Working from home definitely has its perks. You don’t have to drive to the office, you have the comfort of being in your own home, and you often times have more flexibility on the hours that you actually have to work.
However, working from home can also have its challenges. It is easy to get distracted and not get any work done at all. Whether you have kids vying for your attention or dishes piled up in the sink, the distractions are plentiful when you work from home.
Here are 5 tips that will be essential to implement when you are working from home
1. Get dressed – This might sound strange, but there is something about being at home where there is not an urgency to put “regular” clothes on. It can be tempting to fall into a weekend routine, and wear your robe around the house, but this could stunt your productivity. Getting dressed every day is a good habit to get into. It helps you to mentally realize that this is a work day, not a weekend, and that you need to treat it as such.
2. Close the door – Being at home, it is very easy to get interrupted if you have kids, a spouse that stays at home, or even if you have animals. I have a dog who wants to play constantly and it is hard to focus when he is trying to get me to throw the ball every 2 minutes. If you have an office with a door, keep it shut during business hours. Communicate to your family that when the door is closed that you are working and that you are not to be disturbed unless it is an emergency. And vice versa, if the door is open, then it is OK for someone to come in to ask you a question. These boundaries will definitely help you focus on your work and limit the amount of interruptions you get each day.
3. Make appointments outside of the house – It can be lonely to work out of the home, especially if you are single and don’t own a pet. To make sure that you get your “people-fix,” consider scheduling appointments with people outside of the home. These do not have to be work-related appointments. I often will grab coffee with a friend in the morning or lunch with a family member in the afternoon. This has been a huge help for me to have an outlet for engaging with people that I would not otherwise have since I work from home.
4. Get up and walk around – In the 21st century, if you are working from home, the chances are high that you are in front of a computer most of the time. If this is the case, you’ve got to get up and walk around every day. If you don’t have a regular workout routine, take a 15-minute walk around your neighborhood. This will get your blood flow going and make sure that you stay healthy, since working at a computer is not a very physically intensive exercise.
5. Schedule your day – This is possibly the most important tip. With so many opportunities to be distracted while you’re at home, you have to schedule your work day. I use Google Calendar because it is simple and it syncs everything I do to my computer and to my cell phone. Whatever system you decide to use, just be consistent with it. This will help make sure that everything gets done so that nothing slips through the cracks.
Working from home is great, but you need to make sure that you create an environment that is conducive to getting work done. If you follow the tips outlined above, you will be amazed at how much more you will enjoy working from the comfort of your own home.
ARTICLE: Clark Howard’s Work From Home Guide lists legitimate work-at-home opportunities.