When you work in an office where you have the option to close the door to drown out noise and a boss looking over your shoulder, it’s much easier to get work done. Your sole purpose of being there is to work – and that’s what you do. When you work from home, every day life can easily sabotage your working schedule. Later quickly turns into next week, or not at all. A false sense of time and succumbing to daily deterrents can easily derail a successful at-home workday.
While working at home has many benefits and allows you to manage your own schedule, you must be organized and laser focused in order for it to work for you.
Here are eight ways to stay productive when you work from home:
Set working hours - When you work from home it’s easy to always work, or not work at all. Your time seems limitless. Allocating time for work not only allows you to fulfill work obligations, but also sets limits so you can complete life tasks too. Setting hours help maintain a work-life balance.
Create a space to work - You don’t necessarily need a separate home office, but you do need a designated quiet workspace. Clear this space of all clutter and of any distractions. TV’s, game systems, iPads, etc., should be turned off and free of this space.
Your friends can wait - Social media notifications, text messages and phone calls that aren’t work related should be handled after your working hours. Put your phone where you can’t see the screen, or put it on “do not disturb“ mode, or else you’ll get distracted very easily.
Work means work - If you take a quick break, don’t look over at all the laundry to be done or the sink full of dishes. Trust me, it will be there when you’re done. Cleaning and running errands have their own time bracket – so they can wait, too.
Prioritize - Answer emails and take calls in bulk. Finish your most important tasks with approaching deadlines first. Don’t get into the bad habit of doing the easiest tasks first, or you’ll quickly get behind or overwhelmed.
Stay connected to colleagues - Working from home can get lonely, especially if you’re used to support, office banter and daily adult conversation. Find an accountability partner and check in to keep yourself on track. You also need to stay connected for networking purposes.
Get dressed - Even if you’re wearing yoga pants – get dressed for work. If you work in your pajamas, your mindset is not ready to rock! Too cozy can lead to laziness and rob you of your motivation.
Change your scenery - Sometimes getting out of your home is exactly what you need. Work outside on a nice day; go to the gym business center, or chose a Starbucks close to home. Being around people who are also working can give you inspiration to get yourself going.
The key to being successful when you work from home is creating a space without distraction, maintaining a schedule, and being honest with yourself about what works for you.