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Ten Ways to Stay Productive in Your Home Office

written by: Misty Faucheux•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 7/5/2011

Staying productive is hard, especially in a home office, where there are so many other things vying for you attention. So, you want to stay on task, but exactly how do you do this? Learn ten tips to keep you productive and on task all day.

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    Set Goals and Reward Yourself

    Staying productive in a normal work environment can be hard, but oftentimes this can be doubly the case in the home office. There's housework, spouses, or the TV vying for your attention. So, what can you do stay on task when you're in your mobile/home office? Well, here are ten tips to keep you productive.

    1. Set goals.

    If you're working on a project or multiple projects, give yourself hourly goals. For example, "I want the research and the blog itself done within one hour". It will keep you on task and focused on what you're doing.

    2. Reward and encourage yourself.

    You need to stay positive. It's the only way that you will enjoy what you are doing, which in turn makes you more productive. When you finish a project, congratulate yourself. Tell yourself what a good job that you've done. You need to look forward to your day, or you won't want to do anything. Enjoy your little accomplishments.

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    Be Healthy in Mind and Body

    3. When done with work, be done with work.

    You need to have a healthy lifestyle outside of your work. You do work from home, but your work shouldn't occupy your entire home life. Enjoy spending time with your family; go out with friends. Clear your mind before and after each workday.

    4. Be healthy.

    Exercise is a wonderful mood enhancer. So, eat a healthy diet, and go for that run or walk in the middle of your day or after your work is done. When you feel good, you're more productive.

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    Be Organized and Block Distractions

    5. Be organized.

    You shouldn't be spending each morning trying to find your pens and paper. And, your desk shouldn't look like a tornado just passed over your house. Keep things neat. It will not only make you feel better, but you won't be spending all your time trying to find things.

    6. Block distractions.

    Since you're working from home or from a mobile office, you know that there's a greater chance that you'll be interrupted. If you're working in your home, shut the door or tell your spouse that you're busy. And, if the local coffee shop is where you do most of your work, stay away from crowded areas or just noisy spots.

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    Learn to Stress Less and Schedule Your Time

    7. Stress less.

    As in the immortal song, don't worry; be happy. The less that you stress over your work, the more on top of things you'll become. While stress is a normal reaction to being under deadlines or overwhelmed, the act of stress itself can make you less productive. Do one thing a time, and get done what you can. You can't spend your whole life worrying about one minute thing.

    8. Schedule your time.

    Break your projects into tasks, and then schedule these tasks. Write down what you want to get accomplished and approximately how long that should take. Then allot time to these activities. As you get finished, check that task off the list.

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    Just Say No!

    9. Learn how to say no.

    You have work and home demands. Everybody is trying to get your attention. But, you must learn to say no. You can't do everything. And, by trying to please everyone, you'll more than likely get nothing done. You have to learn to say no to not only your boss, but your spouse, friends and kids.

    You need to keep yourself focused on only the things that you can handle. And, when you're working in your home office, it's your task at hand and not taking care of your neighbor's latest issue that takes precedence.

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    Relax, Don't Do It!

    10. Relax, and take breaks.

    This may be the toughest task of anyone who works from a home office. The work is always there, and your office is only in the next room. But, once you're done for the day, you need to relax and take your mind off of your work. Take a long bath, or go to eat with the family.

    And, during your day, you need to take a couple of 15 minute breaks, plus 30 to 45 minutes for lunch. No eating your lunch while you work. Taking breaks revives you and helps you get through the rest of your day successfully.