Working from home has become far more common these days than it would have been even a decade ago, with an increase in those working as freelancers, telecommuting or simply working for themselves. But whilst working from home can sound like a tempting option, it can be extremely easy to fall into a routine of general procrastination and television watching.
There are ways of making working from home work for you however. In this post, I hope to show a few methods you can use to make sure you’re staying productive, proactive and just as importantly, stay sane.
One of the most important things you should do is to properly define your workspace and separate it as much as you can from your personal space. So don’t work lying in bed or sitting with your laptop on the couch. If you feel like you’re at home, you’ll begin to act like it. You need to be constantly reminded that you’re at work, and the best way to do this is to have a room (or at least a defined area) that once you’re in, you’re in work mode.
This also gives you a way to remove yourself from work at the end of the day. Often people who work from home find it difficult to be living in the same place they work, but if you can properly define your boundaries, you stand a much better chance of avoiding this problem.
You should also set yourself regular working hours, which you should absolutely stick to. It may sound strange to some people, as one of the lures of working from home is that you have much more flexible hours. But you’ll find that if you don’t have set working hours every day, the amount of work you complete during a given working day will gradually start decreasing. You’ll find that you’re starting later each day and finishing earlier, or taking whole days off here and there. If you can stick to the hours your set for yourself, you’ll find you become much more productive. You’ll also feel better about stopping at the end of the day and just relaxing, strengthening your separation of work and personal life. You shouldn’t go back to work in the evening if something comes to you outside of working hours. Instead, make a note and deal with it in the morning.
You should also keep timesheets, either every day or at least at the end of each week. Timesheets will not only help keep you to the hours you’ve set, but will also allow you to look objectively at how you’re spending your time. This will give you a much better chance of spending your time productively and will help you eliminate wasted time.
You’ll probably hear this one a lot, but that’s only because it’s genuinely good advice. Don’t just roll out of bed and start working in your pajamas. You should start the day as you would if you were travelling to your <a href=http://www.easyoffices.com>office space</a> to work; get up, have breakfast, shower and get dressed for work. That way you’ll be much more in a suitable frame of mind for a working day.
Try and make an effort to keep your workspace tidy, clean and free of clutter. You’re far more likely to have a productive day if you’re not constantly distracted or wasting time trying to find something in amongst all the clutter.
To do lists are invaluable and one of my primary recommendations. Keep a list near you at all times with everything that needs to be completed. When you complete a task, you can cross it off your list. The process of crossing things off can become addictive, as you know if your pad has lots of crossed off items, you’ve had a productive day. Between this and the timesheets, you’ll be able to see exactly what you’re doing and, just as importantly, what you’re not doing.
It sounds obvious, but you should make sure you’re comfortable when working. Get a good chair that doesn’t leave you feeling uncomfortable at the end of the day. It might be worth spending some money on an executive, ergonomic chair that will keep your properly postured while you’re working.
I would also suggest it’s important to allow yourself breaks, as this gives you a chance to rest your eyes, get some fresh air and digest what you’ve been doing. Just make sure your breaks are only around 10-15 minutes long and they don’t start to get longer or include watching tv, napping, etc.
You should try and drink more water throughout the day too, as this can make a huge difference when it comes to your productivity, mood and general health. Aim to drink at least a few pints of water every day and you should start noticing a difference in a reasonably short period of time.
Lastly, you should constantly measure your work by results, even if they’re purely financial. Go over your accounts regularly and know how much money you’re making (or otherwise). It can be an incredible motivational tool when you’re acutely aware that three hours off costs you a certain amount of money. Set targets for yourself and once you’ve hit them, set new ones. Being results driven like this will make sure you don’t lack motivation when trying to work.
The most important things to make a success of working from home are determination, focus and discipline. With these virtues and a few methods that work for you, you should be able to make it work. Good luck with your business, and if you use a technique to help your productivity that isn’t covered here, please leave a comment and we’ll add it in.
This is a guest post written by John, who spends his working weeks split between working from home and working out of serviced offices Soho. He’s a professional writer and has been working under his own supervision for the last five years.