Top Tips to Survive Working From Home, Backed by Science

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This is a guest post by Saskia Smit, a freelance writer and founder of career blog My Kind of Monday, which focuses on helping people find happiness in work and in life.  

Working from home sounds like a dream to most people. No boss to deal with, co-workers to distract you, and no need for uncomfortable office clothing. You get to decide how and when you work, and what’s best is that you can do it all in your pajamas.

Nothing could be more relaxing, right? Well, not really.

When you start working from home, you soon begin to realize just how difficult it can be to stay on top of your workload and stop getting distracted. While you may not have co-workers keeping you from work, you do have other distractions such as the internet, chores, and friends and family dropping by for an impromptu visit. 

If you’re struggling to survive working from home, the following infographic offers plenty of tips to help you get your head in the game, improve focus, and boost productivity.

Tips on maximizing productivity while working from home

 tips on maximizing productivity while working from hom

The Right Music, The Right Task

Using music to boost your productivity can work wonders, but you need to choose your timing and the type of music you listen to carefully. Choose the wrong music and task, and you could end up distracted and even less productive than without any music on at all.

According to research, repetitive tasks that are clearly defined and do not require lots of creativity are ideal. While complex tasks that require learning demand too much of your attention and even subtle sounds can prove distracting.

When it comes to the type of music to listen to, avoid listening to anything with lyrics or something you haven’t listened to before. That may cause you to pay more attention to the music than the task at hand. Instead, one study suggests trying ambient noise, which could enhance performance on creative tasks.

Breaks Are Good for You

You may feel guilty taking a break from work. But a study published in the journal Cognition found that if you want to improve focus, then a brief diversion may be just what you need. Been doing the same task for a while and have noticed that you’re beginning to lose your concentration? Then switch the focus to something else for a moment.

If you want to make the most of your break, you can try meditation. It’s a good way to increase your ability to resist distracting urges. With it you can focus your attention where it’s needed and boost your productivity when you get back to it.  

Alternatively, try taking a mid-afternoon nap. It can make a difference to your mood and productivity. Aim for a 20-minute nap, ideally at around 2-3 p.m. This is when you will likely experience lower levels of alertness and is the best time to avoid interfering with nighttime sleep.

Get Help Blocking Out Distractions

If you’re yet to master the art of meditation and find your focus is getting disrupted, then there are plenty of other things you can try to block out the distractions. A good pair of noise canceling headphones will stop outside noises from getting in the way of work. While different apps and browser extensions can be used to restrict access to time-wasting websites.

If there are things at home that are getting in the way of you doing work, then try a change of scenery.

Research carried out by Regus found that 56% of workers benefited from a change in working environment with improved productivity and an increase in ability to concentrate. Head out and find a different spot to work, whether that be a café, the local library, or a shared workspace.

You may worry that the noise in a coffee shop would be distracting. Remember that the ambient noise can help improve performance on creative tasks.

Having other people around you may also help you to perform better, thanks to the audience effect. Especially if those people are also hard at work. Seeing other people working hard could influence your task performance and motivate you to work harder.

While it may be difficult to stay productive when working from home, there are plenty of things you can try to maintain your focus and get the best out of your workday. Make the most of the flexibility that it offers and find a way to make your environment and the tools at your disposal work for you.

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How This Family Guy Makes $10,000/Month Online Teaching Others How to Make, Save and Invest Money

How This Family Guy Makes $10,000/Month Online Teaching Others How to Make, Save and Invest Money - Interview with R.J. Weiss from TheWaystoWealth.com

This is an interview-style post with R.J. Weiss from The Ways to Wealth.

Hey R.J. What’s your background and what do you do?

I blog about all things personal finance at The Ways to Wealth.

Before I went full-time into blogging, I spent ten years in the financial services industry. Specifically, helping families buy the right type of life insurance.

During my time with a full-time job, I’ve always had different side hustles going on. From freelance writing, Amazon FBA, conversion rate optimization, to website design — there were many projects I pursued outside of work.

How did you start your career in finance?

I got started in finance straight out of college working for my the family insurance business. As I love the financial planning side of things, I choose to specialize in life insurance planning. This led me down the path to obtaining the CFP® Certification.

What made you start blogging?

The Ways to Wealth, which I started in 2016, has been my 5th blog.

The others mostly fizzled out most due to a lack of interest. But, in 2009 I started a personal finance blog called GenYWealth.com (no longer around) that had some success.

The idea GenYwealth.com was to write about what I was learning about studying to take the CFP®. The blog was, by all means, a success. I was able to gain valuable knowledge, pass the CFP® exam, earn some extra money and build up a good community.

I then took this knowledge and started a business blog, which allowed the insurance agency I was working for to generate leads.

I started The Ways to Wealth because my passion is personal finance–from investing to travel hacking, I love the challenge of optimizing my finances.

How was The Ways to Wealth born?

I didn’t have much of a plan for starting The Ways to Wealth when I purchased the domain name.

I was actually thinking it would be a niche site, which was inspired by Pat Flynn’s niche site duel. Then, I came across the income reports of Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and wisely changed direction to a more traditional blog.

This change came about 6-months after starting to blog.  I did a timeline of the site in one of my income reports.

What worked best when trying to grow the site?

I had a decent knowledge of SEO. So at first, I started growing the site with email outreach. One of the first posts I had about best investing books of all time, had about 15 links to it.

This was nice to start with but was quite slow to build up, as it can take a while to earn Google’s trust.

The big turning point came when I started to understand Pinterest. I spent a few frustrating weeks on the platform, then it finally started paying dividends.

I went from about 100 sessions a day to 1,000, which was huge for me at the time.

How did you get to 3 million monthly viewers on Pinterest?

the ways to wealth pinterest 3 million monthly views

I lay out my Pinterest strategy here. But at the core the idea is to:

1) Write high-quality content that Pinners want to click through, read, and share.

2) Pin to my own and high-quality group boards, with a keyword-rich description.

3) Continue to Pin my best pins across my own boards/group boards, ruthlessly eliminating Pins that don’t perform well.

One thing to keep in mind is impressions don’t mean much on Pinterest. What counts are clicks to your website. So, you want to design not for impressions but clicks.

What aspects of the online business are you outsourcing or automating and how?

The first thing I outsourced was Pinterest design. I’ll design about 30-40 pins a month, so this was big time saver for me.

Of course, it took some work to get going. At first, I hired 5 or so people on Fiverr. I found one decent designer but the work quality deteriorated over time.

I then went to Upwork and posted a job for a  graphic designer. I found a great team down in Argentina, who I’m very happy with.

I’m currently experimenting with working with a ghostwriter. A few of my latest posts have been transcribed from my recording, with the ghostwriter making sense of it all.

I can compile about 3 posts in 90 minutes, then take another 90 or so minutes to prepare them. Saving me around 3-4 hours per post this way.

What’s your main income stream and why do you think it works for you?

My main source of income for the blog is affiliate revenue. It works because the partners I do have are high-quality businesses, who deliver value and solve real problems. This makes it easy to naturally link to such a partner.

When did you start making more than $10K/month and what was the turning point?

My first month over $10K was in January of 2018. In December of 2017, income was around $3,000 and in July of 2017 around $500. So, it was definitely a jump.

What happened then in January?

First, personal finance is at its peak interest in January.

Second, I had multiple Pins go viral.

Third, in November I started driving traffic via Facebook to the site. So, in January I could take campaigns I’d been fine-tuning for a few weeks and scale them.

How do you balance work and family life?

I have a routine I stick to Monday through Friday.

When inside of my designated working hours, I work. When outside of these hours, I’m not.

This is a lot easier said than done. But the thing important for me is not to take work everywhere I go. This means I don’t have any apps on my phone that are work-related (email, analytics, etc..)

What are you 3 best finance tips for newbies?

  • Focus on your savings rate. How much you save is the most important decision you’ll make.
  • Small incremental improvements add up over time. My favorite example is increasing your savings rate 1% every quarter, means you’ll be saving 20% of your income in just 5 years.
  • Study happiness. Become a student on how to increase your level of happiness. The natural result is you’ll want less overtime, making the game of personal finance a lot easier to win.

What books, blogs or podcasts help you stay motivated along the way of growing an online business?

I read a fair amount to keep fresh ideas in my head.

My favorite podcast is The Tim Ferriss Show.

Two blogs I enjoy reading are:

Farnam Street
Barking up the Wrong Tree

And as far as books. I try to read one a week. A few books I would recommend to online entrepreneurs would be:

Deep Work by Cal Newport
The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

Pin this post if you enjoyed the interview.

Check out my interview with R.J. from TheWaystoWealth to see how he entered the finance niche, started making money blogging, began bringing traffic from Pinterest and monetizing it with affiliate marketing, and is now making $10,000/month from his online business. #blogger #interview #blogtraffic #incomeideas #income