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For a lot of people, the idea of working from home conjures up ideas of sitting on a couch in your jammies daydrinking and eating chips & salsa while watching re-runs of Charmed. And yes, it can be just that wondrous just not always or nothing would get done.

There's truly an art to being able to work effectively from home.

Now that the whole world is at home hiding from COVID-19, a lot of people have to bust out some serious "art" seriously fast. If you've never worked from home, it can take ages to figure out how to do it productively.

This article is here to be your personal Bob Ross and remind you that anyone can be an artist.

One Reddit user asked:

People that work from home regularly, what tips, tricks, and suggestions do you have for us working from home for the first time?

You've got to keep in mind that not everyone's work style is going to be the same, so not every tip may apply to you. Your situation may be entirely different from someone else's. Maybe background music works for you. Maybe you're one of those people who can't have any on because it turns into workeoke and you don't have enough people in the house to provide solid backing vocals for when you do Bohemian Rhapsody. We don't judge. We appreciate your commitment to the high harmony.

In any case, there are a few things here that most of you will probably find useful. Doesn't mean you're going to listen to the experts, though. We get it. Chillin on the couch with a bag of hot cheetos DOES sound like a good time.

Best Use Of Time

Pick a room, close the door, and use noise cancelling headphones. Everything is a distraction when working from home. Suddenly, checking the mail and doing the dishes seems like the best use of your time.

- reapershere

Time To Stop

If there's one thing especially to be disciplined about it the TIME TO STOP WORKING! It's very easy to convince yourself it's ok to keep reading a report because you might just finish it today or to finish making all of the entries because tomorrow will be that much easier or you'll finally be done with a project.

Work at home starts to bleed over into your home non-work time/life very quietly and quickly. Pretty soon it will be a habit. I've worked at home for the last 15 years and got so much more work done but I had to fight hard to win this battle.

- IPauseForHurricanes

Get Dressed


Do your usual morning routine and get dressed! Be sitting at your desk by your usual start time and stick to your usual break times. It's tempting to stay in your pyjamas and work from bed but you'll feel much better if you put yourself together each day.

- CosmicKizmet

A 20 Year Veteran

I have been working from home for 20 years, since before my first kid was born. It has been great. My biggest habits:

  • Have a dedicated space and keep regular hours.
  • Make sure your family knows they can't interrupt your work unless the house is on fire.
  • Keep a journal so nobody can question your productivity.
  • Use your saved commute hours to read the paper in the morning and/or exercise.
  • Eat lunch out of your fridge.
  • Keep good coffee in the house.

You can actually be more productive at home and live a better life this way, if you stay disciplined.

- KlownPuree

Hot Cheetos

Instead of standing by the coffee machine or wasting time gabbing in someone's office I take that time and take my dog for a 10 minute walk or play some fetch in the yard, I do some stretches, work on a craft for a few minutes. Staying productive in your "down time" while working from home directly correlates to staying productive during your work time. If you take a 30 minute break to lounge on the couch and eat hot cheetos, you'll be a lot less inclined to get back into the groove of working than if you had taken that time to do something active or productively fun.

- llama_laughter

Tasks Not Time

Set tasks not time. Don't tell yourself "oh I've been working for X hours [translation: browsing reddit] , I deserve a break". Make a list of what you need to get done and don't give yourself an out till you've gotten it done.

If you can talk to your coworkers on Hangouts / Slack / whatever. Hold each other accountable to your lists.

- AlexTMighty


Set a routine.

I wake up every morning, check my emails, respond to anything urgent, open up all the files I'll be working with for the day.

Then I make coffee.

Then I attend morning meetings, eat breakfast and drink coffee.

Then I take a 20 minute break.

Then it's about an hour of work. Then lunch. I'll usually pop on an episode of the simpsons while I'm making lunch (or big mouth, or disenchanted, or some anime, or whatever)

Then another couple hours of work.

Then afternoon snack.

Another hour of work, then it's time to pick up the kid from school. Bring her home, sit her in front of a movie, and bang out another hour of work.

Then it's quitting time. I shut my laptop and resolve myself to not touch it again until morning.

Yes, it's broken up a lot, but I don't have people hanging over my cube just wanting to "chat".

- Account_8472

Not The Couch

I've been working remote for ~8 years now.

You have to have a dedicated work space. Your job happens at your workstation. Not everyone has a spare room or a desk but make it as official as possible. Do not, under any circumstances, work from the couch.

Take an hour to wake up and get moving, have some coffee, do some stretching, read the news, listen to 15-20 minutes of a podcast. Then officially start your work day. You'll really start to appreciate the time you don't have to scramble to get ready.

I don't have an opinion on showering and "dressing up". I shower most mornings but always just wear a t-shirt and joggers.

Take a break and go the fck outside to walk around, try to get at least a mile.

Drink lots of coffee because it's awesome.

Take a 30-45 minute lunch and actually cook a really good lunch. I make a salmon, potato, egg hash every day. I'll pickle some peppers, chop some garlic and really focus on cooking for a few minutes.

Don't feel guilty about taking a few 10-15 minute break. My normal work flow even when I was in the office was 45-50 minutes of actual work and 10 minutes of di*king around.

4:00 work beer

Before you go on your walk and before you start lunch throw in a load of laundry.

Without office and co-worker distractions try to get 6 solid, honest hours of work between when you start and when you finish.

You'll miss it when you have to go back in the office.

- tpxnu16

The Zone


Have sht you will get done by a specific time or by the end of the day. Not a "oh I'll do 3 hours of work". No. Get tasks ready or you will get distracted and lose focus.

Also put on some music or something that is not too distracting get comfortable and you may end up getting in a "flow" or "the zone". That is when you really get a ton of work done. You end up doing better than in an office.

- Tearaken

24 Hours Of Wear And Tear

My husband I have worked from home since 2002. Something you're going to realize: your house now gets 24 hours of wear and tear. Be extra diligent about cleaning up after yourself and putting things back where they belong, otherwise your house, especially your kitchen, will "silt up" with mess.

- Fladagal


If you keep finding yourself on Facebook or reddit (like me when trying to do my online college course) download something like "cold turkey" to block distracting sites during certain time frames. I have 10-15min breaks in my schedule to get some down time, but other than that don't touch social media when I'm supposed to be working. Helped my productivity level a ton!


Bedroom Blues

Don't work from your bedroom. It is meant for sleep not work. You may get tired if you try to work from there.

- musichead2468

A Trial Run

I work from home most of the year.

GET UP AND BE GRATEFUL! Wear comfortable clothes and be productive.

This may just be the trial run for tele-work that many people have been hoping for, so shine! Lots of companies have been resistant to it and now have no choice, maybe it could be the norm.

My tips:

-Set-up a desk-like area, use the same travel mug you normally do!

-Don't turn on the TV and don't work in bed!

-Take breaks and take a lunch.

-If you have pets, enjoy your time with them, this is a perk. It will make you want to work harder to preserve this.

-Keep a log of the tasks that you are getting done, at first managers are more vigilant to be sure that you are working and not slacking. Once you prove that you are working, they tend to back off.

-Stop working at the same time you normally do, don't get sucked in to working late.

-Go outside and take a walk - get some exercise so that you don't get sick of your home.

- birdvery

Communication And Availability

Be online.

Be available over whatever IM your company uses. Communicate with your co-workers at least as much as you do in the office. Write brief status reports even if nobody is asking for them.

Communication and availability are important to maintain because this is what is most at risk when people aren't in a shared environment.

Status reports are useful to help you maintain focus, but also can help your manager keep track of what's going on with people. If you have daily stand ups, then this isn't necessary. Your managers are going to get asked about how the team is doing in this new environment; give her tools to effectively answer those questions. The best updates are short and frequent; daily and brief, not an essay once a week.

- sxan

You've Left Work

Start your day exactly the same as of you were going in to work. Get up at the same time, shower, shave, put on real clothes, and eat your usual breakfast. Then 'go' to work and have the same tea and lunch break you usually would. And when the work day finishes, do NOT check your work email or answer work calls. You've left work, you're home now.

- LilMaece

Lifehacks, if applied properly, can really change the course of a single household chore.

Chores can really be such a pain to take care of, and nobody wants to do it. But with a little life hack under your belt, you might be able to turn chore time into something a little fun.

u/rat-avec-london asked:

What is a lifehack that seems fake, but is a true lifesaver?

Here were some of those answers.

My Finger, The Glass

If your ring gets stuck on your finger windex will slide it right off. Worked at a jewelry store for five plus years.


You can also use any oil (cooking, automotive... anything).

You can also reduce the size of your hand (and finger) by holding it up in the air. Chilling your hand in cold water THEN holding it up in the air for a couple minutes whilst rubbing oil &/or dishwashing fluids in there... trifecta of ring removal.

Should work on anyone that just stole Sauron's prize - though biting it off also works, i suppose.


Multiple Uses

Use shaving cream as anti-fog. I used it on the inside of my motorcycle visor. Smear it on, let it dry, then rinse off and dry. It also works for bathroom mirrors. You can use it on a small spot so you can still see when you get out of the shower.


Shaving cream also removes the smell of urine. If you ever have to take care of someone who is old and/or sick and who wets the bed, a little shaving cream on a rag wiped over their buttocks after they are thoroughly cleaned up helps them really smell clean again.

It's a bit of a sad tip, I know, but you never know when you might end up caring for someone who needs help with things like this. Nobody wants to smell. A dab of shaving cream to restore a bit of dignity? Priceless.


Pretty Important For Stage Actors

Every male should know this. If you want to get rid of an awkward boner flex any muscle in your body maybe an arm. For a minute. The blood will rush to that muscle and away from your penis. Crisis averted.


These life hacks really don't seem real at all, but if you can swear by them, they can save your life.

Obligatory Poop Hack

I saw a comment on one of these kinda threads that recommended gently rocking back and forth while pooping. I've never had any problems in the bathroom, but I happened to be sitting on the toilet when I read the comment so I decided to give it a test drive. I was pleasantly surprised at how quick and effortless the whole experience was and I haven't gone back to my old stationary technique since. As a bonus, #1 and #2 now require the same amount of time in the bathroom!


It's The Alcohol

If you have funky armpits and need to fix them fast, use hand sanitiser. I figured this out years ago when I remembered that the smell comes from bacteria reactions - which antibacterial hand gel kills stone dead. Instant results and the medical smell lasts only a minute. Don't do this routinely though as it's delicate skin.


But Hopefully It's Just A Playing Puppy

True lifesaver: if you are ever attacked by a dog, push your forearm INTO the bite. This pries the jaws apart and prevents them from clamping down. If a dog is attacking you, the best thing you can do is offer your forearm, push as far back as possible, and then grab the dog by the scruff of its neck with your other hand to hold it. The dog is now functionally muzzled and you have control of its head. The sooner and harder you push into the bite, the less damage the bite will do.


Get It Off Anything

That rubbing alcohol removes chewing gum.

I'd go through a 20 layer deep marketing funnel to get to that tip because it really does work.

Also wow! Thank you for all of the awards nice Redditors. I completely forgot I left this comment and came back and my notifications had blown up.


And previously impossible situations will give way at long last.

Sayonara Capsaicin

Rubbing vegetable oil (or any cooking oil) on your hands after you cut up jalapeños or other hot peppers. It gets rid of the awfulness that would normally be left on your hands from the peppers. I rub my hands with oil and then wash it off with dish soap. I can totally remove my contacts after doing this. It's crazy how well this works.


Crying Crying

Put your onion in the freezer for 10 minutes before chopping it. It freezes the juices just enough to slow down the process of it turning in to a gas, giving you a few minutes to chop the onion without tears. I learnt this tip from a kid's science show years ago and I haven't had to deal with onion tears since. So many people don't believe me, and then are genuinely surprised when it works.


Just A Quick Little Base

The cheapest, most effective, and safest insecticide against roaches (especially those huge "water bug" roaches that we have in the South) is a spray bottle of mostly water with just a little liquid dish soap in it.

Shake the bottle & get the water a little foamy, then spray the roaches. They will run, scrabble, and attempt escape, of course, but they will die. The soap film suffocates them faster than any chemicals will.

A friend told me about this, & I thought she was nuts, but I tried it & it works amazingly well. Plus it's very easy to clean up and safe around food (not that you want to spray soapy water ON your food).


Incorporating any of these lifehacks into your home may make a big difference. You'll never want to turn back.

Or you will, whatever. But they're worth a try!

Image by Olya Adamovich from Pixabay

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