How To Get Things Done No Matter Where You Work

J.R. Heimbigner

Photo by Jess Bailey on Unsplash

Over the last ten years, I have worked in many work environments. When I first started working after college, I worked for a university athletics program. This was about 50% of office work and 50% venue work. It was fun, but I had to have systems set up to get my work done in both locations.

After this job, I worked for a non-profit as an event planner. In this position, I could work from anywhere and typically did. Whether it was in the office, from home on the couch, or in a local coffee shop I could do my job without being anywhere specific.

Then I moved to my current company where I have been for almost six years. It has predominantly been job-based in an office until recently where I can work from home about half the week.

And for most of us, our job locations are primarily in traditional office spaces, home offices, or remote locations. What I have learned working in these locations is how to take advantage of each location to be productive at my job.

And so, I wanted to share how I have done this along with the pros and cons of each location in an effort to help you find productivity success no matter where you work.

Traditional Office — Cubicle Land

Until working for my current company, I had thought an open floor plan with cubicles as far as the eye could see were only made for the movies. I was wrong. In this workspace, we are tethered to these small territories in the middle of a large room with dozens of others around us.

I remember the first couple of weeks were hard to get used to hearing what everyone was saying and listening to whatever they were doing in their cubicles. But after a while, I got used to it and I’m sure I do weird things too.

There are some great things about working in a traditional office space. We are provided space to work which is set up for us. All our resources are at our fingertips with a well-stocked supply room and there is a built-in community in the office.

Some of the difficult things to these workspaces come in the form of restrictions on what we can and cannot have in our cubicle, being easily distracted by people watching or being watched, and the easy access for anyone to walk up and chat with you.

These can make it difficult to work within this space.

Three Things to Improve Cubicle Land

What I have found about working within this space are a few key things to help me be productive. Especially, if you have no other options and you must be at work in your cubicle, these will help you with your day.

Decorate Your Cubicle. Yes, I am one of the people who keep things in my cubicle which are not work-related. However, I have found that as long as you have one thing which is yours in your cubicle which brings joy or helps bring peace to your day, it is a must-have.

Personalize Your Cubicle. Keep quotes to motivate you, pictures of your kids, and a few simple things which are representations of who you are in your cubicle at work. This way it becomes more “your” space to work within.

Face Away from the Opening. I also make sure I am set up to be facing away from the opening to my cubicle. This way I can focus on the work I need to do.

When we work in cubicle land, we need to take full advantage of the things we can control and make sure our space is a symbol of who we are. This helps people get to know you and it helps you feel comfortable within this space.

Home Office: No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problems

Some would call those who work from home the “pajama workers.” And it is true, you don’t have to get dressed for work when you work from home.

Though I suggest it, more on this later. I love working from home and there are a lot of fun benefits to it. There are also some drawbacks, but it is worth it to me.

This is why working from is a true preference working situation. I know plenty of people who dislike working from home and absolutely refuse to work in this situation. Which is fine. That is part of understanding what makes you most productive.

I have found a lot of pros to working from home, probably because this is my ideal situation. Working from home removes your commute. At one time, I would drive 45 to 60 minutes one way to work. Working from home gives me this time back.

Some other pros to working from home are how it is your space, you are close to your family, and you never feel like someone is watching you. Other than pets and children sneaking into your workspace.

Cons for this workspace are how resources and office supplies must be self-filled. You have to bring them home from the office or pick them up at an office supply store yourself.

There are typically a lot of personal distractions and some people feel like they don’t get out much when they work from home too.

Three Work From Home Tips

If this is your work situation, there are a few things I have learned about working from home. They come in the form of where you work and how you work at home.

The Designated Work Space. It is important to have a designated workspace. An office or den helps, but if you don’t have those spaces, make sure you are set up in your bedroom.

Especially if you have a family. Our small children don’t always understand why we cannot play so sometimes it is best to be “away,” just not too far.

Set Up Your Space to be Productive. It is important to set the room up to your preference. One of the most difficult things is when your dedicated workspace doesn’t really help you be productive because supplies are in a hall closet or something.

Prepare for Work. Treat your work from home as if you are going to work. Get up and do your normal routine. Take a shower and actually get dressed.

I find when I am wearing my pajamas and trying to work throughout the day, all I want to do is go back to bed. This is now overly helpful when we want to be productive at home.

Working from home is my ideal situation, and while it might be something you want to do, you need to prepare yourself for the distractions and the challenges it brings to your productivity.

Working Remotely: Blowing in the Wind

In this situation, your office is where you are at any given time. Sometimes it is your car. Other times it is your local coffee shop. And sometimes it is smack dab in the middle of some venue for an event. For me, this is probably the most difficult workspace.

And while I did it for years, I learned I had to bring with me a lot of stuff to make sure I had everything I needed at any given time. Now, if you are a salesman and drive to a lot of sales meetings, this may be easier to keep things in your car.

Or some of our companies are 100% digital so it is all stored in the cloud. However, if you need a lot of physical things, it will be much more difficult.

One good thing about working in this situation is you are free to move about your area. You aren’t constrained to a single location. And it may help you feel like you are getting your best work done too.

If you are a person who likes change, this is definitely the spot for you. Especially because you are in charge of where you work.

The challenge for this workspace is how you are always on the go, carrying everything you need with you. You may also have to pay for your workspace. Sure some folks will go to a coffee shop and not buy coffee, but I think it is a common courtesy to do so.

And then there is an entire issue of transition. Getting to where you need to be. Making sure you are all set up. Being in a place where you can go to the restroom if you need and your computer won’t grow legs and walk away. And of course, there is the transition to pack up and go home.

The key to working remotely is to have some good routines. These will help make the transitions easier and help you be able to get to work and quit work more efficiently.

Also, something I remember being helpful is being a “local” at a few places. This way the staff of wherever you work will watch out for your stuff if you need to use the restroom or step outside to make a call.

And you can get discounted coffee or whatever else.

Where do you work?

In all of these locations, there are some definite pros and cons. However, to work well within whatever environment you work in, you need to make sure you tailor it to the work you are doing and what makes you most comfortable.

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My goal with my writing is to help people get everything done they want in their very busy lives. I believe we can we all can achieve our dreams and I know it starts with having the right mindset, systems, and taking action every single day. My writing shares how to do this through self-improvement, inspiration, and productivity.

Spokane, WA

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