I am a work-at-home professional since 2007 and am always on the lookout for helpful advice, tips, tricks, and ways to improve my work processes and my productivity. Thomas Oppong is a gentleman with impressive credentials. Based in London, UK, he is the Founder of AllTopStartups, which is a resource site for small businesses; and he publishes a free weekly newsletter digest called Postanly which curates the best productivity content around the web. In addition, he has contributed articles to numerous respectable publications such as Business Insider, Thrive Global India, Medium, Observer, Kogan Page, Inc., and HuffPost. Finally, he has written about 30+ books. Just to give you an idea of the content here are two of the titles:
- Bet on Yourself: How to Find and Create Meaningful Work
- The Power of One Percent Better: Small Gains, Maximum Results
As already stated, I work from home. My daughter says she admires the way I get up and go to work every day. I told her that I have always been self-supervised (didn’t need a boss looking over my shoulder) and self-motivated (didn’t need a “carrot” as an incentive to get the job done). However, I am never satisfied with the way I work. I believe there is always room for improvement and a way to perform my tasks quicker and more efficiently. So I seek and find advice wherever I can and found an article published by Thomas Oppong. I love the quote he uses in the beginning paragraphs:
Leonardo Da Vinci once said, “While you are alone you are entirely your own master.”
That quote should be combined with:
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” ― Theodore Roosevelt
In Mr. Oppong’s article (reference below) he lists 8 steps that a work-at-home professional like me should follow to increase my productivity. All tips are fantastic but one needed “tailoring” to suit my work habits. At first, I thought of other steps that he could have mentioned. But he did include in the title of his article the word “ Super-Productive”. So maybe he just didn’t mention those steps because even though they might be habits of productive people, they are not the routine habits that make one “Super-Productive”.
I suggest following the steps he listed because I know they work. I already do them. There was only one step which I don’t do and that’s only because I can’t. There are no two separate areas in my home where I can work. Where I work is also where I relax and sleep. So … “Separate Work Zones From Relaxing Zones”. Sorry. No can do. But the other 7 steps? Not a problem.
Steps 1, 2 and 3:
- Start Work as Early as Possible
- Dedicate Mornings to High-Value Work
- If You’re Not a Morning Person, Work When You’re Most Productive
Mr. Oppong recommends that you begin your daily routine as early as possible and make it your mission to accomplish the tasks that you know will result in the most profit. Of course, he realizes that not everybody is a morning person, so he is flexible on this. Work during the time of day when you know you get your best work done. Hey! Some of us are vampires. We only come out and come alive at night!
Step 4: Prepare For a Successful Morning in Advance
He suggests planning your day the night before. I can do even better. Not only do I plan the day, I dream about it! I can’t help it. If I go to bed thinking about something that has to be done, sometimes in my dreams I perform the task. When I wake up it’s like I already had a dress rehearsal and now I’m ready for the real show. Does that not happen to you?
Step 5: Structure Your Day As You Would Normally
Mr. Oppong suggests you structure your day by creating a schedule for your work. Fine by me, however, I don’t maintain a calendar, use project management tools, take scheduled breaks, etc. Since all of the work I do is online, my workday schedule is built entirely around my Internet access. For the most part, my service provider is very reliable. When I don’t have access, I have a notebook and write articles old school style, i.e. with pen and paper; and catch up on some reading. So I have a work plan and a backup work plan. That’s my definition of “structured”.
Step 6: Separate Work Zones From Relaxing Zones
Step 7: Cancel Noise For Focus
This step 7 makes me laugh. I raised 11 kids. Believe me. I know how to cancel noise and focus! I dare to say I’m an expert!
Step 8. Keep Socializing
Mr. Oppong’s Step 8 is my Step 1. Were it not for connecting with people via social and professional networks, my online work may have never taken off. They were the ones who gave me ideas, instruction on how to get started, and advice on how to keep going. Of course, I am going to keep socializing. I maintain my connections to express my gratitude. I consider them not only co-workers but friends.
There is one step Mr. Oppong did not list but I feel it should be mentioned because it is often overlooked. That step is: Eat brain food. Sometimes when we work from home, we don’t eat properly. We might drink gallons of coffee to keep us going or snack on a candy bar to get that sugar rush, when we should be eating foods that fuel our brains and give us more energy. There is a lot of information about this on the web published by qualified professionals ~ dieticians, nutritionists, and other healthcare experts. Do the research and try to figure out what is best for you. Seek medical advice if necessary. This is a very important productivity step. It is crucial.
Oppong, Thomas. “8 Habits of Super-Productive People Who Work From Home.” Pocket, Read It Later, Inc., 24 June 2020, getpocket.com/explore/item/8-habits-of-super-productive-people-who-work-from-home.