Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What I've Learned in An Eight to Five Job [Part Two]

After working at my new job for more than a month, I wrote a post on what I've learned so far in an eight to five job. I also mentioned I would add to the list, but before I do, I am happy to report that I am still in love with my job. Seriously, I feel so blessed to be able to write all day and work from home. If you have the opportunity to work remotely, I highly recommend it. It's not for everyone, but if you can figure out how to stay on task and keep out distractions, it has so many perks. 


Here are a few [additional] things I've learned so far in an eight to five, work-from-home job:

Boost productivity: Figure out the time of day you are most productive.Through trial and error, I decided to dedicate a certain chunk of my mornings to my more challenging projects - because mornings are when I am most productive. I tend to write faster during this part of my work day, so I try to knock out the research-heavy, time-consuming projects then. I'm not sure if everyone has a consistent time of day they are most productive, but it's worth looking into. Keep track of what you get done throughout the day and try to pay close attention to when your mind is most clear and prepared to tackle work that requires more concentration. 

Utilize your breaks: Occasionally, I would work through my lunch break to get projects done or I sat at my desk while I ate, checking Facebook or sorting emails. While I thought I was maximizing my time, I actually worked slower because I didn't have a sufficient break to get up, stretch my legs and let my brain rest. I discovered that taking a whole lunch break not only helped me stay on task and energized throughout the day, it significantly impacted the quality of my work. You may think your efforts to work through breaks are best to get the job done, but I have found that stepping away from the screen - even to watch my dog run outside for a few minutes - does wonders to my work and mood.

Navigate your work habits: Learning to navigate the uncharted waters of a full-time, work-from-home job was really intimidating to me. Before getting into a predictable routine [which I tend to do sometimes], I decided to try different things. I found that, to my surprise, I work best without music, depending on the project. Working in bed or on the couch is usually a no-go, unless I've had three cups of coffee and even then, it will probably only slow me down. Discover what works best for you, especially if you work remotely. Can you be productive in coffee shops? Do you have a method for keeping out distractions and phone calls? What about a ritual for generating creativity? Maybe you don't have too many 'work habits' and that's okay. I will say though, finding out what works and what doesn't has made all the difference in my everyday work schedule. 

Improve your business acumen: If you are entering into a job with a high learning curve, spend some time learning about the industry's vertical, "lingo" and current trends. In my job, I am constantly writing for a number of different industries. In the beginning, I practically got heart palpitations every time I needed to write for a law firm or a real estate agency. I was uncomfortable writing about certain industries and terminology, and you could tell in my writing. I was advised to be intentional in what I read and I would inevitably improve my business acumen. Instead of getting stuck on Facebook or blogs, I try to set aside a little bit of time to read Forbes or other helpful sites. Reading topics I am not normally inclined to read, like science or technology magazines will expand my knowledge of different industries. You may not need to know a lot about other businesses, but if you are new to your job, chances are you need to learn more about your company and how it fits into the industry. Don't be overwhelmed, but rather, set little goals to gain knowledge in unfamiliar areas. 


That's all for now... I'm sure I'll be revisiting this list in the near future. 
Do you have any tips that work for you? How do you stay motivated and productive during the work day?

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