Whether you work from home because you have a home-based business or because your employer provides you with the ability to work from home either full-time or part-time, doing so can be a challenge.
When I am not working with my clients in their homes, I work in my home office. I have a large window that lets in a lot of natural light and a large space in which to spread out to work and places for all of my paperwork, office supplies and other needs in order to run my business.
It can be challenging at times to work from home for many people. One of the biggest challenges is staying focused.
Do you find that you daydream? It is more easy to do when you work alone. There is something interesting that happens when you work with others or have a boss overseeing how you are spending your time. That accountability factor can go a long way. So, what do you do when you are working from home and need to be accountable for yourself?
You might be very productive and get things done but it is very easy for your energies to be directed at other things you should not be doing. When in your home, it is easy to spend time thinking about the things that need to get done in the home such a laundry, dirty dishes in the sink, phone calls you need to make or meal preparation. If you are on the computer, you might get a signal every time you get an email, you are curious about what is happening on Facebook or you decide you need to purchase something on line.
Here are some tips to help you stay more focused and keep your attention where it needs to be:
1. If at all possible, take care of distractions before working. If you need to get some laundry done or clean up the dishes in the sink, do it before you start to work. If you are distracted by what you need to do around the house, do them ahead of time so you can avoid these distractions.
2. Determine your best hours to work. Some people are at their best early in the morning. Some are better later at night. I am most productive mid-day. I admittedly am not a morning person. I structure my business based on when my energy is at it's peak so I can be the best I can be during that time. Knowing when you are most productive and clear-headed goes a long way in helping you focus on the work you need to get done. If you are not sure, take a week or so and track what you do over the course of a day and when you get the most done. Then, structure your day around the times when you are the most productive, if possible.
3. Work at a table or desk. This might not seem important, but it is. It is too easy to get too comfortable when you are sitting on the couch. Being near a television can be very tempting too. You might find that you can get things done, but sitting in a sturdy chair at an organized desk or table away from distractions will enable you to take your tasks more seriously. Be sure to work in a place that feels like you should be doing work there.
4. Have a to-do list. One of the things I do at the end of each work day is to prepare a to-do list for the following day. I keep it visible during the day and refer to it often. It's important to learn to prioritize your list so it is not too long and unreasonable to complete. Set time limits on how long to spend on each task to stay on target and create deadlines for more involved tasks. Having a list prepared ahead of time will help you have a clear picture of what you will set out to accomplish each day.
5. Take a break. It is very important to get up out of your chair throughout the day. Every hour or so you should get up and stretch or walk around. You will come back to your work space refreshed and ready to continue with your work day.
Working from home has many rewards but it can also create some challenges. Creating a plan of action that fits your personality and work-style will help you face the challenges, put your distractions aside and maintain focus throughout the day.
If you are transitioning from an off-site work environment to a home-based work environment, I can help you create a customized plan of action that meets your specific needs for time and production.
As always, I am here to help.
Now, get back to work! :)