The grass is always greener. Those who work in an office for someone else view working from home as a dream come true. You can sleep in, wear your pajamas, work when you want, and make your own schedule. If you want to take your kids to the park, you can. If you want to take a break to catch up on a few hours of your favorite Netflix addiction, you can. If you’re sick, you don’t have to call in. You get to stay in bed, rest, and get back to work the following day.
The reality isn’t exactly like the dream. Working from usually means making your own schedule. Working from home does mean spending more time with your kids, and you certainly don’t have to wear pants if you prefer not to. However, working from home presents its own set of challenges. You might not have coworkers gossiping in your ear or taking credit for your work at home, but you probably have diapers to change and grapes to cut into small pieces at every meal. It’s not always easy to remain productive working from home, but you can do it if you put forth a little effort and use a little creative thinking.
Designate a Workspace
One of the most important things to consider when working from home is your location. It’s far less productive to work at the kitchen table. You can see the dishes piling up throughout the day. You can see the television the kids are watching. You can see the mess they’re making. While no one is suggesting you leave them unattended throughout the day, it’s a good idea to work somewhere else. Turn a spare room into an office so you can shut the door and limit distractions. Keep this space clean and orderly, make it smell good, and make it comfortable. These all promote productivity.
Set Specific Hours
Now that you’re working from home, you get to choose your own hours. A good starting point is your own personality. Are you someone who doesn’t mind rising early because you’re more productive in the morning? Are you someone who can’t sleep at night because you prefer to stay up late being productive? What works for you is what works for your job. Set specific hours, and stick to those hours. Make them a habit, and work during that time frame.
One of the biggest obstacles between you and productivity working from home is everyone in your life. There are always going to be those people who think you spend all day sitting in front of the television watching Netflix or lying by the pool with a mimosa and your girlfriends because you work from home. These people don’t understand you working from home means actually working, so they’ve no problem calling, texting, and stopping by when the mood strikes. Make rules. You work these hours, and they aren’t to interrupt you during those hours. Your home is your office, and your friends and family should respect your office hours at home just as they would in someone else’s office building.
To-do lists are a work-from-home person’s best friend. These lists are helpful, because they minimize distractions. If you find it difficult to work from home because you have distractions everywhere, put them on paper. Cross them off as you accomplish them. When you’re not feeling productive, tackle a few of the smallest and most insignificant tasks on your list, and see how much more productive you feel when you’re done with those. This allows you to make money online without feeling overwhelmed.
Prep the Night Before
Working from home is distracting in that you have a house filled with things to do all around you all day. The night before is perfect for you to prep for a successful, productive workday. When you don’t have dirty dishes, laundry, and cleaning to tackle during the day, you’re more likely to work productively. When everything is cleaned, prepped, and ready for you in the morning, it makes your day that much more productive.
If you find yourself distracted by something at home during the day, handle it. Sometimes you’re unable to work productively from home if you’re house isn’t in order. If the kids left a mess before they left for school, take 15 minutes to clean it up and get things in order. It seems like a waste of time you should be working, but getting this out of the way in 15 minutes and working without the distraction the rest of the day is more productive than thinking about it all day. Eliminating distractions works.
Change Your Settings
One of the most productive things you’ll learn working from home is to change your settings. Unless you use your cell phone for business purposes, turn the ringer off or turn the “Do Not Disturb” setting on. It won’t notify you of new messages, emails, or calls until you check for yourself. Change your email settings to notify you of new messages only once per hour or once every other hour.
When your phone is constantly alerting you of new messages, new calls, and new emails, you want to look at them and respond. When you don’t know they’re coming in, you’re not distracted. Do yourself a favor and remove all your social media icons of your work computer, too.
Eliminating distractions, setting specific hours, and taking control of all you should do is what makes for a successful day in the lives of work-from-home business owners and/or employees. If these don’t work, it might be that you need a few minutes to get up and get moving. Go outside for a cup of coffee or a short walk. Stay healthy, don’t forget to move, and minimize distractions. This is what leads to a more productive workday at home.