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For many people, being able to work from home online is a dream. But even if your job affords you the option of telecommuting, it’s important to establish a solid routine in order to get things done in a timely and efficient manner. If you’re not used to working from home, doing things like setting up a dedicated work area, dressing as though you’re headed to a normal job, and eliminating potential distractions can help put you in a more productive frame of mind.

Method 1
Method 1 of 4:
Finding Online Employment

  1. 1
    See if your current job offers a telecommuting option. If you already have a job, talk to your boss about the possibility of working from home one or more days per week. Many positions give employees the freedom to tackle projects remotely if they don’t require immediate oversight. This could be just the opportunity you need to get out of the office and take on more responsibility in the process.[1]
    • If your supervisor needs some convincing, stress the fact that employees who work from home face fewer distractions and tend to be more productive as a result.[2]
    • Telecommuting occasionally can be a good way to build up experience working outside of your usual environment or gradually phase into a long-term home-based position.
  2. 2
    Search for jobs that will allow you to work online. Browse recruiting sites like Monster, Indeed, and Glassdoor for web-based positions and those advertising work-from-home opportunities. Use search terms like "remote," "telecommute," and "work from home" to turn up the kind of jobs you’re seeking in your field.[3]
    • A few of the more common online jobs include content developer, programmer, social media manager, online travel agent, data entry specialist, remote digital assistant, and freelance writer.
    • If you’re just looking to pick up a little extra cash, you might also consider becoming an online tutor, picking up a part-time data entry gig, or maintaining a blog that features sponsored promotional content.[4]
  3. 3
    Determine whether you meet the requirements for a certain position. Read through the criteria outlined in the job description carefully and see how much of it you meet. Assuming you’re a good fit, your next step will be to officially put in a bid for the position by submitting a polished, up-to-date resume.
    • There’s no harm in putting your name out there for a job even if you don’t check every last box. Employers are often willing to make some concessions if they like an applicant enough.
    • Keep in mind that online jobs are highly coveted, which means that the competition for them can be intense.
  4. 4
    Stay away from jobs that seem sketchy or suspicious. Be wary of anyone asking you to work for a rate that’s well above or below average, or offering to hire you in exchange for some other form of compensation. Another good rule of thumb is to say no to any potential employer who demands money for "application processing" or training materials in advance (or at all). If the terms sound questionable, there’s a good chance that they are.[5]
    • Legitimate online jobs almost always involve a formal application process. Some employers may even ask you sign a contract, depending on the nature of the position.
    • Watch out for recruiters who contact you from free email accounts or exhibit similar unprofessional behavior. They could be scammers looking for a quick score.

    Tip: If you think that a particular job offer might be bogus, check with the FTC or Better Business Bureau to see if the company or employer has been reported in the past.

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Method 2
Method 2 of 4:
Setting Yourself up for Success

  1. 1
    Choose one part of your home to designate as an official work area. Ideally, this will be a room where you already have a desk set up for working or studying. Place your computer on your desk, along with any other equipment you need, such as a printer, scanner, or copier. If you don’t have a desk, you might post up at the dining room table or turn your kitchen counter into a makeshift standing desk, provided that there's no one else at home that might break your concentration.[6]
    • Have some paper and writing utensils handy in case you need to take notes or sign forms.[7]
    • If your job requires you to use multiple devices, consider purchasing a power strip to avoid overwhelming the electrical outlet in your work area.
  2. 2
    Keep your computer in good working order. Your computer is your gateway to your assignments, so it’s crucial that you invest in one that's powerful enough to run all of the various programs you'll be using and keep it tuned up. Check for system updates regularly to make sure you’re using the latest version of your operating system. It’s also a good idea to scan for viruses and malware at least once every couple of days.
    • Try not to bog down your computer’s memory with lots of music, videos, or other unnecessary media. If you have files you want to hold onto, you may be better off moving them to a separate computer or hard drive.[8]
    • Avoid eating or drinking around your computer. If you accidentally spill something on it, you could be left without a way to get your work done.

    Tip: Make sure you have a reliable internet connection fast enough to run the various programs you’ll be using for work.

  3. 3
    Organize your work materials for maximum efficiency. It’s hard to put your tools to use when you don’t know where they are. Take a moment at the beginning or end of each day to double-check that all of your major supplies are restocked, easily accessible, and ready to go. Train yourself to put things back in their proper place as soon as you’re finished with them so you don’t lose track of them once it’s crunch time.[9]
    • Stash anything you don’t have an immediate need for in one of your desk drawers or move it to another room to get it out of the way until you do.
    • Introduce a paper tray and waste basket to your work area to prevent a mountain of papers from piling up on your desktop.[10]
    • If you work in the bedroom, kitchen, or another part of your home where other types of activities are often performed, tidying up your work area by doing things like making your bed or washing the dishes piled up in the sink will also help you eliminate potential distractions.
  4. 4
    Instruct your housemates not to disturb you while you’re working. If you share your living space with other people, be clear with them about what hours you work. Emphasize that you need peace and quiet during this timeframe so you can labor without interruption. Choosing a work space away from high-traffic areas like the kitchen and living room can also prevent environmental noise from becoming as much of a distraction.[11]
    • Come up with some way to signal to the people you live with that you’re busy. You might switch on the floor lamp next to your desk or put a sign on your door.
    • If you have small children at home, try to accomplish tasks that require less focus while you’re tending to their needs.
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Method 3
Method 3 of 4:
Forming Productive Habits

  1. 1
    Wake up at a reasonable hour. Set an alarm for a time that will leave you with a solid window to take care of everything you need to do for the day. Even though working from home often affords you the luxury of sleeping in, doing so too often can eat into your day and leave you feeling lethargic and unmotivated.[12]
    • It’s not necessary to wake up early, but it will likely give you more time to get everything done.
    • On the flipside, taking advantage of the freedom to get a little extra sleep every now and then will help ensure that you’re well-rested and firing on all cylinders.[13]
  2. 2
    Dress yourself the same way you would for any other job. As soon as you roll out of bed, select an outfit that would be considered appropriate in a professional setting: a collared shirt or blouse, slacks or khakis, and a pair of dress shoes. Getting dressed in this way will help put you in the right frame of mind to punch in and get busy.[14]
    • Go through your pre-work ritual exactly as though you were headed to the office. If you ordinarily wear makeup or cologne, take the time to apply some before you get started.
    • You can opt for a more business-casual look if you like. Just make sure you ditch the pajamas or sweatpants, which could keep you stuck in relaxation mode.[15]
  3. 3
    Follow a set schedule. Pick a time to sit down in front of your computer each morning or afternoon and stick to it. For maximum efficiency, schedule your "shifts" to correspond to the time of day that you’re most productive or creative. That way, you’re guaranteed to always turn in your best work. With enough consistency, you’ll find yourself automatically becoming more mentally prepared when the appointed hour rolls around.[16]
    • Some people are most alert and energetic first thing in the morning, while others don’t really get going until the afternoon or evening.[17]
    • Be sure to take into consideration any time-related regulations or constraints imposed by your employer or clients. A compromise may be in order if their schedule conflicts with the kind of hours you prefer to keep.
  4. 4
    Avoid working in bed. As tempting as it may be to just stay in bed all day, it’s considered a major no-no for most telecommuters. The reason is that your productivity is likely to suffer if you attempt to handle your professional duties in a place where you’re used to settling down at night. Make it a point to use your bed for sleeping and nothing else.[18]
    • Working in bed could also come with another negative side effect—associating your bedroom with job-related stress. It’s possible that your quality of sleep might even be impacted as a result.

    Tip: If comfort is a priority, one alternative is to invest in a cozy yet supportive office chair that will keep you comfortable all day long.[19]

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Method 4
Method 4 of 4:
Working More Efficiently

  1. 1
    Eliminate unnecessary distractions. Turn off the TV, log out of your Facebook account, and silence your cell phone (or better yet, leave it in another room). While you’re on your computer, resist the urge to open any web pages that are unrelated to the task at hand. Your attention should be fixed solely on the responsibilities of your job.[20]
    • Once you've sat down, give yourself as few reasons as possible to have to get up again.
    • If you're bad about checking social media or other sites compulsively, consider downloading a browser extension like Freedom, LeechBlock, or StayFocusd. These apps block specified web pages for a predetermined amount of time, allowing you to work unhindered.
    • Not only is your work likely to suffer if you allow yourself to get distracted, it will also take longer to complete.
  2. 2
    Make time for short breaks. Building regular break periods into your day helps you recharge and keeps you focused. For every hour you work, take 15-20 minutes to rest your eyes, stretch, have a snack, or just get up and walk around. Afterwards, you’ll be ready to tackle your projects with renewed energy and concentration.[21]
    • During your break, do something that takes your mind off work completely. You won’t get much out of it if you’re still thinking about everything you have to do the whole time.
    • Occasional breaks will also help alleviate eye strain caused by staring at a computer screen.

    Warning: Try not to break for longer than about half an hour at a time. The longer you’re away from your work, the harder it will be for you to jump back into it again.

  3. 3
    Stay in touch with your coworkers. At least once a day, check in with your supervisor or teammates to let them know how things are coming along. It’s up to you to keep the lines of communication open since you won’t have anyone there to make sure that you’re seeing to your responsibilities.[22]
    • Do your best to respond to emails promptly and participate in video chats or web conferences whenever possible.
    • Online resources like Zoom, Slack, Google Docs, and Google+ Hangouts can be useful for carrying out other business-oriented tasks remotely.[23]
  4. 4
    Record all key work-related info. It’s just as important to stay organized when you work from home as it is when you hold down a cubicle. Keep an accurate log of things like hours, invoices, upcoming deadlines, and daily progress reports. Input these details in the logging system that your employer uses, or save them in a separate file on your computer’s hard drive.[24]
    • When you’re filling out your logs, be sure to make a note of when time-sensitive materials need to be submitted or reviewed.
    • If you have a job that gives you independent contractor status, you’ll also need to archive your payment information for when it comes time to file your taxes.[25]
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Expert Q&A

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  • Question
    How can I get into the mood to work from home?
    Annie Lin, MBA
    Life & Career Coach
    Annie Lin is the founder of New York Life Coaching, a life and career coaching service based in Manhattan. Her holistic approach, combining elements from both Eastern and Western wisdom traditions, has made her a highly sought-after personal coach. Annie’s work has been featured in Elle Magazine, NBC News, New York Magazine, and BBC World News. She holds an MBA degree from Oxford Brookes University. Annie is also the founder of the New York Life Coaching Institute which offers a comprehensive life coach certification program. Learn more:
    Life & Career Coach
    Expert Answer
    Before you dive into work, take 5 minutes to plan out your day. Even if you feel like you're in a rush, this 5 minutes can save you hours of work, and it can reduce your stress later. You can also do the planning the night before and review it in the morning to remind yourself.
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      • If you find your focus flagging at home, don't be afraid to pack up your materials and relocate to a cafe for a few hours. A change of scenery can do wonders when it comes to resharpening your thoughts.
      • Remember, being able to work from home is a privilege. Take advantage of the flexibility and opportunities for self-management your job offers in a way that suits your individual lifestyle.

      About This Article

      Co-authored by:
      Life & Career Coach
      This article was co-authored by Annie Lin, MBA. Annie Lin is the founder of New York Life Coaching, a life and career coaching service based in Manhattan. Her holistic approach, combining elements from both Eastern and Western wisdom traditions, has made her a highly sought-after personal coach. Annie’s work has been featured in Elle Magazine, NBC News, New York Magazine, and BBC World News. She holds an MBA degree from Oxford Brookes University. Annie is also the founder of the New York Life Coaching Institute which offers a comprehensive life coach certification program. Learn more: This article has been viewed 9,150 times.
      13 votes - 85%
      Co-authors: 7
      Updated: August 23, 2021
      Views: 9,150
      Categories: Working from Home
      Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 9,150 times.

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