Not Feeling Productive?
With the state of the economy today, many people have decided to go with that dream of being their own boss and starting that business they’ve always wanted. Losing your focus at home is much more detrimental than losing focus at an actual employed environment. There are so many things in which you may want to just to lay down on the couch or the bed, thus missing important things that need to have gotten done.
Here’s a quick list on how to keep up your spirits and your productivity while working from home.
1. Set Office Hours
The first thing that you should do within your home office is to set office hours. That may seem like an odd thing to do, especially if working from home, but it’s because you’re working from home that you need to set this up. Set the time that you will start work, the time in which you’ll go to lunch, and the time in which you will stop working. Make sure to follow this and not get caught working during lunch or on an off day.
2. Get Dressed for Work
The idea of getting up and working in your pajamas is a tempting one and there may be some days in which this works for you, but overall, you should really get dressed for work like you were going to an actual office. Because…well, you are! Dress attire is of course up to you; if you think you’ll get into working by wearing a suit and tie, then do so. If you want a casual business attire, do that too, as long as most days, you’re showered, dressed, and ready to work.
3. Set Up the Office
This idea is another important one. While setting office hours and getting dressed for work does go towards making sure you’re ready for the work day, setting up your office is equally important. This is also probably the more tricky of the list, as this set up depends on how your house is set up.
The important thing is to designate an area that you can be in for eight hours a day with no or minimal distractions. The best place is an area where you can get fresh air and sunlight from a window and is well ventilated. It should be sectioned off from the main portions of the house, like a garage or spare bedroom. If a spare bedroom, make sure there’s no bed in it - that will just make you want to take naps all day long. If living with others, make sure they know this is the office and you should only be disturbed for something important.
4. Take Breaks
No one should work for eight straight hours within the office. Just as you would take short breaks or a lunch break at a regular office, a home office should be no different. Get up and walk around, especially if you’ve been working hard all day. This is especially true if you live alone. Try and take a break every two hours, even if it’s just standing and walking around; do some stretches, get something to drink. A break, of course, in no way means you should go and chill in front of the TV for several hours. If you do need some visual stimulation, watch TV while you eat lunch, but make sure to turn it off before going back to work.
5. Get Organized
The best way to boost your productivity is to make sure that you have an organized area and schedule. Keep your desktop/work area clear of non essential things and keep it tidy. Keep a small drawer or work designated box near or under the desk for work related items. If keeping a schedule helps you, get a planner or keep a calendar or tasks on your computer. If you own a smartphone, you should be able to sync your calendar from your computer to your phone and vice versa, ensuring you have multiple means of tracking any events you have due for the day.
Continue on to the next page for more tips on how to boost your productivity when working from a home office.
Productivity Boosting Tips (continued)
6. Keep Distractions at a Minimum
There’s no way you can avoid distractions, especially at home. Things will pop up either within the home or on the outside in which your attention will be divided. If working in a house with other people, let them know your office hours and ask that they only disturb you for important issues, like a repair or to ask quick questions. Make sure they know that you are working and can’t be disturbed for idle conversation. If you have neighbors that come by, also let them know your office hours. Try to keep any conversation to a small amount of time and then politely excusing yourself.
7. Quiet/Background Noise Environment
Some people like to work in a completely quiet environment and some people work better with background noise. Make sure you set up your office in the environment you enjoy the most. If you like working in a quiet environment, make sure your office is set in a quiet area where you won’t be disturbed. If you work better with background noise (like me), make sure it’s kept at a low volume and you won’t get distracted by it. Don’t listen to music if you know you’ll do more singing than working and certainly don’t turn on the TV if you’ll more watching than working.
8. Eat Your Meals
You would think making sure to get your three daily meals would be easier at home than at an actual office. Truth is, just like working for an employer, you may get into the groove of work and then end up skipping one meal or even more by working hard on a project. Take an hour or two before you start your day to eat breakfast - the most important meal of the day - and drink your coffee. Always take your half hour or hour lunch at your designated lunch time and don’t take any calls that may come in during those times. Do call any missed callers back once you have finished.
9. Get Out of the House
You may think working from home literally means working from home. However, with the use of remote desktop and other remote services, you can work from anywhere. This is a good idea actually. Sometimes, a level of cabin fever might set in, getting out of the house, even for a few hours is good to get the creative juices going and can break the level of monotony. Grab a cup of coffee at the local coffee shop or go out to a park to work.
10. Keep Positive
In any type of work, the most productive way to work is to keep positive. The suggestions above with help you keep your productivity up, but it’s all for not if you aren’t happy. It is too easy to get stuck working from home on a daily basis for weeks, months, and years. Spending time with friends and family, especially if having a stressful day or week at the work place, can give you a moment of clarity.
Along with taking small breaks, you should also take a vacation. Make sure that you forward any important phone calls to your cell phone and leave a message that you will be gone. Let customers know when you’ll return and if you are answering calls while away. Also let them know if they can contact you on your cell phone or by email.
Boosting the productivity for your home business isn’t difficult in words, but may be in practice. The important thing is to keep organized, while giving yourself a break once in a while. Keeping these suggestions in mind, you’ll find the more organized you are, the more productive you will be.