Whether your job allows you to work from home once in awhile or you have your own business and work from home all the time, distractions can really deter your productivity when you work in the same place where you sleep and relax. Here are a few tips for staying on track that I’ve learned over the past couple years of working from home.
Have a Plan
Before the day even starts, you should have a detailed to-do list. Break down each task into smaller jobs that are easily accomplished. Get an early start on any tasks that take longer than normal, and then work down to the easier stuff. Once you start crossing things off your list, you won’t be able to stop.
Since you can be a little flexible when working from home, it’s important to know when you’re most productive and when you should take breaks. For instance, I know I’m a morning person and I get really tired in the afternoon. So when I wake up I get to work first thing, but then allow myself some time to relax around 2pm. After that, I get a second wind and can continue working for several more hours. But without that break, I’m basically a slug for the remainder of the day. So when you’re in charge of your own schedule, it’s important that you work when you’ll actually be able to get some work done.
Find Your Space
In your home, there are places to sleep, places to eat, and places to relax. Your workspace should not be the same as any of these other places. Even if you have to work at your kitchen tables due to lack of space, change it up enough so that it feels like a workspace rather than the place where you eat. By the same token, you should dress like you’re going to work rather than going to sleep. Wearing sweatpants can make it a little too tempting to nap all day.
When there’s no one around to keep you on track, you have to do it yourself. It’s way too easy to get caught up in a new TV show or checking social media. Have set times where you do things like tweet or answer emails so you don’t accidentally spend all day doing those things. And while it might be okay to watch TV or listen to music while you work, make sure you’re not doing something that will completely distract you from your work. I like to watch shows that I’ve already seen at least once so they don’t take all of my concentration. Make sure whatever you do during the day keeps you motivated instead of distracted.
When you’re working to accomplish large tasks, it can be hard to stay motivated if there’s no one around to keep you on track. Letting yourself take a break or even buying yourself a little something once you’ve completed something big can help to keep you focused on accomplishing your goals. Just stick to your plan and make sure you don’t reward yourself without actually finishing what you set out to do.
There are so many ways to get distracted or off track when working from home, but with a set plan and a little motivation, it can be a really great way to work. Do any of you work from home often? Do you have any other tips that I didn’t cover in this post?