Working from home was once a dream reserved for writers, artists, and small business owners. Nowadays it is becoming the norm, as 30 million Americans work from home at least once a week. And the number of telecommuters is only growing. According to a study by the Telework Research Network, that number is expected to increase by 63% in the next five years.
Working from home can be the greatest: You save on gas money, don’t need to iron clothes, style hair, spend time commuting, and, best of all, there is never a line for the microwave. It’s so great in fact, that sometimes it can be hard to stay focused on your actual work. Which means your work days can grow longer and longer as you try to catch up on what you didn’t give your full attention while lost in a YouTube binge session.
But by making an effort to keep your productivity on track, you can embrace the comforts of home with the structure provided by working in an office. Here are a few tips to make it work as you work from home.
Create a designated work space.
When you work from home the lines of work and personal life may blur. You can play fetch with your dog while on a conference call, throw a load of laundry in in between tasks, and wear pajamas all day long. And these are all major benefits of working from home, for sure, but it can become all too easy to let your home life distract you from your work responsibilities.
By creating an environment you only utilize during work hours, you can (ideally) cut down distractions. Find a spot in your home to design an organized and well-lit workspace. While there will be plenty of mornings that you work from bed, try your best to only work in your designated “office” space. By keeping work as separate from home life as possible (it can be a challenge, we admit), you should be able to improve focus. Not only will you be able to focus more on your work, but at the end of the day it will be easier to unwind on the couch, especially if you haven’t spent all day working there.
Source: My Domaine
Remove any obvious distractions.
Without co-workers watching your every move, it’s easy to get sucked into your favorite distractions. While it won’t be fun, you can accomplish much more by removing them from your workspace.
If you love having the news on in the background, but every headline catches your attention, turn it off. If perfectly filed nails give you deep satisfaction and have you constantly reaching for a nail file, stash it out of sight. And we think you already know that putting your cell phone away is a good idea.
No chores during work hours.
Where it’s really easy to get tripped up is with productive, and to-do list home distractions. Paying bills, scheduling appointments and exercising seem like valid excuses to stop working for a bit. It’s not like these activities are enjoyable, but they can take up a lot of your time and focus. Set yourself a chore schedule outside of work hours and stick with it.
Utilize the right tools.
Planner addicts struggle to grasp how anyone likes to use a digital calendar to plan their day. And digital adopters would be lost without calendar alerts on phones. Bottom line: Everyone has a technique that works, and you need to find yours.
Maybe your school or mentor taught you one way to stay organized and meet deadlines and you never tried anything else, but maybe it’s time to try something new. Some people map out ideas on whiteboards, and others use notebooks. A handwritten to-do list can do wonders, but so can a task management app. Play around a bit with different organization techniques to find the best fit for you.
Source: Working Mother
Prepare ahead for the workweek.
Because you don’t have someone telling you where you have to be on Monday morning, you might tend to let your weekend errands slip. To be fair, the grocery store is much less crowded during weekday mornings, but if you save all of your chores for the workweek you are going to fall behind.
Do your heavy cleaning, stock your fridge, and catch up on laundry during the weekend. This way you will feel saner during the week and will have no excuse not to get to work.
Replace what is missing.
Working from home is a luxury many office workers would jump at the chance to have, but it doesn’t mean that it’s always perfect. When working from home you might find yourself lonely or restless and this can cause you to find solace by surfing the web or scrolling through Instagram a bit too often. If you can replace what working from home lacks then you will be happier and need less distractions to get through the workday.
If you miss chatting with co-workers, then try to plan a few social outings each week with friends and family, so you won’t go days without seeing another person. If you find yourself going stir crazy midday, head to a library or coffee shop. Do you miss taking an actual lunch break because you always work from your kitchen table? Grab your lunch and eat in the backyard, go on a walk, or take a shower. Anything to get away from your screen, move a little and clear your mind!
Take time to think about what is making you unhappy and try out possible solutions. Even if you don’t find the perfect solution, hopefully you can minimize the negative aspects of working from home and spend more time rocking at your job.