Many people who have disengaged from the mainstream workforce do not want to be idle. Many of them become entrepreneurs, opting to start something new while staying at home. There are definite perks when you work from home. You have an office that’s rent-free and you do not have to travel far. Of course there’s also the indefinite working hours, lack of interaction with other people and a number of distractions that could affect your productivity. Here are a few tips to remain productive, even if you run an office from your home.
1. Dress for work
Resist the temptation to work in the clothes you slept in or in a house dress. You’ll feel very productive if you’re dressed like you usually do when you’re still working in a regular office. It’s very easy to wear pajamas and house clothes since you think there’s no one else to see you. But wearing office clothes will remind you that you are working and must be productive.
2. Take regular breaks
Act like you would normally do when you’re in the office. Take regular breaks: coffee breaks and a lunch break. This allows you to refocus and recharge. You can take a short walk during coffee break or get some exercise to raise your energy level and clear your mind. It could get very lonely working alone in your home office when you’ve been used to interacting with co-workers. Get out of your home office regularly, to interact with family or friends and colleagues outside the house. An hour of social interaction each day will help you think better and work productively.
3. Set a routine
Boost your productivity by setting a routine, just like you would have in a regular office. It’s easy to slack off when you’re surrounded by home comforts or you can work continuously for long hours. Remind yourself that you are on a regular workday, so your focus should be on the work that needs to be done. Take regular breaks and have your meals at the right time. Stop working at regular quitting time. Avoid the temptation of quitting work early or taking long lunch breaks just because you are working at home and your time is at your disposal.
4. Create boundaries
Think of being in the office during the workweek. Would you be doing the laundry during your workday? Set a time for answering and returning personal calls. Re-route personal calls to your voice mail so you can answer them later. Although it is great to multitask, it’s more effective to utilize it for the things you have to do that are work related. It may feel good that you are doing personal tasks as well as business-related work at the same time, but in the long run, doing personal chores during working hours will be a distraction that will eat away at your productive hours.
5. Set up work space as a regular office
Choose a location inside your home where you are as far away as possible from distractions, such as a television. If you have children, there should be no kids’ toys in your home office. Decorate your office with work-related items. Make sure that it has proper lighting and ventilation. Since you are now responsible for everything, make sure that you have an adequate stash of office supplies, such as pens, printer ink and paper, stapler and staple wires, folders and fasteners, envelopes, etc. Invest in a good office chair and table and a sturdy file cabinet. It’s preferable to have a home office that has a door, which you can keep shut when you are working. This is a reminder to other household members that you are not to be disturbed during your work hours unless there is an emergency. But never set your home office inside your bedroom or your family room or you won’t get any work done.
6. Eat right and exercise
You’ll be productive when you’re healthy. Plan your meals early and eat them at regular hours. Come up with a workout routine and weave it into your regular schedule. Likewise, set regular times to get out of your office chair for a short walk so you can stretch your legs and improve circulation.
7. Provide some ambient noise
Yes, you read right. You also need “noise,” but it should be noise that’s not distracting. You become more creative and productive based on the noise around you. For creative cognition, ambient noise at a moderate level could be conducive. There are apps in Google Play that you can download and install on your cellphones. Likewise there are some sites that allow you to play ambient noise from coffee shops for free. Check out any one of these: Coffitivity, Ambient Mixer, 99U Music Mixes, Focus@Will, Brian Eno’s Music for Airports and Raining.fm.
Working from home gives you several benefits. Make sure that you choose to work during the time when you are most productive. It could mean starting early. Most of all, remaining productive means making the commitment to work hard to accomplish the tasks and goals you’ve set for yourself when you’ve made the decision to work from home.