Working productively from home

How to work productively and effectively from home – in your yoga pants!

I am changing the world, one pair of yoga pants at a time. How? I am part of the ‘tracksuit economy’. I live on the far north coast of New South Wales, but work remotely from home for a Sydney based legal firm. In this remote role, I manage a team of five, meet important deadlines and manage the juggle of my family and personal commitments. Best of all, my career has continued to flourish alongside my newer role of parenthood.

Adopting this alternate way of working has been life changing. I firmly believe more people should have the opportunity to work for organisations or themselves from home, or in other flexible ways. I am so passionate about this that I have written a book, The Tracksuit Economy – How to work productively AND effectively from home.

Don’t make yourself fit the corporate world, make the corporate world fit you

The reality is that traditional corporate life is exactly that. Corporate and traditional. And not very family friendly. This is fine for the many people who flourish in corporate roles and enjoy the lifestyle. But what if you want something different? What if you want to own your own home in a regional area to live a slower lifestyle? What if you want to be home in the afternoon when your children get home from school? What if you can’t concentrate in an open plan office and you want a different way of doing things?

The benefits of working from home are clear. Integrating work with the other aspects of your life – home, family, friends and self-care – saves time, increases happiness and reduces stress. In my book, I share 31 great tips to help you make the most of working from home. In the meantime, here is a sneak peak at my top tips:

Tip #1 – You do you

You are unique. Your family and work schedule is unique. What works for me may not work for you. For example, while I work exclusively from home, some may find it too isolating and prefer, say, three days at home and two days in the office per week.

However, what is important is determining how to make your day flow better. I create that flow by integrating some essential daily tasks (like school lunch preparation, pre-preparing dinner and putting on the odd load of washing) in between bursts of really efficient work for my day job as a lawyer at LegalVision.

Tip #2 – Weekends are for… organisation (and relaxation)

While boundaries are really important and I need down time on a weekend, I do try to set aside at least some time on Sunday to plan the week ahead. I create a to-do list, and update my calendar. I also do some admin to remove the background noise for the upcoming week and help it run smoothly.

Organisation is essential to any successful working from home arrangement. It must be self-propelled organisation too. The thing with working from home is that you have autonomy to work when and how you want, but you must be motivated to do the work and show up.

Tip #3 – Pace yourself 

When working from home, it should not be all or nothing. It should be a steady pace. I ask myself each day, ‘How can I best use my time?’ I generally try to get most of my deep thinking or immersive work done while my son is at school, I call these my ‘hours of power’, and leave time for self-care amongst the work routine.

Tip #4 – Flexibility

Take advantage of your remote arrangements. Maintain autonomy and be flexible to allow you to deal with life’s little curve balls. I do this by starting work at 8AM after my son catches his school bus. I then work with only short regular breaks (of ten or 15 minutes to stretch and breathe) before collecting my son from school. This has adjusted my workday to suit my arrangements and preferences. Yet, other trailblazers whom I interviewed in my book, found a few hours off during the day and working into the evening was more beneficial for them.

Written by Emma Heuston, author of The Tracksuit Economy – How to work productively AND effectively from home and believer that there is an easier way. A commercial lawyer and busy parent, Emma is passionate about re-framing the way we work. Her hope is that professionals of the future will not only wear tracksuits, but will embrace work-life integration. For more great tips and hacks to save you time each week, grab a copy of Emma’s ebook, available from iBook (search Tracksuit Economy) and on Amazon).

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