Working from home can be an absolute pleasure and luxury; you can start the day when you want, finish when you like, take the dog for a walk or simply sit and work in your slippers without a soul knowing. Nevertheless, it can also be very distracting; kids playing in the background, dogs barking, washing up calling you from downstairs, husbands wandering in and out asking questions, etc.
So how do you stay focused and productive when working from a home office? Why is it some people seem so capable of working from home? Here are 5 easy to follow tips to help you master working from home…
- Prevent yourself from feeling isolated. Working from home can be very isolating. Make sure you go to regular networking events to meet people and stay stimulated. Loneliness leads to inefficiencies, Facebook checking and procrastination. It might seem an odd point to make but trust me, boredom and solitude lead to idle thinking and demotivation.
- Create a functional workspace. Unless you are a craft business, working from the kitchen table or the downstairs family computer area is not a practical working environment. Make sure to carve out space for your office. You may not have a spare room but you need your working area to be away from the household hustle and bustle to maintain focus; even when the house is empty, sitting in the kitchen means you’ll be doing extra housework and making more cups of tea than ever! Create an inspirational space that you WANT to work at. Get a comfy chair, nice desk, surround yourself with nice pictures and things that motivate you. Your working environment is crucial to creating good working habits and success.
- Set your working hours and stick to them. Being self-employed and working from home has many perks, including working your own, flexible hours. However, it’s extremely easy to push back your start time, finish early or allow yourself to be interrupted. Setting fixed working hours (whatever they might be), will help you and your family adapt to you working at home. Some people prefer to work 9.30am-2.30pm and then again 8.30am-10pm to allow them to drop off and collect the kids from school, have family time and finish those last emails before bed. It’s totally up to you which hours you choose but you must stick to them.
- During your working hours, turn off the house phone, limit your Facebook/social media access & hang a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign up. If you were working in an office/9-5 job you would not be answering the house phone, you would not be able to access your personal social media and your friends, children and husband could not walk in and ask you questions. Explain to your family and friends that your work is just like any other job and you need to be left alone during work hours; setting boundaries is key. Hang a sign on your office door, or even the back of your chair, saying ‘Do Not Disturb’ and be disciplined at sticking to it. Once your day is done, flip it around and turn off the computer, enjoy your home and family life.
- And finally, make a jobs list. Every day before you start work, create an achievable to-do list. This will help keep you focused, driven and on track. If you feel the urge to procrastinate, get distracted or if you simply ‘just don’t feel like it’, your list will help you stay on track. Using lists is common practise in the traditional working environment and should be in the home one…because they work!
Working from home should be a gratifying experience but, just as importantly, it should be an effective one. I’d also suggest getting dressed and putting on your make-up each day, how you look will affect how you feel and ultimately will spur you on through the day.