June 2, 2009 by Tamara Rice

Welcome to Work From Home Tuesday. At oDesk headquarters in Menlo Park, California, every Tuesday is a WFHT.   So what better way to celebrate remote working than discussing some ways to do it well?


Please stop fiddling around with your computer themes when you’re supposed to be working.

So you think a pink camouflage home page theme will be “an improvement in your work environment” resulting in higher productivity for the day? We both know what’s really going on here: procrastination. What’s worse, if your boss is watching your screen shots and sees your wallpaper change suddenly from Frodo Baggins to Angelina Jolie … he knows it too.


Checking your Facebook account before starting your work day? Blatant procrastination, I say.

For those who actually work on Facebook, this may not apply. For the rest of us–who joined FB solely for the jollies of seeing how much weight our college roommate has gained and what our cousin’s girlfriend had for dinner last night–going to Facebook immediately prior to working is a terrible idea. It has led to needless IQ Tests, uncalled-for FB stalking, really lame status updates and senseless political arguments on other people’s walls. Trust me on this one:  FB will still be there when you have finished work for the day.


When possible, do the projects you dread first, then reward yourself with the fun ones.

Some projects are almost effortless. Others, feel physically painful to work on, they are so unappealing. “So, I’ll just get the easy stuff out of the way first,” we tell ourselves.  But do yourself a big favor and get to the hard stuff first. Putting things off will not only put you behind schedule, it will increase your dread as the project will seem more insurmountable with every passing day that you don’t work on it. Don’t use the great projects as excuses, use them as motivation!

WFHT Recommended Reading
“How to Stop Procrastinating” from Pace Productivity
“6 Reasons You Are Procrastinating” from  Stepcase Lifehack
“Stop Procrastinating Right Now!” from  GH Work/Life Balance
“How to Avoid Procrastination as a Freelancer” from Freelance Folder
“Beat Procrastination and Meet Your Deadlines” from Freelance Write at About.com

tamaraforodesksmallerMuch like a divorced marriage counselor, my ability to dish out advice is not an indicator of my ability to implement it. However, having worked from home for over a decade, I’ve learned what works and what just creates more work. – Tamara

Tamara Rice

Freelance Writer and Editor

Tamara Rice is one of several freelance writers on the oDesk Blog team. She joined the oDesk marketplace in 2009, after more than six years on staff at an award-winning national magazine.

  • Tamara

    It is quite interesting. I think the beauty of working from home is that you can work in a way/time that suits you best. For some, nights are productive, others morning–others it doesn’t matter and can be different every day, like you, Mahmud.

    As much as I need to start the day working in order to be productive, there are some nights when I really get cracking once my kiddos go to bed.

    Some day for another WFHT post: Friends and family who don’t get that we really are working! lol

  • http://blog.thinkdiff.net Mahmud Ahsan

    morning or night isn’t factor for me, i schedule my time as my personal choice, and work attentively during that time, for other time i enjoy :)

  • Sherry Nichols

    In addition to that great advice, it is important to set a routine when working from home. Setting business hours will encourage you to “go to work” and establishing a routine with your repeating tasks, such as checking email, voicemail, updated documents, etc will lead to better organization.

    Don’t forget to take breaks and lunch. The closer you can come to a traditional bricks and mortar replication from your home office the more likely you are to succeed in getting projects done.

  • Tamara

    You are so right, John. I think it’s especially important to get right to work in the morning–and get to the hard stuff first, as you said. I really notice a difference on the days I do this. If the day starts with an errand to the store or a phone call to a friend … I’m toast.

  • http://www.WritingCollegeTextbookSupplements.com John Soares

    I think it’s especially important to the difficult tasks first thing in the morning. I find that when I have a productive morning, the rest of my day goes very well.