Working from home can be a blessing but also a curse. It really depends on what kind of a person you are. Do you need structure? Or are you the type of person who can create balance on your own? This day in age, there are so many tools that can help you stay in touch making it possible to work really.. from anywhere. And while saving on commute time and gas money can be a pretty appealing reason to work from home, it can be hard to be as productive when you are not in an office. Since I mainly work from home, here are a few of my tips to gear you up for success!
1. Set up a designated work space. Having a space that you and your family know is just for working really helps in staying focused on the tasks at hand. This does not mean your bed or your sofa. This can be a whole room, a converted closet (we did that in my house) or even just a desk somewhere in your home. If everyone knows that is your “office”, they will respect your space and your time more when you are working. And if at all possible, have your desk face a window.
2. Put yourself on a schedule. Wake up every morning at the same time. From there, create a schedule for yourself in much the same way a secretary would for you by blocking out specific times to do things. For example: From 9am-1oam check and respond to emails. From 10am-11am return phone calls. From 11am to 11:30am make a Staples run. From 11:30am to 12:30pm lunch. You get the idea. Also, just as you give yourself a start time, give yourself a stop time. Otherwise you will be working around the clock.
3. Include breaks in that schedule. It’s important to take time for yourself throughout the day. I take a 30 min break and walk the dogs. Or I schedule a gym class. Taking some time away from your tasks clears your head and increases creativity!
4. Resist the urge to turn on the TV. I have trouble with this one and you might too. But, if you must turn on the TV make sure it’s on something like the news and not Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. (guilty)
5. Get dressed. It is so much easier to stay in your PJs all day when working from home. Why bother right? No one sees you except maybe the mail man. Well, it turns out that productivity increase by a ton if you actually spend the time to get dressed each morning as if you were going into an office. Besides, don’t you just feel better about yourself with a little make up on!?
6. Don’t become a hermit. Schedule meetings outside of the home. Go to networking events. Heck, even sykpe with your clients when you can. Isolating yourself when you are working from home can happen without you even noticing it. So be extra aware that you are still interacting with your colleagues and clients.
7. Make a to-do list. Writing out a list each day of the things that you want to accomplish really helps you stay focused. Not to mention, how fun and gratifying it is every time you get to cross something off the list.
8. Clean up. Don’t let your home or your home office be messy. Nothing stifles creativity or productivity more than working in a mess. Notice that the dishes need to be done? Take a 15 minute break and do them. Is the laundry piling up? Throw in a load right before you get on that call. Small steps towards organization and tidiness can make a big difference.
9. Exercise. It has been proven that working from home reduces the number of calories you burn in a day. It makes sense. Walking to your desk in the other room is considerable less steps than walking to the car, to your office building, up the stairs, and then finally to your office. To combat this, make time to exercise daily. Even if it is a short walk or a quick gym class. Not only is is good for the body, it’s great for the mind!
10. Enjoy it! It’s supposed to be a pleasure remember! So let it be.