Working from home has several benefits. You have more flexibility when creating your schedule, you don’t have to worry about commuting and you have a better work/life balance.
Of course, it’s not always that easy. I’ve only just started working from home full time and I’m still getting used to it. It’s been great to have that added flexibility and be able to work from pretty much anywhere, but it also has its downsides. You have to be able to motivate yourself to do work and not get too distracted, which is easier said than done.
If you’re looking for ways to get more done while earning from home, here are some tips that I hope will help you as much as they’ve helped me.
Create a comfortable home office
The tricky part about working from home is getting into the right mind-set. You are so used to viewing your home as a place where you can relax and just spend time with family, that it takes some time to think of it as a place for work.
The first step is creating a comfortable space to work from. You need to define your office space and set aside a place exclusively for work. Try and find a quiet area where you are less likely to get distracted and think of it as a work-only space. Turn off the distractions and make sure the place is comfortable, as you need to get used to spending several hours there.
When I started working from home, people kept saying how jealous they were that I got to sit at home in my pyjamas all day. While I no longer worry about being “business appropriate” I have found that it helps if I don’t just sit and do work in my PJ’s.
In order to get in the right frame of mind to work, it’s important to keep to a regular routine. That means getting up at a reasonable time, getting showered and dressed, just as if you were going in to an actual office. It helps make your home office feel more like a real office and serves as a reminder that you are at work, not just at home.
Finding the motivation to work is difficult enough without bringing in outside distractions. Friends and family often don’t realise how disruptive their visits can be, so it’s important to set clear boundaries. Ask them to phone up before dropping by and make your office hours clear.
I’ve had people asking me to help with everything from babysitting to chores, errands and even dog sitting. While I am happy to help out, I do work full time so face the same time constraints as everyone else. Don’t be afraid to say no, it takes time for people to get used to the idea that you do actually have work to do, even if you are working from home.
Work to deadlines
One of the best motivators is working to a deadline. If you know you have to get something done by a specific time it will help you to remain focused. I bought a diary and set myself goals for every day and every week. This helped me to prioritise my tasks and focus on a target.
It also helps to use a project management app such as Basecamp or Asana. These are particularly useful if you work with others or have several projects on the go. You can set yourself deadlines and receive reminder emails before tasks are due in. It’s great if you have a lot of different things to do and need a little help to keep things organized.
Give yourself a schedule
One of the best things about working from home is that you can work to your own schedule. That means that if you have an errand to run or have a dentist appointment, you don’t need to worry about asking for time off. However, it helps if you have some sort of structure to your day.
Without a proper structure, you can easily hurt your productivity. Try and keep to a relatively consistent work schedule and don’t forget to give yourself breaks. Taking regular breaks stops you from getting bored and losing focus, while giving you a chance to re-evaluate your goals.
When you work from home it’s easy to get comfortable and forget about taking care of yourself. There have been days when I’ve had to remind myself to go outside and get some fresh air after getting so wrapped up in work. Just as you would with an office job, you should try and plan your meals beforehand and have healthy snacks prepared.
Avoid bad work habits by making sure you get plenty of fluids and get up every once in a while to move around. Lately, I’ve been starting work early and scheduling in an exercise break at lunchtime. I found it’s been great for giving me an energy boost for the afternoon and it helps to break up the day.
Working from home is great, but it’s important to stay motivated in order to get some work done and survive the home office setting. Giving yourself an office space, working to deadlines and having a routine helps you to stay focused and be more productive.
What tips do you have for working from home?