Introduction: It’s not often that one new idea in the business world produces a “paradigm shift,” a fundamental change in current approaches and assumptions, creating far-reaching benefits for both companies and their employees. But such a shift began in the 1970s when telecommuting and other flexible options entered the business workplace, bringing with them many notable advantages and transformations for both employers and workers. Now countless individuals around the world are reaping the benefits of telecommuting from home on flexible schedules, creating the ideal employment alternative for millions of people. To help you benefit even more from the growing work-from-home lifestyle, installing a whiteboard painted wall in your home office is a great decision. The following are some practical tips to assist you in getting the most out of your whiteboard painted wall experience while working from the comforts of home.
Make a Whiteboard Wall To-Do List
Use your whiteboard wall to create a daily to-do list and thus help to motivate yourself to complete important work-related tasks in a timely manner. The great size, writability, and erasability of your whiteboard painted surface make such lists more visible and easier to supplement and change than those produced within the cramped confines of paper notepads, traditional whiteboards, laptops, and computer screens, and tablets. You can make your lists as high and wide as you like and change them instantly when tasks are completed or new ones are assigned. With the jumbo-sized text of your to-do list constantly within ready view of your work desk or table, you’ll be inspired to perform your daily tasks more efficiently than if you had to consult tiny items on a list written on a paper pad, a computer screen or another device.
You can also add a motivational note to yourself at the top such as “Get motivated” or “Stay focused” so that each time you consult your list you’ll get a little encouragement to keep working and complete your assigned tasks for the day. Or you might want to include a bit of positive self-talk such as “I prefer to learn from my mistakes, not be hindered by them.”
Create a dedicated workspace
Arranging an area that’s designated specifically for telecommuting work in the room where your whiteboard wall is located can help you stay focused on job-related tasks with minimal distractions from family members, guests, and pets, and use your time wisely. Working in your home involves considerable preparation in order to create an office space that’s suitable for your telecommuting activities and also addresses the needs of your family members. One of the keys to successfully working at home, besides a sense of self-discipline and a strong Wi-Fi connection, is having a comfortable and easily accessible work environment.
The type of work that you’ll be doing from home is vital in choosing the type, size, and location of the workspace you want to create. You’ll also need to think about daily family life as well as special events, holiday activities, and visitors. If you have a family and plan to be working mainly in the home, you should consider the following ideas to help gain the best balance between your work and family duties, and make yourself contented and productive in your job.
(a) consider all your job-related needs such as a copier-printer, a desktop monitor, etc.
(b) if possible, select a separate room as your designated work area so that you can minimize distractions and feel more relaxed while working.
(c) make the best of what you have available – if not a separate room then perhaps a rolling file cart to work from and to store your laptop, important papers, and other items.
(d) create a filing procedure such as using a desktop file sorter and be sure to clearly label all your files and file boxes.
(e) get an ergonomic chair and add plants or other items that will ensure your comfort.
(f) keep your space uncluttered and organized by minimizing family photos and the like and reserving your desk for needed items like a stapler and a stash of pens.
To further keep yourself focused on one specific job-related project at a time and get more work done, avoid the urge to juggle several tasks at once. Some ways to stop the habit of multitasking include the following:
a. Tackle your job-related tasks one at a time in order to work faster, make fewer mistakes, and spend less time on rework.
b. Stick with the current item you’re working on from your to-do list and avoid letting your focus drift elsewhere.
c. Finish one project or task before you start another to develop “productivity momentum” – one completed task leading naturally to the next.
d. Avoid letting minor tasks such as answering emails hinder major ones just because they’re easy to do.
e. Don’t allow technology to interfere with your concentration while you’re working – turn off your cell phone, stop checking emails, etc.
f. Remove all unnecessary items from your desk and keep only those that are directly related to the project you’re working on.
g. “Schedule appointments” with your most challenging work projects; in other words, assign a specific time of the day to work on a single task or project.
h. Eliminate interruptions, which are actually a form of multi-tasking in disguise, by turning off email notifications and rings/beeps, and keep your door closed if necessary.
Control your social media habit
In order to avoid becoming too distracted by unnecessary communications with friends, family members, and colleagues during the day, and stay focused on your telecommuting duties, eliminate or at least minimize your use of social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Research assessing the impact of social media on worker productivity has produced mixed results. For instance, one survey found one that half the respondents felt social media was
helpful because it gave them a mental boost during the workday, but the other half said that social media distracted them from work, and one-fifth reported that it had a negative effect on their work. Thus, although a limited amount of social media use might help relieve tension on the job, one expert on worker productivity claims that for each minute an employee spends with social media, 25 minutes of work time are lost. For this reason, it’s advisable to at least reduce your social media involvement to get more work done and keep your employer happy.
Keep an activity log
Since the human memory is a poor monitor of behavior, you’ll no doubt find that keeping an up-to-date activity log (also known as an activity diary) is an enlightening experience. Keeping such a log on your whiteboard wall will give you an accurate record of what you accomplish each day, how you invest your work time, and how your hours may be used more efficiently. When you make regular notes about the amount of time you spend on various daily activities, you can change the way you work by eliminating those actions that are unproductive. Your activity log can also help you determine whether you’re doing your most essential work at the right times of the day. For example, if you tend to be more active and productive during the morning hours, you can focus on doing your most important telecommuting tasks at this time. You may then do work that requires less energy, such as responding to email and text messages and returning phone calls, during the afternoon.
Activity logs are also useful for pinpointing non-essential actions that keep you from achieving your key work objectives. For example, you might spend far more time than you realize surfing the web, or going for coffee each day. When you come to identify how much of your day is being frittered away on such activities, you can then alter your work habits and eliminate time-wasting habits.