Whether you are new to working from home or have struggled with staying on task at home for a while, there are tricks you can use to achieve optimal productivity and become more efficient when working from home. One of the main challenges with working in a home office is the level of distraction when you step away from a traditional office setting into the comfort and convenience of your house.
Dedicated Work Space
Hands down the most important advice I can offer is to ensure you have a dedicated workspace. Your home office may currently be used for a multitude of projects and activities but I highly caution you to avoid this if at all possible. Find an area of your home, that is not your couch or recliner, and set it up in an organized and professional way. If you don’t have a whole room you can dedicate for your office, then pick a small corner, or convert a closet, or find some way to give yourself a dedicated workspace. This clear line between your home life and your work life will help you tremendously in staying on track and avoiding distractions. It also sets expectations with the other members of your household that when you are at your desk, you are working and not available.
Keep It Professional
There’s nothing like getting into a work mindset to help with being productive. It will be tempting to hop up from your bed and start your day in your pajamas, but getting up and dressed for the day will do wonders for your efficiency. If you have a morning routine, do that first and then sit down at your desk when you are refreshed, ready for the day, and primed to take on whatever the workday has in store for you.
If you are your own boss, create a schedule for yourself to follow. Don’t allow errands or household chores to distract you from your task list. If you were in a corporate office, the dishes would just have to wait and the same is true for your home office.
Boundaries Are Essential
Once your family and friends realize that you are working from home, they will test you. You’ll get invited to lunches and coffee breaks and mid-day excursions. Don’t make yourself available. Set boundaries around your work schedule and protect them.
This can be especially tricky for parents as it’s difficult for spouses and children to understand that just because you’re present doesn’t mean you are available. Train your loved ones to wait (unless it’s an emergency) until one of your scheduled breaks or put off requests until the workday is done. Again, if you worked in a traditional office, these requests would have to wait so keep reminding your family that you will have time for them – when your workday is done.
Notifications Be Gone!
Notifications are absolutely the worst when it comes to productivity. Our ever-increasing need to check our devices, our email, and our social media accounts take huge chunks of time out of our day. There really is no need to check your email or social media every hour. Schedule in catch-up time during the periods of the day where you tend to feel the least productive and turn off all notifications.
Long-time productivity can’t be achieved if you work yourself into exhaustion or boredom. Our minds can only handle so much focused attention at a time. Schedule regular breaks to give your brain a chance to rest and recharge or you’ll find yourself idly browsing Amazon or Facebook instead.
If you need socialization time, don’t deprive yourself. Many business owners find that public cafes and co-working spaces on a regular basis keep them from being lonely and becoming distracted by the need to socialize.
A cluttered space is always a distraction. So is searching for hours for something you need that you have misplaced. Disorganization is a massive problem when it comes to workspace distractions. While getting organized may feel overwhelming at first, once you have a system that works for you in place, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it.
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