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Working from home is a wonderful thing but it can be easy sometimes to fall off the productivity wagon simply because you have less of a dividing line between work and non-work activities.
My home has been my office for over 8 years now and so I thought I would bring you some tips which have worked for me and which will hopefully help you to be more productive working from home.
Ditch the PJs
I have never been someone who enjoys sitting around the house in my pyjamas – no judgement on it, it’s just for me it always reminds me of being sick when I was a child. However, if it’s a habit that you have slipped into I would definitely start a new morning routine.
Getting up, showered, dressed and ready for the day ahead can act as a signal to your brain that you are getting ready to work. Then when it comes time to actually sit down and get started it’s much easier to ease into work mode smoothly.
Separate Work From Home
If you are going to work productively from home you need to have as few distractions as possible. Not always easy I know! The ideal situation is to have an office where you can shut the door and block out everything that’s calling to you to do in the rest of the house – whether that’s cleaning the kitchen or watching TV – but that’s not always possible. Sometimes we have to work from the dining table or even on the sofa.
If you are borrowing space which is usually used for other family activities get one of those storage baskets or boxes where you can keep all the things you need for your business – including your laptop, notebook etc. That way the actual act of unpacking it each day will signal to you it’s time to work. It also works in reverse, when you need to switch off at the end of the day you can pack up and tuck everything neatly away, therefore not seeing papers you need to work on every time you pass the kitchen table.
Get Your Family Members on Board
If you live with a partner, family or friends you are going to have to be clear on your boundaries. Just because you are working from home it doesn’t mean you should do all the cleaning and errands – you are still working. This can be a tricky one to navigate and the best course of action is to be very clear from the start, particularly with partners and friends.
With children you are naturally going to have to be more flexible, but at the very least carve out some child-free time when they are at school or cared for by others and then you are going to have to work full pelt to get everything done!
Work For Set Times
Just as you would have set-times as an employee it’s a good idea to create structure for yourself in your working day. One of the advantages of working from home is you can be flexible, so I am not saying to rule that out completely, but it can help to at least set some broad hours. For example, you could decide to work from 9 to 12 and then 1 to 4 – or whatever hours you have available to you.
Work expands to fill the time available, so it can keep you much more productive if you have set times to complete tasks. If the whole day rolls ahead of you it’s easy to procrastinate and think I’ll get to it later and then you realise it’s 6.30pm and you have got nothing done.
Make sure you take breaks regularly. So even hourly you should get up and look into the distance – if you are staring at a screen all day – to avoid eye strain. You can also take this 5 minute break as a chance to stretch, move around a little or get yourself a drink. More water and less coffee!
At lunchtime ensure you take a proper break and make yourself something to eat. One of the joys of working from home is that you don’t have to eat at your desk so make this a de-stress time and either get out for a short walk or do somehing non work related. Your brain can only concentrate on tasks for a certain period of time anyway, so this isn’t wasted time.
Don’t Get Isolated
Finally, working from home can be lonely sometimes so find friends in the same situation who you can check in with from time to time. These could be people in Facebook groups or even local meet-ups. We all need to let off a little steam and talk things over so find your support team.
Do you have any great tips for working from home? I would love to hear about them in the comments section below.