The home is a comfort zone and the setting encourages laziness and relaxation more than it does work. This is why working from home can be quite challenging and requires great effort, discipline, sacrifice and focus. Coupled with other challenges, not everyone can successfully make a great career while working from home.
But there are those who can fit in their work schedules into their regular home life. Presently, I work at home, and I am still very productive. Below are the tips that I applied. They can help anybody to increase productivity while working from home.
1. Create a standard workstation
This is the best way to make the most out of your working time. Getting a standard workstation is best in order to create a conducive work-space that will set the tone for your business. Set up a spare room in your apartment as your work station or even a part of the garage.
You don't need a space with a TV and cable, you need your computer and your printer (if necessary) by the side and that will be perfect. Preferably, you should get a swivel chair which can easily move you around while seated. This helps you to get work done faster without leaving your seat.
You also need to stock up your computer with the right software to make work less tedious. Sites like Tech.co, Tech Magnetism or Tech Crunch offer regular updates on software and tech news that could come in handy.
Stocking up your PC with the right resources will enable you achieve much more from your seating position and use time more effectively.
2. Draw Up A Schedule And Stick To It Strictly
You need to still be a father or a mother or even just a friend sometime, so it is necessary you draw up a daily work schedule, rigid working hours...and follow it strictly. This helps to make you stay focused and frees up time for other necessary things. And if following this proves difficult, then try using some of these apps for increased productivity.
There is a temptation to overwork because we have a cosy workstation at home though. I mean, it's not like we have to rush home after work. You need to resist that temptation and turn off the PC when it is time.
3. Minimize distractions
Avoid talking on the phone during your working period. Let the answering machine respond to your calls while you concentrate. Then, you can respond to the important calls later when you are done. Avoid going over to the neighbors', watching the TV, or attending to your pets during this time.
I often suggest getting another adult or Nanny in the house especially if you are a parent and most especially a mother with infants. Having another in-house adult even if they just work during the hours designated for your work presents great advantages.
4. Have A To-Do List
Having a to-do list helps you to stay focused. If you are a freelance writer for instance, and you decide to write five articles in a ten hour work time, then it is best to list them out by topics. You should also write down the time allocated for each job.
Your to-do list will help you to take stock of how much you achieved during the day. It also helps to make judicious use of your limited time and catch up for work undone. Let every new to-do list contain all the carryovers from the days, before so they appear as fresh duties, as opposed to drag-alongs. To-do-lists aid clarity and remove mind congestion.
5. Set up breaks in between jobs
A regular job involves breaks, you should too. You should not be too engrossed in jobs that you skip your break time. A break is essential for you to freshen up, loosen some tight muscles, stretch your legs, move around the house and probably take some coffee.
Staying too long in front of the computer can damage your eyes. This is why occasional breaks are very necessary. Don't become too carried away with work and forget to relax. Your relaxation is as essential as the job.
6. Avoid Social Media Interruptions
The greatest way to waste precious time or to make the day highly unproductive is by opening up every social media platform. You cannot be on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter purposelessly and not lose track of time. Relegating social media involvement to when you are done working can do wonders for your productivity.
If you work with a team and you need constant communication via a social media platform, it may be better to subscribe to some less popular platforms which you use exclusively with your team.
7. Get Support
Let your friends and family support you by letting them know when you can be available or not. Let friends know your home working hour so that they do not bump in unannounced or invite you out when you cannot afford to go.
There is a tendency for friends and family to bump in at anytime because well...you are always at home. They wouldn't bump into the office if it was anywhere but at home. Publish your schedule to them and see that they respect it and take your job seriously...because it is.
The key is discipline, a great space and less distraction and you will be just fine. Go for it will ya!