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Elements of Effective Productivity

written by: Amy Carson•edited by: Ronda Bowen•updated: 7/22/2010

Being productive is one of the biggest challenges of the home office worker. Learn in this article how to reduce distractions, get organized, manage your time, and other elements of effective productivity. Your productivity will improve in no time!

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    Getting things done in a home office environment can be challenging: family members interrupting, non-work phone calls, computer distractions, and awkward office setups make productivity a constant effort. There are solutions, though, and this article will give them. Learn elements of effective productivity for the home office worker like getting organized, time management, dealing with family and other interruptions, getting down to business, and ergonomics.

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    Family OUT!

    The biggest distraction in the home office is often family obligations. You don't want to sequester yourself from your family 24/7, but unplanned interruptions harm your productivity. Ask yourself how accessible you can afford to be to friends and family. Ideally, these are the steps you want to take:

    • Set hours where family and friends aren't allowed to intrude.
    • Delineate the home office from the rest of the house, whether it's in a spare room or just an area partitioned from within a room that everyone is clear is off limits.
    • The area you consider to be "my office" shouldn't be shared in any way for another use. It's your office, and your office only.

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    Get Organized

    Space is at a premium in the home office, so being productive and effective hinges on organizational skills. Keep office supplies, such as printer paper, envelopes, and other items together in one designated area. You don't want them migrating out of your office and into the rest of the house!

    Additionally, keep your workspace, however large or small it may be, neat. It doesn't have to be spotless while working, but keep on top of clutter. The easiest way to keep your workspace neat is at the end of each workday. At that time, clean off your desk or work space and prepare for the next day: list calls to be made, appointments you have, etc.

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    Manage Your Time

    Time in the home office may be limited, so make the most of it. Many of the tips already mentioned are critical to time management; reducing distractions and keeping organized free up more time for you to work productively.

    What do you do when you have a large task or project? The best way to tackle big or complex jobs is to break them down into small, achievable action steps or mini-goals. Schedule your day with these mini-goals in order to effectively and effortlessly make inroads on the big project.

    Schedule work breaks ahead of time. It's easier to concentrate and push that little bit more if you know you've got a break in 30 minutes than if you've decided you have to work all night without a break.

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    Eliminate Computer Distractions

    Limit or schedule time for email, social networking, instant messaging, and Internet forums. Quit out of or hide any programs you don't need for the work you're doing.

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    Make Your Space Comfortable

    Improve the ergonomics in your home office setup by trying these tips:

    • For lighting, get natural light in your home office as much as possible. When artificial lighting is needed, seek out "daylight spectrum" or bluer CFLs. They don't flicker like old-fashioned fluorescents, and emit a pleasant and refreshing daylike glow.
    • If sounds are distracting, consider soundproofing
    • Invest in a comfortable chair. it doesn't have to be fancy or expensive

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    Get the most out of your time working in the home office with these elements of effective productivity. Putting these tips into practice will result in a happier balance between work and home life as well as letting you get more work done. Let us know how these tips work for you!