The 9-to-5 crowd thinks it’s a dream come true to work from home. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Sure, working at home has its advantages. You have the freedom to wake up whenever you want, dress however you want and set your own work hours. Yet on the other hand, distractions are plentiful when you work at home and it takes real discipline to actually get things done.
When you work from home there’s no boss to stop you from checking your Facebook every 5 minutes. There’s nobody to yell at you for watching daytime television for hours on end. There’s no one to get on your case for having a 2 hour lunch break.
This freedom may sound nice, but when you own your own business it’s a recipe for disaster. Work-at-home freelancers aren’t paid by the hour, they’re paid on commission.
Everyone shares the same 24 hours a day, however it seems that some of us are able to accomplish so much more than others. It’s all about time management, removing distractions and being more efficient with our time.
If you’re finding it difficult to focus at home, follow these 5 tips to maximize your work-at-home productivity.
1. Designate An Exclusive Space For Working
If the living room is where you watch TV and also where you work, then it’s hard to actually work when you’re in that space. Every worker needs his or her own place under the sun. Those who say they can work anywhere are telling a lie. Because even if they can indeed work, their productivity level is sure to go down.
When working at home, investing in a comfortable home office is highly recommended. Treat this room as a real office. That means no television, doors closed and yes that means no unauthorized people allowed.
2. Start The Day With A Schedule
There really isn’t a structure when you work from home. This type of flexibility is dangerous to those who lack discipline. Creating a schedule, or a set of goals for the day, helps provide the structure you need to be productive.
Create a to-do list every day and set out to accomplish each item on the list. Then check each item off your task list as you go along. The pleasure of completing a task will only help motivate you to complete the next item too.
3. Organization Is Key
Clutter will cost you a lot of time. It’s also not good for your mind. Having a messy office doesn’t lend to being disciplined and productive. When you have a neat office space it exudes professionalism and will make you want to stay at the top of your game when you sit down to work.
Organization isn’t just putting the pens in the correct drawer, it applies to your hard drive as well. Organize your work, create folders and sub-folders. Rename items so you can find them again easily. Don’t just save everything on the desktop as Untitled 1, Untitled 2, etc.
4. Eliminate Distractions
Remove anything that can distract you in your home office. If there are things that can veer your attention away from your daily goals then do away with them.
Often times distractions happen right on the very computers we’re using to work. Whether it be a Skype call coming through or a Facebook message or new email, it’s important to stay focused on work. So log out of your personal accounts so you won’t be bombarded with any distractions while you’re “at work”.
One way to do this is to have two accounts on your computer. One for your personal use and one for business use. The business user account only has work related programs while your personal user account can have Spotify, Angry Birds, Gmail and iTunes.
5. Create A Daily Routine
It’s difficult to work all day and night. The more hours you work (or try to) the less productive you will be. True productivity occurs when the mind and body are able to perform at their best.
Set two 15 minute break times and one lunch hour every day. Use your 15-minute breaks to enjoy a cup of coffee or go out to walk your dog. Lunch hours may be spent with your family. Never eat in the office or stay inside for 8+ hours straight. Doing so is not healthy nor will it lead to improved productivity.
If you work from home, how do you manage to stay productive? If you have any tips to share, let us know in the comments section below.