While it may seem like a dream at first, that dream can become a nightmare if you’re not ready for the realities of working from home. There are distractions and time sinks around the home that you likely never thought about, but they’ll become all too obvious once you’re fighting a deadline. To get the most out of working from home, it’s good to have a strategy to expect and then work to minimize these problems.
Here are a few tips that can help you keep the dream alive and make sure that you stay productive in the midst of distraction:
- Create Your Space
When working from home, you can grab your laptop or tablet and literally work anywhere. You shouldn’t, though. You’ll be able to stay on task easier if you have an area set aside to work in. You don’t have to have a large formal office set up in your home, but an area that’s designated as your office can be very important. Not only does it give you a stable place to work and an area to store work-related documents and equipment, but it also may qualify you for a tax deduction. Just make sure that you locate your office area in a quiet part of the house away from as many distractions as possible.
- Make a Schedule
Part of the dream of working from home is the ability to work when you want to and quit working when you don’t. Realistically, though, that can lead to problems. You’ll be much more productive if you give yourself a set schedule for the day.
Not only will it help you get in the “at work” mindset, but it will also let your family know what time you’re working so you shouldn’t be disturbed. Resist the temptation to knock off early, too, since that will just mean more work you’ll have to do later.
- Put On Your Pants
Another illusion shattered: Sitting around in your pajamas all day isn’t the best way to work from home. This is your job, and it’s important that you treat it as such; get up, have breakfast, take a shower and put on some real clothes.
You don’t have to dress up (unless you want to), but at least get out of what you wore to bed the night before. Feel free to treat every day like Casual Friday, but don’t assume that every day is Pajama Day.
- Set Goals
At the beginning of your workday (or even the night before), take the time to write out your goals for the day. The act of writing something down helps you get in the right mindset to complete the task.
Some recommend that you make three lists of three items: the first list should contain three tasks you want to complete today, the second list will have three things you want to accomplish soon and the third should be three things you want to do eventually. Once you complete one list, you can move on to the next and become even more productive.
- Get Off the Clock
Working from home can really blur the lines between “work life” and “home life,” and this can lead to you spending a lot of your off time completing work-related tasks.
When you take a break or reach the end of your day, make sure that you mentally clock out as well; spend the rest of your day with friends and family like you would with any other job, and get back to your work when you step into the office tomorrow.