When you work from home, people automatically think that you have a life of leisure and free time. Actually, it takes a lot of discipline to be able to stay on top of everything. Believe it or not, there are far more distractions and no one to tell you how and when to do your job. But the good news is…you’re in control of your time! There are many more advantages of course such as no commuting, cost savings and increased flexibility. Here are a few things to remember in order to stay productive and work efficiently.
1. Routine: To stay productive, its’ a good idea to set a regular routine. Get up and go to bed around the same time, set business hours, take lunch breaks and don’t forget to get out of your pyjamas. Have a written daily schedule to help you keep on track.
2. Work space: Having a suitable designated work space is very important to be able to get your work done. Keep your work space clean, organised and make sure you have all the right tools close by. Find a spot where you can put your computer and papers so that nobody else will touch it or mess up your space. Using a proper desk and chair is also very important so that you don’t end up with back, neck or shoulder pains. The risks of injuries can be greatly reduced with appropriate work space design, good posture and proper working habits.
3. Respect your time: It’s important not only to put in place regular working hours but also set boundaries for your family to respect while you are working from home. Because you’re home, people often take you for granted and think that you have the time to take social calls, run errands and that you’re not actually doing “real” work. If you make it clear with the people around you and set expectations they will be much more respectful of your time.
4. Phone: Set up a business line so that you can separate your business calls from your personal calls. This will avoid confusion when you answer your phone and prevent the kids from accidently answering your calls. As well, it might be a good idea to let your voice mail pick up your calls and return them at specific times so that you’re not interrupted when doing productive work.
5. Mailing address: For privacy reasons, think about setting up a PO Box mailing address instead of using your home address. Don’t forget that if you’re doing any kind of email marketing campaigns including E-newsletters, you have to divulge your business address to each email recipient to respect the Can Spam laws.
6. Avoid distractions: One thing that I always find distracting when working from home is a messy house. For some people, it might be the television or Facebook. If you find that you can’t focus because the distractions are just too great, include them in your daily routine. Schedule one or two breaks during the day to watch TV or surf the web. Using a timer might be helpful if you find that you’re losing track of time.
7. Get out: It’s easy to feel isolated when working from home. Although the internet and social networks are great, there’s nothing like meeting people in person. This one is always a challenge for me especially in the winter when it’s cold outside but getting out will boost your energy and make you feel a little more like you’re part of the human race.
If you have a hard time managing your time properly check out my previous post ” 10Ways to Manage your Time (including some tools to help you along the way).”
What is your challenge when working from home?