some weight…

Here are daily routines of few artists from Currey’s book – infographic was made by RJ Andrews (click for a larger size):

 

Those time sheets can be an inspiration for you or maybe even some explanation of your work schedule (early birds vs. night owls battle has begun!). In most scenarios it’s not possible to apply those routines to your life, especially when you’re working full time. Also you have to remember that copying habits of fine artists won’t make you great all of a sudden. But it might be helpful to achieve perfection in time management. One day.

6 Tips to be More Productive Every Day

Time management is always a trendy subject. We believe that tips to be more productive every day is something you need. Why? All of us experienced those stressful situations in life, where we struggled to do all planned things during the day and we failed. Usually we were either too annoyed at ourselves about our poor time management or too exhausted to worry about it. But if you’ve reached your critical point and decided to do something about your productivity, read our favourite choices from plenty available techniques.

Social media detox

We know that those funny cats videos, friends’ photos from exotic places or emotional discussions about air pollution are addictive. You want to quickly check your Facebook wall, but magically you get hooked by it for 30 minutes. And we’re not mentioning Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, et cetera, et cetera… which take your precious time as well. If you don’t want to delete your social media accounts or you find it hard to use them less frequently, install one magical app: QualityTime (for Android users only). It will analyse how often do you unlock your phone and which apps steal the most of your precious time. Statistics can be overwhelming, but they might help you to take a break from social media. There is also one really useful plug in Chrome – News Feed Eradicator for Facebook. Great thing for everyone that are distracted by the bottomless pit of Facebook!

The 2-minute rule

You have something to do, right? Think fast – can you make it in two minutes? If the answer is “yes”, just do it now! Don’t plan it for later. You won’t get distracted and you won’t have to remember that you have a small task to do. It’s the simplest and easiest time management advice you can get, believe us.

Change the way you think about your goals

The easiest way to improve your productivity and say no to procrastination is to set your goals differently. For example: not to finish this enormous essay, but to work few minutes on it. You’ll quickly notice that those few minutes can change into one hour of a hard work (ever heard of a flow state?). It can work both ways though, so you need to be careful about your good and bad habits.

Pomodoro technique

If you can’t easily enter the flow state, try the Pomodoro technique. It’s a time management method, where you divide your work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes long with short breaks in between. After few intervals you can make a longer break to clear your mind. And what to do with the short time off? You can always check out your Facebook feed! If you haven’t hidden it yet of course.

Train your brain but… let it rest sometimes

Everyone knows that brain exercises improve our mental agility and we encourage you to stimulate your mind by doing crossword puzzles, playing board games or any other brain challenging games. But when it comes to time management, one of the best ideas is to write down all your tasks to do and get everything out of your head. Even if you’re a master of memory, put your plans in a todo-list app or in a notebook – you will be sure that you won’t forget anything. We recommend Todoist for Android and Clear for iOS users. The only thing you have to remember is that routine always beats tools. No matter how many time managing apps you have – if you don’t stick to your plans, they will be useless!

Prioritizing tasks

When you finally have your tasks planned, prioritize them. You can use the Covey’s time management matrix of Urgent/Important things, which was mentioned in his book we’ve recommended a week ago (Top 4 books you need to read in 2017 (if you haven’t read them yet!)). It’s simple – put all your chores on a proper grid. Thanks to that tool, you will be able to throw away useless tasks and do what really matters. And remember – most of things you usually do, won’t have any useful outcome in few years. Choose wisely.

These are our few tricks in terms of productivity in everyday life. Some of them might not sound like a rocket science, some of them might be more theoretical than practical. The point is to be consistent and perform a chosen task daily. Supposedly, forming a new habit takes around 21 days, which means we will get back to you in around a month. Good luck!