The 6 essential steps to work effectively from home work-from-home

Matt Stoo
6 min readDec 15, 2020


The 6 essential steps to work effectively from home


Who has never dreamed of working from home, quietly and without constraints?

Working from home is typically the kind of dream that turns into a nightmare… Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a remote worker, the first days of working from home are always complicated…

How do you distinguish between work and rest?

How can we replace the social life that everyone usually has at work?

How can you be effective in the face of all the distractions at home?

The invisible trap that does the most damage…

The most dangerous trap?

Almost nobody thinks about it at first…

It is to work too much…

Because if you don’t work enough, the adventure stops quickly… Your employer orders you to come back to the office, or you go back to a job at the end of your unemployment…

On the other hand, if you work too much, you can go on and on, until you break up, burnout and disappear completely from your social life?

And in fact, it’s natural… On the one hand, when you want to succeed, you don’t count the hours and you’re ready to do a lot…

On the other hand, a psychological effect is quickly established: Parkinson’s law… It states that a task takes all the time allotted to it…

You see the problem?

As you know that you have the whole day ahead of you, the risk of procrastinating is high… And we all know that procrastination is not restful… On the contrary… Besides, to make up for all this lost time, you may find yourself working late at night, under stress and in a hurry…

That’s why the first piece of advice I have to give you is to take time for yourself. You need to have something else to do than work… Whatever; sports, video games, exhibitions, movies, etc.

I can feel your eyes rolling in their sockets and you think I have a fart in my helmet for an efficiency specialist… But I assure you that you’ll see a huge difference in your productivity and work time if you have other things to do.

And even from a totally logical and rational point of view, the argument holds true: by working from home, you save a considerable amount of time: you don’t have to hit the traffic jams and you can eat easily… So you have 2 hours a day more than everyone else, which I advise you to take completely for yourself.

  • Not to work.
  • Not to go shopping.
  • Not to do the housework.

The first 5 steps to avoid working too much (while being sure to do enough and not procrastinate all day long)

Why do you work?

This brings us back to a foundation of efficiency: making sense of what you do. Have you ever seen a child procrastinate to play his favorite game? No, because it makes sense to him and he enjoys it.

Your work needs to be as close to it as possible.

Knowing where you’re going, why, and how you want to get there is very important… I talk about it in almost all my articles.

Personal routines made of concrete

I told you at the beginning: taking care of yourself must be a priority. You are not a slave to people and you deserve to put yourself first.

A crucial point to start your day well, have energy and finish your job more efficiently: the morning routine.

I won’t go into details now, you have the link to a full article just above. But what you have to remember is that a good routine has to be tailor-made… It’s not a copy-paste of some efficiency reference… Everyone is unique and the tools have to adapt to you… Not the other way around.

In addition to the morning routine, I recommend that you stop working at least two hours before going to bed to allow you to take a breather and slow down your internal rhythm before going to sleep.

Finish your work in an hour and a half maximum every day.

If you know your work well enough, you can certainly list actions that are repeated regularly. They are generally the driving force behind your activity: the essential part of your job to help you move forward.

Spot them and make them a routine.

You take the most “profitable” actions that are regularly repeated, then, you agency them in a routine of 1h30 max.

Why do this?

Because the basis for you to stop working calmly at night is to know that you’ve done the right thing. If you’re already convinced 1h30 after the beginning of your day, you’ve done it.

Beware, this is not a “blue flower technique that doesn’t work”… It’s a solid way to accomplish the most important things each day before devoting yourself to less repetitive (and potentially more enjoyable) tasks.

This routine? I call it the minimum mode and it is adopted by all my students who are delighted to be able to work efficiently without worrying for hours…

Change the ultimate goal

You have very little chance of reaching a goal beyond the ones you have set for yourself… So why work 15 hours a day? In any case, the objective remains the same…

If you really want to take advantage of working at home to be more successful, your ultimate goal each week should be to work as little as possible.

With experience, you know what’s important and you know how to estimate the time you need to spend on your tasks. So you can set a weekly goal that you can achieve… And once you’re there, you don’t add to it.

If you work well and your goal is finished by Thursday night… Good for you, you’ve won a 3-day weekend.

You don’t necessarily have to “do nothing at all”, but you can take advantage of it to read and take time for activities that you usually give up in favor of work.

Is your motivation pure?

Are you motivated in the same way as a fifth grader or a factory worker?

This motivation?

It’s called extrinsic motivation… It’s the carrot or the stick. The child who doesn’t work is punished by his parents and the worker is gently pushed towards the exit… The motivation to work is therefore to avoid these sanctions… Or to obtain rewards such as a video game session or a raise.

You know as well as I do, this kind of motivation is very powerful…

But he has a problem…

It is not durable… Once the person has finished their “compulsory work”, they will not be an inch longer…

It also leads to a lot of procrastination… Because deep down, we’re not really happy with what we do.

If you want to have fun and move forward quickly in your work, you may want to use another type of motivation: intrinsic motivation.

Richard Ryan (PhD in Clinical Psychology and professor at the University of Rochester) and his colleagues explain that this motivation makes people who know how to use it happier and more accomplished in their daily lives.

This kind of motivation is the motivation of the child who plays. He doesn’t calculate. The activity is fun in itself.

When I first heard this advice, I thought it would be quite complicated to apply… But not so much thanks to Richard Ryan’s discoveries. The article is already long enough and you have a lot of actions to implement, but if you want to go further, you can read this article on intrinsic motivation which will give you some more keys to use it in your daily life.

The action to start now

Instead of summarizing the article, I would like to give you an action to do now. It is related to the very first step in which I recommended that you do something other than work.

Make a list of all the activities in your daily life that make you happy, and then ask yourself how you could give more space to these activities.

Fun is the center of your motivation and happiness, so take care of it.

Action is the key!

Originally published at