Working at home comes with obvious benefits. No commute, dress as you like, set your own hours, and no annoying office distractions. Yet, to the undisciplined the freedom and flexibility can undermine your efficiency and ability to get things done. Managing oneself can be a challenge in and of itself—so learning the habits for being productive at home is pivotal. If you want to maximize your efficiency and reap the benefits of working from home, here are the habits you must master.
Create Your Work Space
It may seem obvious, but it’s one of the easiest ways to undermine your productivity. Having a designated space that is only for work tells your brain that when you are there it’s time for business. This space should be clean, free of distractions, and streamlined to your productivity needs. A kitchen table or a favorite recliner will create more distractions and wasted time as you’ll constantly be getting up and moving around to get the items you need. You need to bring your office to your home if you want your home to be your office.
Set Your Schedule
The common trap for the work-at-home individual is to keep putting things off. To be successful you need to have a regular schedule of hours where you can work on your to-do list. Regular hours also help your brain acknowledge when it’s time to leave home behind and focus on work—even while you’re still at home. Regular hours lead to regular efficiency, set a schedule and stick to it.
Network with Others in the At-Home Workforce
Removing yourself from the office drama and distracting co-workers is tempting enough to make anyone try working at home. Yet, the reality is we work better in teams than as isolated individuals. If you want to improve your efficiency you should network with others who work at home. Communicating and interacting with others who, while not sharing your precise office space, share your general environment will help you synergize your own productivity, work space, and interaction into one, streamlined package.
Isolate Yourself at Home—Even from Family
While networking with other ‘office mates’ online is good, living, breathing, and talking distractions at home can be a problem. For many, the greatest attraction to working from home is proximity to family and loved ones. But the reality is they can be your greatest distraction. Everything from meals, to conversation, to reminders, and chores can wreck your attempt to work at home. Part of creating your own work space is eliminating your family and loved ones from that area. It’s a cold hard reality. Sitting in the same room as someone for a protracted period of time without interacting is hard, so remove temptation and awkwardness from all parties by pulling yourself away from personal distractions during your work hours.
It’s 5 o’clock Somewhere
No matter what you set your work hours to be, one of the most important things to your mental health and work productivity is to at the end of your work ‘day’ to get out. Get some human interaction. Leave work behind and go home—even when you’re working at home. Spend time with the family, go out for dinner, or meet with friends. Losing the social aspects of your life to ever-changing work hours can be disastrous in the long term. When it’s time for rest and relaxation, sign off and get out of ‘the office.’
The at-home workplace can be a mirage to some that can leave their productivity and efficiency alone in the desert. Yet, developing these five habits can put you on the right track to not only effectively managing yourself at home, but dramatically increasing your effectiveness. There are great benefits to working from home, but without good habits and discipline you can find yourself with a job faster than it takes to get out of bed in the morning.
About the Author:
Blair Thomas is the co-founder of eMerchantBroker.com the #1 instant merchant account company in the US. He has been in the electronic payments industry for over 10+ years. When he is not running his business he spends his time writing and producing music, which has been featured in a variety of films.