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If you have a job that allows you to work from home, you’re probably equipped with the bare essentials to do that job. But are you really using them to work as efficiently as you could be? And do you really have everything you need to keep yourself focused, driven, and organized?
A lot of newly remote workers have trouble staying in the work flow when they’re working from home. If you’re one of those people, we’re here to help you out with the five essentials for working remotely.
This might seem obvious, but it’s important that you’re using the tech that’s best-suited for your job. If your job focuses a lot on travel, communication, and note-taking, a lightweight tablet or iPad might be best. If you do a lot of writing, you probably won’t need 24/7 internet access, so you’re free to do your job in a place like a park or the subway. In that case, you’d want to pick something light for carrying, but that also has great battery life—so a small laptop would probably be better than a tablet or iPad. If you’re a graphic designer, a large high-res screen is your best friend, so you should probably ditch the laptop in favor of a desk monitor. Evaluate the basics of your job and choose your gear accordingly. And if you’re going to work on-the-go, don’t forget to protect your tech.
You’d be surprised at the power music has to make or break your work grind. A dedicated work playlist can really help you stay focused, while shuffling random songs can often lead to you skip song after song on your phone, and before you know it, you’ve spent the last 15 minutes on social media. Pick songs you know and love to put on your playlist.
If you’re not a music person, you can try an ambient sounds site to help drown out any distractions around you. Regardless, you’ll probably want headphones if you plan on working outside your home; and whether you prefer cords or wireless, we’ve got you covered.
No matter your job, you absolutely have to stay organized and make sure you’re staying on top of your tasks. Maybe you prefer to have a calendar above your computer for long-term goals and a whiteboard nearby for daily goals. Maybe you prefer a planner with a notes section (this is especially useful if your workspace changes from day to day or you take your work on-the-go). Some people prefer all three, which is helpful to keep track of long-term projects, daily tasks, and both long-term and short-term notes. The biggest recommendation here is to have at least one of these items in physical form instead of on your phone—the more you can stay off your phone, the better.
It is a good idea, however, to keep a timer or clock-in app on your phone. That way you can set regular work hours and keep track of how long projects take you.
When you’re working from home, it’s so important to set aside a place to get you in the right mindset. Choose somewhere that’s as free from distractions as possible, and check out our guide on setting up and organizing a goal-driven workspace.
And don’t forget that just because you’re not in the office doesn’t mean you don’t need office supplies. The supplies you need will really depend on your line of work, but you’ll definitely want a comfortable chair (not your bed or couch).
A big water bottle and snack will keep you from using the excuse of getting up to get a snack or drink, and then an hour later you find you still haven’t returned to your workspace. Besides that, we could all do better at drinking more water. And you can reserve your favorite snack for those days that you really need some extra motivation—you’d be surprised at how much it will help you get in the grind!
Working from home (or anywhere remotely) can have a lot of advantages, but you won’t get very far if you have nothing but less-than-ideal tech. Once you’re set up with the best tech option for your job, you’re halfway there. And if you add some background sounds, a good scheduling system, a separate space, and a drink and snack, you’re golden.
PS—Still having trouble being productive? Check out our post on working effectively.