If you work from home, you aren’t alone; more and more people each year are freeing themselves from the stresses of traditional employment and are choosing to become their own boss. While most enjoy the idea of working from home, in practice it can be difficult. It is hard to be as diligent about your job when you have so many other distractions around you. Still, you can get the job done with a few simple tips to increase your productivity.
First, determine when and for how long you will be working each day. If you have a structure to work within, you are much more likely to be productive and do what you need to do. Remember, however, that you don’t have to stick with the traditional hours of 9-5. If starting and ending later works better for you, do that. Conversely, if you are an early riser, get things done in the morning and end in the afternoon. The key is to simply keep the same schedule each day so that you get in the habit of working during particular hours.
Set up an office. Sitting on the couch trying to get your work done is not going to be effective. While having a dedicated room for your office is obviously best, if this is not possible, carve out a little area of an existing room and add a desk, computer, phone and anything else that you might need. Try to find a space that has a door you can close; particularly if you have a family, you may need to shut yourself off from the noise and general excitement of the household while you are working. Also, get yourself in the working mindset by making sure you get dressed each day. If you lounge around in your pajamas, you won’t feel as much like a working professional and are unlikely to act like one.
Talk to your family about the change in your situation. It is easy for them to refrain from asking you questions and getting your opinion when you are away at an office. But when you work from home, they suddenly have easy access to you, and many family members have a hard time respecting your work area. Talk about the hours you will be working and reinforce that you can’t be disturbed unless it is an emergency (and clearly define what an emergency is). Add a visual as well to remind everyone that you are working. Put a sign on your door, with a red side that says “Working” and a green side that says “Available.” Even young children will know the difference between red and green if you talk to them about it.
Working from home has a number of advantages, including the flexibility to choose your own hours and the ability to save money on a workday commute. However, there are negatives associated with it as well, the primary one being a lack of productivity. The tips shared in this article should help you set up a routine that works well for you.