Working from home is a wonderful thing. But let’s face it; it can become very distracting and unorganized if you let it. You might forget that the laundry isn’t done yet, or the dishes still need to be cleaned, or your favorite show is on in 15 minutes and you can just work after that. All these things can lead you off a productive path that can be easy to maintain once you figure out what works for you. Effectively working from home takes a few small steps that you should stick to every working day.
1) Set Your Work Hours
It’s so easy to wake up a little later, watch some TV, check some emails and then see what’s going on with work. This is only going to distract you from starting work and finishing on time. The best way to help set standards is to set yourself work hours. This could mean you work from 9am until 1pm and then start work again at 3pm until 6pm. It doesn’t matter what your hours are, but if you know you have to be back at work, you are more likely to follow your hours and will try and work as efficiently as possible to maybe end your work day a little earlier than expected! Be sure to also “leave” work when you’re done, just because it’s there doesn’t mean you have to focus your life around it.
2) Define and Optimize Your Work Space
Usually sitting on the couch with your computer on your lap doesn’t make you feel like you’re working. It’s very important to create a work space that is only used for working. If you don’t have an office, section off your dinner room or a portion of your bedroom to create a space that is all yours. This creates a business atmosphere and will limit your distractions in the rest of the house. Keeping your “office” organized also helps you be more productive since you know where everything is. Make a to-do list for the day that is continuously updated and ensure that you have great Internet connectivity to stay in communication with your boss and coworkers.
3) Get Human Interaction When You Can
Working from home isolates you from the rest of the world, which can be a hinder to your work progress. Interacting with other people helps expand your brain and clear your thoughts. After a long day you can become stuck on one thought you can’t fix but when you speak with others it helps you clear your mind and focus on multiple things.
4) Take Breaks Often
This seems counterproductive but without breaks our minds cannnot stop thinking clearly and can affect our work. Go for a quick jog, grab lunch outside of the house, call a friend to chat, or simply sit outside and enjoy a coffee for 10 minutes. Relaxing your brain helps to stimulate it and therefore increases your work production.
5) Tell Your Family and Friends to Leave You Alone
If you’re working at home when others are in the house with you, it is important to let them know you do not want to be disturbed. They wouldn’t come into your office and bother you, so why is it ok for them to come into you home office and bother you there? Be sure to let them understand this is your career and when you’re working you are not available for anything else.