Those who work at home know all too well the struggles that it can bring. A lack of motivation, various distractions, and a workload that continuously piles up are only a few examples. As an entrepreneur and consultant, I enjoy the flexibility of working anywhere I want on most days. It’s not hard to find a cafe with free wifi to work in but I could only stay there for so long before the battery on my laptop dies or feel embarrassed for taking up the space when there are other patrons waiting to be seated for their meals. To help you increase your productivity and not burn out at the end of the day, here are seven ways to help you work more efficiently from home.
- Set a dedicated work schedule: It is crucial that you create a timetable exclusively reserved for work. Stay focused and concentrated on your tasks during this time. Setting aside time for work gives you the sense of stability that a traditional job creates. Making a schedule will increase your production, allow you to get more done quickly and efficiently. My working hours are from 10am to 5pm on weekdays though realistically, I find myself replying emails at 1am.
- Make a list of tasks and stick to them: Create a to-do list that will help you organize your day and give you a visual understanding of what you need to undertake today. This will sustain your concentration on work and ultimately, boost your productivity. Check off tasks you have completed as you go, which will help keep you motivated as you see your workload begin to drop. Post-its are great for jotting down tasks and I stick them on the wall to serve as a reminder.
- Do not permit anyone else at home to distract you: Let everyone else in your home know about your schedule for work. Unless there is an urgent issue, help them understand that you are not to be distracted during that time. This can be extremely helpful when there are young children in the house. Think of creative ways to make this concept easier for them to comprehend, such as putting up a sign outside of your “office,” letting them know you are not to be disturbed, or that it is ok for them to enter.
- Keep a tidy workspace: Your workspace should be free of clutter and any unnecessary items, such as TV remotes, letters, brochures, and the like. Easier said than done, I know, that’s why I set aside one day (usually a Friday) to tidy up my workspace. As for necessary items, organise them according to a system that works best for you, optimising your work area and providing plenty of free space. This principle is vital, especially if you have clients that will meet you at your home office. You want your workspace to portray that you’re an organised and efficient worker, even if you work perfectly fine in a messy environment.
- Take some time away from the screen: Take regular breaks throughout your day. Just like traditional jobs provide an opportunity for their employees to have lunch breaks, you should enjoy the same downtime. Have a cup of coffee or a light bite. Give your brain a break at regular intervals. Doing so will keep your morale high and production at top quality.
- Remain in touch with your co-workers, clients, business partners: Human interaction is a vital component to working at home effectively. Engaging with those you work with will keep you socially active while also getting work done. Taking a few moments to text or call colleagues can provide a small break from your current task and keep you connected. Checking in with clients, co-workers, or your employer will help you stay on track and achieve the best results for not only yourself but also those working with you.
- Focus on your achievements: At the end of the day, look back at what you have done. Focus on what you were able to finish, not on what else you have left. You can improve your motivation by celebrating your accomplishments and the good work you did. Find what you can improve on, but avoid dwelling on it. Concentrate on what you did well to complete what you did and build off of the positive reinforcement.
Do you work from home? Share with us some methods you use to be productive!