In working online I have the ability to work anywhere in the world from the comfort of my own home. Whilst in theory this sounds great, it is very easy to get into bad habits with nobody cracking the whip and distractions not difficult to find. Initially my working from home productivity suffered as I made my lifestyle transition away from working in offices and studios. I soon realised that in order to be successful with my undertakings and maintain a positive state of mind I would need to act fast and develop a healthy daily routine. Whether you’re just starting out or simply feel like you can’t stop slacking, here are some pointers from my own experiences to help improve your working from home productivity.
Set an Alarm
It’s easy to get up later when you don’t have the commute to work. It’s also tempting to press that snooze button over and over again. Get out of these habits. By getting up late you are only going to be putting more pressure on yourself for the rest of the day. Try to get ahead of the game rather than playing catch up all the time.
Get Up / Get Dressed
It’s oh so easy to sit around in your under-crackers and pyjamas all day when your home becomes your office. This does nothing to help get you in the work mindset. Don’t think about beginning work before you’re showered, shaved, dressed and ready for the day ahead. Once you get started you will feel all the better for it.
Stay Fit and Healthy
I’m a big advocate of incorporating physical exercise into your working week. Keeping fit will make you feel good about yourself, give you more confidence and keep yourself focussed. I find that working out in the morning before tackling a days work can really help improve productivity. Furthermore, you should be complimenting any fitness training with a healthy diet.
Define Your Working Hours
Your job is still a job regardless of what you are doing and where you are working from but it shouldn’t become your life. Set yourself some boundaries. Define a time at which you will begin work and just as importantly a time when you will finish for the day. Everybody needs to switch off and have some down time. Overworking yourself will not only build up stress levels and make you grouchy, it can also impact on family life.
Manage Your Time Effectively
In order to stay on top of your work and avoid procrastination it’s important to set yourself realistic targets for each working day. Organising your tasks by way of a ‘to-do list for tomorrow’ at the end of shift is a great way to ensure you keep up your working momentum and are never left dillydallying whilst wondering what to do next. Your efficiency will increase ten-fold and you’ll find great reward in completing your pre-assigned tasks.
Create a Pleasant Workspace
Believe it or not many people begin their work from home lives whilst sitting on their beds. Creating a relationship between your working environment and your place of rest is for obvious reasons a really bad idea. Your workspace at home should consist of a clean, uncluttered desk with a comfortable ergonomic chair in a quiet part of your home. There should be no place in your office for a television.
Keep Distractions at Bay
By distractions I am particularly talking about spouses, live-in partners, parents, children and so forth. Everybody in your household really needs to understand your working requirements and the hours at which you should not be disturbed. It is very common that in working from home those close to you wrongly make the assumption that this also means you are available to them at all hours. Not setting boundaries will do nothing but cause headaches, frustration, loss of concentration and in some cases arguments.
When working alone at home it is very easy to become solitude. Ensure you don’t allow this to happen by making the most of the time outside of your self-assigned working hours to socialise. Get a hobby, play sport, go see friends, join a club or spend quality time with your family. Do whatever! Just make the most of your time outside your office. Social activity fuels creativity.
Don’t take this post an exhaustive list of things you should be doing to improve your working from home productivity but do always seek to find what works for you and implement your discoveries into your days. Working from home can be an incredibly freeing and exciting experience. It can also be a real challenge. Seize the opportunity and make it work for you. Those that do rarely look back.
Do you work from home? How do you go about planning your days? What tips would you give to somebody looking to improve their working from home productivity?