Working from home can be an amazing opportunity to work on what you want, when you want, with low overhead and whatever soundtrack you want! But there are also common pitfalls – like getting easily distracted and losing time. We all know the siren song of the TV just a few feet away, but there are more things to keep in mind than just that. Take these expert tips into account about how to stay efficient – and stay sane! – when working from home.
8 Essentials to Get the Most Out of Working From Home
If you think working from home means having the freedom to forgo shaving and wake up without setting an alarm, think again! However, I won’t deny that working from home has its perks — like never having to commute.
Here’s how to get the most out of working from home:
1. Start each day like you’re going to work. That means taking a shower, getting dressed and having breakfast. Setting professional standards will put you in a productive mindset.
2. Set up your office. It is crucial that you create a dedicated space to work in that is comfortable, private and exposed to as few distractions as possible.
You should have all your tools, like your computer, phone and printer, in one place. Setting up your office also means setting up boundaries with the people (and even pets) you share your home with.
There’s nothing wrong with setting a schedule where you’re “unplugged” and not available to family and friends. This can be hard for other people to understand fully – most associate “working from home” as having all the free time in the world. But if you hold fast to your set schedule and get good at saying “no” when you need to, they will learn quickly.
3. Begin your day 30 minutes earlier than you plan to start working. This time should be used in two ways: To create a plan for the day and to peruse social media. Every morning, I make a list of the things I need to achieve that day.
I also read the news and check social media. It’s fun, and it prevents me from wasting too much time during the day.
There’s nothing wrong with indulging in what people term “time wasters” like social media and popular sites, but being sure to set yourself boundaries so you don’t lose track of time is important. Also remember that if you’re using social media for professional purposes, that doesn’t mean you get to sit on your news feed for hours! Keep work and personal separate as much as possible.
4. Think about when you do your best work, and plan accordingly. I’m a morning person, so I start working on the most difficult and unpleasant tasks of the day first.
5. Make a strict schedule, and stick to it. The knowledge that you can work whenever will tempt you, but in the long run, you will be much more productive if you follow the schedule you set for yourself.
6. Stay connected. Working from home can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. Turn on Skype and get in the habit of using it. Each morning, my employees and I use Skype for our staff meeting.
It doesn’t take much effort to check in with the people you work with, and your relationships will benefit from it.
Seeing your coworkers regularly and bouncing ideas off each other can be one of the big benefits of not working completely alone. You never know what brilliant schemes you might concoct in your next Skype session!
7. Check in with your team throughout the day. I have Skype turned on all the time, and I ask my employees to do the same. I hand out assignments at the beginning of the week, but I check in much more often than that. My employees do better when I actively manage them.
8. Make sure to “close the door” at the end of the day. This can be very hard to do. It’s easy to keep working long after the hours you’ve set for yourself have passed.
Your business will suffer, actually, if all you do is focus obsessively on it.
How do you keep yourself on track when you’re working from home? What does your work space look like?