If you’ve worked from home for more than a few days, you may have discovered it can be a little (OK, a LOT) distracting. These distractions can have a negative impact on your business’s bottom line.
One problem that home workers face is that the rules are simply different when you are working at home. Often our motivations are different too.
A big part of the reason people are now working at home is to be able to set their own hours.
People want the freedom to go outside for a half hour and read a book, or play with the kids when they come home from school. Yet too much of this type of activity (the very REASON we are working at home) will hurt our business.
How do you find the balance? While imitating the way you worked at the office won’t do the trick, adding some much needed organization and setting some practical guidelines will.
Consider these four tested and proven methods to avoid distractions in your work, and you’ll have more truly FREE time.
Create a workspace.
Are there file folders in your kitchen? How about sticky notes on your bathroom mirror? One of the first things to do is to create a place for your work related items to live, and leave them there.
Do this and you’ll gain more productivity by having what you need where you need it. Plus you will save a few steps in the process.
Create a work time.
Set a realistic starting and ending time for your workday and stick to it. DO NOT become your own taskmaster or you will risk losing the joy of working from home.
Choose times that work best for you.If you are a night or evening person, now you have total flexibility to work your peak productive hours.
Use the freedom of working at home to your advantage. If a special project requires 18 hour days, go for it, just try to avoid it becoming a lifestyle.
Use blocks of time.
If family and friends intrude on your work, gently, but firmly, make it known that during certain hours you aren’t available … except for emergencies. Use this time to focus on important tasks.
One of the great things about working from home is the ability to focus in and get more done in less time. Remember to be flexible though, since people should always come first.
You work at home in part because you enjoy the freedom. If you want to go outside on a beautiful day, feel free. For many home workers this is the payoff that inspired them to work at home. Working from home can be hazardous to your free time.
When you work in an office, you go home and leave it behind. When you work at home, your work is always within easy reach.
Avoid the siren song of “just a quick check of my email” during times that are meant to be relaxing. If necessary, actually PLAN in your free time. When you return to work you will be rested and ready to take on the next challenge.
Working at home can be great. The key is to find balance.
If you feel you may be out of balance, but aren’t sure, keep a work log for the next seven days. Simply write down a brief note about what you do every hour. At the end of the week, not before, look it over. You may be surprised at where your time really goes, you can also accelerate this by using home automation products so there are tasks at home you don’t have to do yourself.
Be aware of distractions and you will be a better worker. Make a list of your distractions and work on minimizing them one at a time.
Oh… and leave the TV off during work hours. 😉