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Working From Home? Here’s How To Be Super Efficient

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I have worked from home for years and love it. 

In 2016, we tried out an office for our team. We found a beautiful space and I was very excited to give it a go, but I quickly realised it was not what I wanted and that I personally work better when I am at home on my own. 

When people hear that I work from home, they always ask how do I get so much done, how do I stay efficient, and how do I stay productive and motivated (and not fall down the trap of sitting on the couch all day playing on my phone). 

So today, with so many people working from home for the first time, I want to share with you what I do.

Disclaimer: Right now, due to COVID-19, we have my bonus son at home full time. You may also have children at home and if you do, some of these may not apply to you. So take what resonates, mix up the others, and leave the rest.

Here’s how to efficiently work from home…

  • Treat working from home like a real job and take it seriously. I treat working from home the same as if I was going to an office. I get up at the same time, I do my morning routine, shower, get dressed (it’s super important to get out of your PJ’s to shift your energy and make you feel like you are about to start work) and go upstairs to my office. I also have a designated start time that doesn’t budge, so I know that when 8am rolls around, it’s time to sit down and start my work. I am disciplined, so this is not something I struggle with. If you do struggle with discipline and sitting down and doing the work, ask yourself what you need to help you sit your butt down… then do that.  
  • Create an inspiring space to work in. If you don’t have an office in your home, create a space where there is natural light and you feel inspired. Get your diffuser going, open the windows, add some plants, use a Himalayan salt lamp, put up a vision board, or my Soul Shares. Do whatever you need to do to make it feel inspiring and uplifting for you. 
  • Mix it up. Even though I have an office, I like to mix up where I work to keep things interesting and inspiring. Sometimes simply relocating my tush and my laptop to the kitchen island or the balcony can reinvigorate my brain.
  • Keep moving. Try not to sit all day long. Set an alarm if you have to, so that every 30 minutes or so you know to get up and do some star jumps, have a dance break, do sit ups, lunges or squats. We have yoga blocks, an Acumat, and trigger balls for fascial release and will use those throughout the day. I also use my ‘breaks’ to go to the bathroom and fill up my water or get a snack which is usually fruit.
  • Play inspiring music in the background. I love listening to Nick’s music, yoga mantras, meditation music or jazz whilst I work.  
  • Begin your day with your MIT’s (Most Important Tasks). I write them down and get these done BEFORE I open emails and social media. Do YOUR MIT’s first before you open yourself up to the world. You can create your MIT list when you finish work the day before so it’s there ready for you when you sit down so you can dive right in.
  • After you have done your MIT’s, plan out what else you need to work on that day.     
  • Set real office hours. Sit your butt down and work. I sit my butt down and work from around 8 – 12pm and I take it seriously. I then break for lunch at 12pm and then go back to work in the afternoon and finish at 5pm. 
  • Put your phone out of sight during your work hours. My phone is always out of sight, usually on airplane mode in a drawer or behind my computer so I can’t see it (out of sight out of mind).
  • Communicate expectations with anyone who will be home with you. I wear noise cancelling headphones whilst I work which tells my husband (who also works from home) and my bonus son that I don’t want to be interrupted unless it’s urgent.
  • Eat your lunch outside. I eat my lunch on my balcony or at the beach if I can. After sitting behind a computer, my soul needs some negative ions. If you can’t eat your lunch outside, try and get outside for 15 minutes to get some fresh air. 
  • Protect yourself from EMF. I have a Somavedic and all the EMF protective devices around you to counteract any harmful frequencies.
  • Don’t sit whilst you take meetings. Walk around your house, or up and down the stairs or around the block. I will sometimes be stretching or doing fascial release whilst on a meeting so I am not sitting ALLLL day long. That is not good for you.
  • If you can, do video calls instead of phone calls — that way you can feel more connection and get some social interaction whilst working from home. I have done many video call meetings and before we begin, I simply tell them that I have been sitting all day and would they mind if I sat on the floor and stretched or walked around the block at the same time. No one has ever objected and in fact it’s inspired them to do the same. 
  • Save all meetings for afternoons after you have done your MIT’s. 
  • Always have clean water next to you so you can stay hydrated during the day. (Use code MATRIBE to get a discount.) 
  • Use a scheduling tool to book your meetings to avoid back and forth emails trying to find a time that suits all parties. I use calendly.
  • Schedule times for when you check emails and social media. Don’t keep email open on your computer all day long and take it off your phone (it’s too tempting to check your email during your non-work hours).
  • Pick a definitive finishing time each day that feels good for you. Otherwise, if you’re like me many years ago, I would just keep working into the evening and that was not sustainable.

Have you got any tips to add that could be supportive for our tribe? Please share them below and remember: if you have only just started to work from home and you are finding your feet, be gentle on yourself and your family. You are doing a great job and I am so proud of you.

 

Comments (30)

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    • April 2, 2020

      LOVE these tips! So helpful, thank you Melissa <3 "Communicating expectations with anyone who will be home with you" – such an important one and one I'm trying to get better at!

    • Lisa
      April 7, 2020

      I get a lot of these kind of emails now, how to be “super efficient” at this time and kind of “if you don’t come out from this with at least two new side businesses and a super tidy and organized home/life you haven’t made the most of your time.” It’s stressing and exhausting. We can see clearly now the wonderful things that happens with Mother Earth when everyone slows down now! Maybe that’s what we need- to slow down. It’s certainly what the nature needs. Why not use this time to practice slowing down, we could make this world a better place. Peace & Love, Lisa

      • April 10, 2020

        Totally agree, Lisa. And for me personally, I have been doing both. Moving very slow during some parts of my day, then working on my goals during other parts. I like mixing a bit of both in my days and always honouring how I feel each day. That’s key. Thanks for your thoughts. xx

    • Lydia
      April 7, 2020

      I also use “Clockify” to check how much time I spent on different tasks. A) it gives me a more realisitc picture of how much time I need to allocate for each task in the future and B) it keeps me going since I can see how much time is left from my work day in which I need to get my unfinished tasks done.

      Another tip is using the Pomodoro technique (might not be a right fit for everyone). You work for 25 minutes, take a break for 5 and repeat this 4 times until you take a longer break for 15 minutes.

      I have also found that setting the intention to be productive and focused in the morning helps me as well.

      I love love love your tips!

      • April 10, 2020

        Great tips honey. I will check out Clockify. I have used Pomodoro but I didn’t enjoy it because when I am writing books I love to just sit for ages until I feel I need to get up. Not ideal for my back but creatively it works for me. Glad you love these tips angel. xx

    • Catherine
      April 7, 2020

      This is such a helpful blog. Your rhythm sounds really balanced and enjoyable – the right mix of discipline, structure and self-care. I will apply lots of these – especially your phone behind the computer.

      I also love to prepare my lunch meals (usually a salad) the night before or in the morning so that I don’t graze or use snacks as a distraction.

      And with kids at home I find it super helpful to frontload connection time with them before starting work. Otherwise the interruptions can be frequent and feel unpleasant to manage.

      Good luck everyone!! X

      • April 10, 2020

        A great tip to frontload connection at the start of the day. We also have a play with Leo first before he starts school. It’s so much fun. xx

    • Gemma
      April 7, 2020

      Very helpful, thank you! I am loving working from home full time. It’s helping me to get more productive. Putting my phone in the drawer is the biggest assistance for me! I also love stretching while in meetings/on calls- definitely couldn’t do that in the office! Mastering the MITs and focussing on those is my biggest challenge- I tend to get busy on ‘important not urgent’ tasks which waste time. Working on it! Thanks again x

      • April 10, 2020

        You can do it, Gemma. Do not do anything until you have done your daily MIT’s. You will feel so good after you have done them. xx

    • Monique
      April 8, 2020

      Hi Melissa! Thank you so much for the post. I’m not “working” from home exactly (the catering company I work for had to temporarily shut down operations until the events bans are lifted!) but I am still keeping positive, staying busy levelling up skills and focusing on the future. Which is how I found Mastering Your Mean Girl!
      I feel the parts of this post regarding moving around and music are essential – I have music playing all day long! A simple way I find to do this is listening to vinyl records. It forces you to not only appreciate an entire album and artist, you also have to get up to change sides and actively put a new one on when it ends. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good playlist, this is just one thing I’ve found that’s helped me to not get lost in my phone, computer, etc.

      • April 10, 2020

        I love that honey. I would LOVE to a record player in our home, but in the meantime, it’s epic playlist like Nick’s music for us. xx

    • Angela
      April 8, 2020

      Hi Melissa, thanks for taking the time to write these tips down and sharing with us.
      My husband and I are working from home and sharing our space with two awesome pod buddies, our labradors, and they are loving it. They get loads of hugs, pats and walks throughout the day.
      To add to your routine, we love our exercise and have setup a home gym in our spare bedroom. It’s not big enough for both of us to train together so I schedule my workouts for after breakfast.
      I also add in small bite size mindfulness breathing sessions throughout the day, making sure I have the warmth of the sun or light on my face. This is heavenly and it really helps ground me.

      • April 10, 2020

        I love these tips, honey, thanks for sharing. We have a yoga room and a gym set up in the garage which make such a difference. We also do loads of breathing during the day too. It’s the best! xx

    • Talei
      April 8, 2020

      I enjoyed this article Melissa. Great reminder for me about about MIT’s first thing and stopping before dinner. A zoom meeting whilst stretching?! What could be better for all involved! I’m about to try that one! Thank You.

      • April 10, 2020

        Awesome Talei, let me know what you think. xx

        • Talei
          April 18, 2020

          Totally rocked! Not only that, I was a yoga teacher for almost a decade before I had kids so being on the floor stretching whilst on a meeting has actually led into all kinds of healthy conversations about the body mind and spirit! There is something super sweet, here…this could become a thing ;) Very glad I read this. Thanks again!

        • April 19, 2020

          So glad it resonated honey and so pumped you do your meetings on the floor like me. xx

    • Holly-Ann Rutherfoord
      April 8, 2020

      This is inspiring Melissa! Even though I am retired I like to use my time wisely. I am studying Hebrew.
      On another very important subject, I would really like a vegan eating plan, or suggestions on which books to use Melissa please? I am 80 kgs and should be 62kgs! Although 72 years young, I do not want age to be the excuse. I need to release weight in a healthy way. I am vegetarian, though maybe too much cheese in my diet is one culprit.
      Thank you Melissa!

      • April 10, 2020

        Well done on using your time wisely honey, you’re amazing! Have you read Becoming Vegan that’s a great place to start. Have a read and let me know what you think. xx

    • April 9, 2020

      Hi babe
      How are you going?
      Big chances all of a sudden has taken a few weeks to adjust too.
      For me personally I have been wanting to slow down the one on one face to face Traditional treatment role and creat a more dynamic experience with one or/and number of people at once.
      So closing the clinic and being forced to come home has been a great thing. Initially I just enjoyed being at home with the family, gardening , hanging in the sun swimming fun the pool and generally having a lovely healing wholesome time.
      But this week has been a more motivated “ok let’s get this shit started” vibe.
      The thing is, when I’m at home my kids and husband just want to hang out with me and there has been a bit of a tug of war between me needing to put down some boundary’s and me wanting to be available and present for my family.
      We are still learning finding the balance and what I think I need to do is say Tuesday Thursday are my work days but often there are webinars that I want to listen to or meetings to have on other days.
      What I am excited about is that I’m keen to focus on sharing the basics of TCM and how it helps women during pregnancy and the post part in period. I know that this will help people develop trust and confidence in me as I transition to an online platform.
      I’ve just got a question about video recording devices and mics.
      What’s your experience? what works the best? I’ve got my Mac desktop and a pair of noice cancelling headphones.
      Any other suggestions would be most appreciated.
      Loving all your support!!! Xox

      • April 10, 2020

        Hi angel, thanks for your comment. I am excited to see what you create and how you share it with the world. What I have found really works for me and our family is still keeping a routine at home. Setting healthy boundaries for everyone so they know when you are working and when you are playing is key. Leo has had school which was when we would work, but now that it’s school holidays we work from 8 – 12pm, each lunch as a family, then play, swim etc, and then maybe do a little more work in the afternoon if needed. But that’s what works for us. Find your flow with your family. In regards to recording devices, I use Garageband and this epic mic and that’s it. Let me know if you have any other questions honey. I am here to support. xx

    • Tara Kircher
      April 13, 2020

      Hey Melissa, 

      This article couldn’t have come at a better time, thank you!  I’m really trying to figure out what schedule works for me! I’ve gone from insanely busy music industry exec, to working on my husbands health & wellness company, to being homebound the past 2 years due to an unfortunate health imbalance, and loosing all sense of structure & discipline. I’m now picking up again (amid healing) due to you & Marie in B-School ( a huge thank you xo).

      Your an inspiration for so many reasons, but one way is your ability to constantly find balance & to sit your mind, body, soul & marriage as your internal GPS which your work fits around. 

      I have tried so many different routines that past few months / years, from 6am wake ups with intense morning routines, to currently prioritizing more sleep during Covid to ramp up immunity! I seem to either be a rock star on the healing front, or a rock star on the work front, but blending the two is the tricky part for me, which you seem to have nailed.

      You mentioned in both your books about your morning routine etc, and I wondered now that your even more seasoned in finding balance since your books, and with your current 8am work start if you found a way to get all your self love / exercise into your day, spend quality time with Nick & stilllllll get 8-9 hours sleep a night…. I’m thinking maybe those goals become more weekly then daily to make it all more achievable, just wondered if you had any insight on that part of your work / life balance that’s hit a sweet spot for you? 

      Love & light,
      Tara xo 

      • April 14, 2020

        Hey Tara, great question. Firstly, I go to bed super early around 8pm and I wake up around 5:45am at the moment but this changes. So the key is going to bed earlier and rising earlier to fit it in. Does that make sense?

        • Tara
          April 15, 2020

          Totally… and is what i keep coming back too in the end, thank you! :) and for you or anyone else who’s interested, I have found working with my dosha’s, & working with my natural / the earths natural rhythm has been super helpful and feels way more in harmony with nature and one method i keep circling back too. The brilliant Sahara Rose explains it perfectly in her Ayurvedic book if you or anyone reading this is into checking out Ayurvedic dosha’s and living! :) xo

        • April 17, 2020

          Totally agree honey, honouring my dosha, cycle and nature has changed my life. I have had Sahara on my podcast if you want to check it out. It’s one of my favorite episodes. xx

    • April 21, 2020

      Wonderful tips thank you Melissa! I am working from home in between cleaning homes and offices (we’re considered essential workers right now so still going until told otherwise). This is super helpful for when I am at home though. It’s so easy to get distracted and to go to bed late and wake up later. Picking a definitive finish time is so important, otherwise I will just work and work and work and suddenly it’s 2am! Thanks again. :)

      • April 24, 2020

        I hear ya Prema, I’m the same but that’s why setting times for yourself is key. Give it a try for a week and let me know how you feel. xx

    • May 20, 2020

      Hi Melissa,

      Thank you for sharing this very inspiring article! It really helps someone who are affected with this pandemic. For those can’t get to work, this is the chance to earn just staying at home! But we should also shield our body first for EMF radiation, especially those who are working 8-10 hours in front of the computer. Visit http://emfprotectionusa.com/ to learn more and how we can protect ourselves from EMF.

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