The current pandemic has tossed all of us in a situation where we have to work from home and roam from the living room to the bedroom holding our laptops. For many modern professionals, working from home was once a luxury- people used to fantasize about working from the comfort of their home and spend more time on sleep, family, and personal life.Working from home seems all good…right up until your dog throws a toy on your laptop, or you are lured by the pile of laundry lying around, or you feel like binge-watching on your favorite Netflix show! So, working from home is a double-edge sword – you definitely get to stay at home, but it also gets harder to focus on work. It has its own perks, but it is up to you how much benefit you can take while staying completely productive. So, first things first: start your day on a healthy note, nourish and hydrate yourself, sit up straight, and get started with your work. Here are seven tried-and-tested tips to help you remain productive while working from home.

1) Have A Designated Workspace

While at home, you will usually find yourself curled up on the sofa, but having a specific spot at home where you ‘go to work’ is essential to focus- which means getting off the couch and definitely out of your bed. With a dedicated workspace, you can focus more on your work, fuel your creativity, and shut out all the distractions. Moreover, organize your workspace like you would do in the office, with all your files and documents. It is essential to keep up with the office vibe while working from home to improve your work performance. Additionally, by having a designated workspace, you know where to walk away from, once your workday is complete, thereby allowing you to disconnect easier than if you were working from your bedroom. 

2) Take Breaks to Declutter Your Mind

Whether it is your office or home, it is vital to remain in a clutter-free zone within your mind. You may have a hundred thoughts running in your brain, but you need to align them properly. Scrolling through Instagram might feel like a break, but taking a ‘real break’ means no screens during that time. It is an important element to stay healthy and can also help in getting rid of anxiety caused by brain fog, and can increase your mental clarity and overall productivity.

3) Find A Chill Buddy

We always have that one coworker who keeps on chatting in between work. Back in the office, you used to get irritated with that, but when working from home, you surely miss it now. It is these social interactions that refresh your mind and help you focus better on work. So, do not hesitate to ring up or video call your chill buddy and talk about anything and everything. 

4) Work On A Fixed Schedule

Working at home needs extra efforts to create a schedule for your day. While an in-office schedule happens by default, you need to plan your day when working from home. This ‘2 emails per week strategy’ will also help you. Creating a fixed schedule is not only for work but also to dedicate time to some basic practices like morning exercise, lunch, and other non-work activities like laundry and cleaning. You need to allocate time to your work and family. With a proper schedule in place, you will be able to keep yourself mentally and physically available at all times and witness an improvement in your performance. 

5) Be More Communicative

Work from home is not a solo job; instead, it needs to involve your team members more actively than you do in office. Whether it is brainstorming on a new project, or just creating a presentation, communication is the key to stay productive while working from home. Especially for senior managers and leaders, it is important to go beyond emails and messages and involve your team through video calls to replicate a better office experience for them and make them feel involved in the work. 

6) Create Work Boundaries

One of the most essential ways of staying productive at work is to create work boundaries. You need to follow certain working hour’s policy and log off from work when the time is over. Work from home doesn’t mean that you have to pull all-nighters and be stuck to your screen 24/7. It’s important to signal your mind that work time is over. More so, because over-exerting yourself might lead to eye strain headache, and hamper your productivity for the next day. Allow yourself to relax and create a perfect work-life balance.

7) Create Work Triggers for Your Brain

When you work in the office, the daily routine of dressing up and commuting prepares your mind to be ready for work. You need to do the same when working from home and give your brain a head start with activities like exercise, making coffee, and sitting up straight for work. Dress up a bit better and not just start work in your sleepwear. Dressing up nicely signals your brain to be ready for work. Get into your workspace and follow the schedule you have made for the day.

Takeaways

Work from home has its own advantages, and you have finally got this moment you have been dreaming for a long time. Moreover, with the current circumstances, it’s difficult to predict when we would be able to put a rein on this and get back to our office life. Hence, working from home is the new reality which is here to stay for a long time. So, don’t let this go in vain and follow the steps mentioned above to keep your sanity and work productivity in pace.

I wish that Donald Trump would go on national TV and tell everyone how much he loves resumes so everyone would finally start hating them publicly.

If I had a choice between spending the day with Donald Trump, Kim Kardashian, or a pile of resumes, I would ask for double the time with Trump and Kimmie over spending a minute with the resumes.

That’s HOW MUCH I hate resumes.

Now let me tell you why.

The original purpose of a resume was to create a single document that outlines your experience & skill-set for future employers. It was a fantastic tool.

The problem is that things have changed. A lot.

(more…)

The eye contact. Oh my God, the eye contact.

He stared me down. His face didn’t move. He never blinked. His eyeballs followed my every millimeter of movement. It was perfect.

He was the Michael Jordan of eye contact. If there was an eye contact competition he would win 10 years straight.

He was interviewing me for an entry-level job out of college.

He asked me a stupid, simple question. A question that was directly related to my major and experience. I had spent 4 years waiting for this exact question.

I had an answer prepared. Right before I was about to blurt out my canned answer, I made a huge mistake.

I looked directly into his pupils.

It was the equivalent of looking directly at the solar eclipse without glasses. My brain immediately told me, “Don’t use your perfectly prepared answer. Say something else. Anything else. Just don’t use that answer.”

(more…)

“Robbie, I would recommend that you don’t call yourself a Junior Analyst in your email signature. You can just call yourself an Analyst.”

“OK. But when I become CEO, I’ll make sure my signature says CEO!”

This email exchange was me foolishly believing I was going to be the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company.

15 years later, the thought of running a multi-billion dollar company is not only outlandish, but I’m 110% sure I never want to have that job.

Expectations as a 21-year-old vs. reality change as you progress through your career.

Here is everything I would tell my 21-year-old self.

Your career is not a straight line. Sometimes it feels like a circle.

You’re going to wonder how in the world you got so far from your original plan.

If you follow the money, you’ll end up with more money but farther from where you want to be with your career.

If you follow your passion, you’ll end up with no money and a little bit closer to where you want to be.

If you figure out a way to merge a way to make money & do something you’re good at, your life will be better.

Start budgeting right now. No, seriously, right now.

Start writing. I know you’re not good at it. But, just do it anyway.

You’re going to become good at what you do, and others are going to ask you to join their team. They are going to ask you to make life changes to help them. Make sure that life change is part of your plan, and not just theirs.

Don’t listen to those people who tell you to say no to everything. You can only say no once you figure out what you want to do with your life. Say “YES” and see where it takes you.

You’re going to ask yourself if you should apply to a startup called “Facebook” in 2007. You’re also going to tell yourself that the company is too late stage for you to make any money. Don’t listen to that voice. Your voice is stupid.

This thing called “Bitcoin” is going to come up once in a while. You’re going to think to yourself “That sounds too complicated, I’m not going to buy bitcoin for 22 cents.”. Don’t listen to that voice. Your voice is stupid.

Your instinct about traveling is right. Do it now before it’s too late.

Money doesn’t buy happiness, but if you have just enough in your bank account at any given time, you won’t have to make decisions that make it harder to live life.

Don’t pick up the phone when you’re sleeping. It’s a phone interview at Google you hustled to get. You’re not a good at pretending you’ve been up the whole time.

Don’t nap before phone interviews.

Use an alarm clock even when you’re napping.

An interviewer is going to ask you who your worst manager was. Don’t answer that question. It’s a trap.

You can think more than a few years ahead at a time. I promise it will come faster than you think.

Sometimes it’s ok to help yourself before others.

If you take more than five deep breaths before you get to work, you need a new job.

If you check your email before work and you swear more than five times, you need a new job.

You need a new job.

Yes. You can go to your friend’s BBQ. You don’t need to work every weekend. It will be OK.

Find the cubicle that is closest to the exit so you can leave work early without anyone noticing.

Real life is going to get in the way of success. Embrace it.

“It is what it is” will go from being a meaningless quote to your life’s motto seemingly overnight.

Don’t worry when you post your writing online. Post it as soon as you finish it.

21 Year Old Robbie: Even if it’s a Friday afternoon and no one will read it?
35 Year Old Robbie: Even better.

What would you say to your 21-year-old self?

PS: Read the only resignation letter template you’ll ever need.

This post was originally published on the LinkedIn Official Blog. In the second post of a three-part series, LinkedIn asks members to share why they publish on LinkedIn. Robbie Abed is the Director of Marketing at Y Media Labs–a mobile interactive agency for some of the most leading brands and emerging startups.

Why do you feel it’s important to share your professional perspectives with the world?

Career advice always sounds the same: meet the right people, don’t play office politics, work hard, and do good work. It all means nothing in the end unless you can relate it to your specific situation. Telling someone to always negotiate their salary is different than someone telling a story about how they managed to negotiate their salary when the company wasn’t offering raises as an option. (more…)