You have a great looking, functional workstation set up in your home office. Your ergonomic chair looks perfect and feels great too! You have all the right office furniture, office supplies and tools so why is it so hard to get motivated?
Working from home can be a blessing or a curse depending on your personal level of motivation and productivity. Without your boss hovering over you and your staff beckoning, you may struggle to stay focused. Here a some practical ideas to help you stay focused and become more productive.
Make a list of things to do at the end of each work day for the following day. Before you leave your work space, set yourself up to make a smooth transition into work tomorrow.
Start your day out by reviewing your list. Tackle the quick, easy tasks to get yourself going. Break large projects into small steps.
Set up a regular schedule with lunch and breaks. Stick to it! When your working from home, routine is key.
Ignore the always present housecleaning, garden, and errands during the work day. Save them for after work (unless you can do them while taking breaks without being carried away for hours).
Screen your phone calls and ignore personal email when you are working from home, unless you are on a scheduled break. Don’t answer your home phone during your working hours.
Avoid social gatherings with friends during your work day unless it is a special occasion. Keep to your schedule as much as possible when your working from home.
Pump up the jams. Turn on your favorite music and let it get your feet tapping and wake up those brain cells. One of the advantages of working from home is that you don’t have to worry about what your co-workers might think about your choice of music or the volume.
Tell your spouse or a close friend about your goals, problems and frustrations. Don’t isolate yourself when you are working from home.
Don’t work in your bathrobe. Dress as if you will be seen by your co-workers even when you’ll be at your desk at home.
Save your “weaknesses” or things that distract you for later (surfing Facebook, t.v. etc.). Wait until your break or after work to play.
Open up your doors and windows and let the fresh air and sunshine in! Since you don’t work in a stuffy office with fluorescent lighting, why pretend that you do? Make your environment pleasant and let a light breeze and sunshine lift your mood and boost your productivity.
Keep track of your accomplishments. Chances are, few others will, so it will be up to you to self evaluate and give yourself good feedback on a job well done. Think about giving yourself long-term rewards. Just as employees might receive an employee of the month award at a conventional job, you should give yourself the same opportunities. Set goals for the week, the month and year, and reward yourself accordingly for accomplishing them.
Sort through these tips on working from home and find what works best for you. Some people take breaks every couple of hours to do laundry or vacuum; others find doing housework while working from home too distracting and time consuming. Some people like to sit out on the deck or have the t.v. on in the background; others find those activities too disruptive.
Finding ways to increase your productivity while working from home involves experimenting with different schedules and activities until you’re successful.