How To Stay Productive When You Work At Home
Since I own my business, I have the luxury of working at home every now and then. Personally, I always prefer to come into the office because I feel more focused, but some days, I need a change of scenery or something requires me to stay home. How does one stay productive in a comfortable environment with SO many distractions (like the TV, the couch, the bed and the refrigerator) with NO ONE looking over your shoulder? It's not easy...but here are some tips to help stay focused.
Make Your Home Office Conducive to Working
Your home office environment should inspire you to get busy. This means it should have good lighting, some peace and quiet and all the tools you need to work productively. (For me, a computer, printer, desk and comfortable chair are pretty much sufficient!) Work with your hands? Maybe you need a large working table with supplies. Whatever it is you do, have the right supplies and work in an environment that encourages you to get stuff done. This also means avoiding things that can cause distractions in your office and take you on the path towards procrastination. Here are some things I personally would avoid placing in my home office when trying to get things done: TVs tuned to your favorite show, recliner chairs that let you kick back and fall asleep, couches where you can lie down for a nap...you get the idea!
Create A Schedule...And Stick To It
If you work from home, setting a dedicated time to "clock in" and "clock out" is a great way to get your mind in 'work mode'. For most people, this will be during normal working hours - 8 am to 5 pm. However, for those who have the flexibility (and luxury) to work independently, work when you feel most energized. Not a morning person? Maybe you start a little later... Remember though, to set a time to "clock out", otherwise the lines between work life and home life can start to blur.
Close (Maybe Even Lock) Your Door
Closing the door to your office lets you cut off the distractions and comforts of your home and helps to keep you focused. Plus it signals to the rest of your family that you are working. If you have small kids, try using noise cancelling headphones. And if you're on a conference call, don't forget to lock the door... you never want to be this poor guy doing a TV interview from home and your kids become part of the show.
Use Social Media Only As A Reward
Social media is one of those "not urgent and not important" tasks that seem to take up a lot of time. And with no one watching over your shoulder, it's easy succumb to the to the social media trap. But watching that cute cat video is only going to give you 10 minutes of lost productivity. So put your phone down and set a timer. You can reward yourself with 10 minutes of social media after 30 - 60 minutes of actual real work time.
Use A Planner With A Task List
Knowing exactly what you must get done for the day will help you stay focused. Personally, I use my Ignited Life Planner every day to prioritize which tasks I need to get to done. I tend to start with the least desirable and time consuming task and work from there. Crossing items off my list makes me feel great and gives me motivation to get the next thing done. Sometimes it even lets me "clock out" a little early!