Are you working from home, but having a hard time concentrating on work and staying productive? Because working from home means your office is the same as your home, it can be hard to draw a line and get down to business. Use these ten tips to make yourself more productive in your home office:
- Make your own work space
Don’t just try to use a laptop wherever you are in your house and call that a home office. You need to dedicate one area to your home business. Set up a desk, a comfortable chair, and a lamp. You can use a laptop, but confine use to your desk unless you’re ill or otherwise unable to use your desk temporarily.
- Plan your workday
You need to set aside specific hours that will be dedicated to work to be most productive. These don’t necessarily have to be typical work hours, but you do need to schedule predetermined amounts of time to dedicate to your work. If you’re aiming for eight hours of work per day, decide what hours would best be suited to your work. Stick with your schedule as you would a traditional work schedule in an office setting.
- Have an end to your day
You need to draw a line between work time and personal time when you work from home. Stick with the time that you’ve determined as the end of your workday, even if you feel like you could keep going. When you blur the lines between your home life and your home office, you start to get stressed out as a feeling of working all day sets in.
- Do not disturb
Make sure that your family is aware of your work schedule to keep the risk of interruption to a minimum. Remind family that you’re working, and anything they wouldn’t call you at a typical office for shouldn’t be brought up when you’re working at home, either. Let them know what time you’re done for the day so they can keep concerns to themselves until that time.
- No distractions
It’s easy to let your mind wander when you’re working from home, but limit distractions. If it’s not a predetermined break or lunch time, the television should not be on and you should be away from people that could distract you from your work.
- Be prepared
Make sure that you have all the tools you need to do your job, whether that be Internet access for research purposes, files, or computer applications. The last thing you want while you’re in the middle of a big project is to realise you don’t have the tools you need and will have to put your work on hold until you can obtain them. Go through a checklist before beginning work to assure you’re prepared.
- Stay professional
Many people envision themselves in pyjamas and slippers when working from home, but that’s probably not going to be beneficial to your work attitude. Most people are more productive when they prepare for a work day rather than just roll out of bed and start working. Whether you need a shower to get yourself started or need to don a full business suit, do it everyday to see your productivity improve.
- Take a break
Just as you would in the office, be sure to take breaks when you’re working from home. The nice thing about working from home is that you have the option of taking a break outside or at a shop. Just be sure to take a scheduled break and be back to work as soon as that time is over.
- Keep networking
If you’re working for a company from your home, make sure that you continue to keep the lines of communication between your home office and the main office open. Check in regularly either through e-mail or on the telephone. If you have your own business that you’re working from home for, make sure that you take opportunities to keep in touch with clients and continue making business contacts.
- Keep well stocked
Need printer paper and ink? Keep some inventory on hand so you’re sure not to run out. Working on a laptop? Have a backup battery in case there are problems with the power. Don’t let running out of supplies be an excuse not to work.