Working from home is tough! Despite what a lot of people will tell you, it isn’t always easy to get stuff done while in the comfort of your own home. It takes a while to learn how to work productively from home without distractions.
If you have kids, they want to play with you. If your spouse is home, they want to spend time with you. And Fido the dog has just two speeds- play and sleep, so he wants your attention all day long as well.
Even though it can be tough at first, there are a few things you can do to make working from home more productive. Putting these things into place will help you focus and get much more done, whether it’s on your own business or for a day job.
Tip #1: Create a Sanctuary
One temptation when you’re working from home is to sit on the couch while doing work. That sounds great in theory, but you probably won’t get nearly as much work done as you’d like.
Instead, you need to create a place that is solely for work. Ideally this is a cutoff room with just one way in, such as an extra bedroom or a small room in the basement.
The isolation gives you some peace and quiet to think and focus on work. And because the only thing you use this room for is working, it’s easy to get into the “groove” every day. As soon as you walk into that room, your entire body realizes that it’s time for work mode, not relax mode.
There’s no “right” way to create a work sanctuary, but make sure it suits your needs. If you want a big office desk and chair, get them! If you like sitting in a recliner while you work, that’s fine too. Motivational posters, house plants, calming music- setup whatever it takes to help you focus.
Tip #2: Establish Set Work Hours
It’s tempting when you work from home to put off work every once in a while to do something more fun. Reading a good book, having breakfast with a friend, or working out mid-morning might be very appealing.
The problem is that if you don’t set certain work hours, your productivity will tank. You may be productive one day, but then choose to goof around the next. Without a set work schedule, you are actually putting more stress on yourself because you have to reset your schedule every single day, depending on what you want to do.
That may sound fun, but it’s not productive!
Tip #3: Keep it Clean
Have you ever heard of the broken window theory? This is the idea that when something is in disarray, people are more tempted to do what they aren’t supposed to, just because they figure it’s not a big deal.
In other words- when your office is messy, you’re more tempted to throw stuff on the floor, right? Or if you have some old food wrappers laying around, you’re more likely to throw that new wrapper on the floor as well.
The problem is that a cluttered office leads to a cluttered mind. Cleanup your work space at the end of each day. This means that when you come back to your office the next day, it’s clean, neat and ready for your productive day.