The opportunity to work from home can be a great experience for so many people, because there’s so much freedom and possibility every day. But along with all that freedom comes the opportunity to make bad time management choices. Waste enough time, and you may find your home-based business is not as successful as you need it to be.
To help with day-to-day productivity, here are 7 tips for staying on task when you work from home.
7 Tips for Staying on Task When You Work from Home
1. Have a dedicated work space
I’ve talked about this before. I truly believe that to be successful when working from home, you must have a dedicated work space. This doesn’t have to be an entire room, although having your own office (with a door!) is awesome. Your dedicated space can be the dining room table, or a small desk in another room. I just really think you’re going to be more focused and more productive when you’re in your own space, as opposed to setting up your laptop on the sofa in front of the TV.
2. Have a dedicated work schedule
This is something else I’ve talked about many times. Create a daily work schedule and stick to it. Not only does this help you to plan and structure your day, but it lets clients and family members know when you’ll be working and when you’re off the clock.
3. Dress for success
I used to imagine that working from home meant lounging in my jammies all day, but I’ve found that I’m actually more productive and I feel better about myself when I get up, wash my face and brush my teeth, and actually get dressed. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but real clothes make me feel like I’m working in the real world, even if everything I do is online.
4. Give yourself a break
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to lose track of time and suddenly you realize you’ve been sitting at your desk for hours without a break? Taking short breaks throughout the work day is important because it gives your brain a chance to focus on something other than work for a few minutes, and it gives your body a chance to get up, stretch, and refuel. Stopping every 2-3 hours for a small snack, a short walk, or even to run a quick errand, will result in more focus when you get back to your desk to resume work.
5. Use anti-distraction software
The computer is a wonderful invention, but it can also be wonderfully distracting. Between all your different programs and the Internet, you can easily become distracted and waste precious time. Luckily, there are many different programs available that can help you stay on task, either by blocking certain websites for a set amount of time, or by limiting how many programs you can have open on your computer at a given time. In particular, the anti-distraction program Freedom has been popular for a while, and it even works on iOS devices like your iPhone or iPad. Take a look at what’s available, and you’re sure to find the perfect program to help you minimize work day distractions.
6. Use soundproofing
Soundproofing isn’t just for musicians! People who work from home can also benefit from blocking out noisy neighbors or family members. You can buy inexpensive soundproofing tiles and put them up in your office. You might also try noise-canceling headphones and listen to some instrumental music or podcasts while you work.
7. Utilize your planner
Lastly, don’t discount the benefits of using a planner and sticking to a daily schedule. Plan out your day by making a to-do list, scheduling necessary phone calls, meetings, and projects, and you’ll find it’s much easier to use your time well and stay on task. I recommend the Erin Condren Life Planner, as well as the Carpe Diem planner from Simple Stories with inserts from Sew Much Crafting.
How do you stay focused when working from home? I’d love to hear all about it in a comment below.
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