Working from home can make many of the problems of modern life a thing of the past. Without the dreaded daily commute, you no longer have to spend hours in traffic and you won’t have to come back exhausted at home, with no time for yourself or your family. You won’t have any office mates, but you won’t lose time with watercooler gossip either and you will be able to make your own schedule.
But for all its benefits, working from home does have a few downsides and the one that people complain about is that it’s too easy to become unmotivated and lower your productivity. When you work in a familiar space that you typically associate with relaxation, it’s really tempting to start scrolling Facebook, turn on the TV or start doing other things, so discipline and organization are key if you want to boost your career.
Here are some tips that will help you see your work-from-home job from a fresh perspective and boost your productivity:
Separate the work space from the relaxation space
Some freelancers say that the best thing about working from home is that you simply wake up, grab your laptop, and start working right from the bed or couch. While this may sound like the dream job, it actually doesn’t do wonders for your productivity or health:
- Working in the same room where you sleep or eat will make it harder to unwind once you finish working
- Sitting on a soft surface such as a bed or couch affects your posture in the long run
- You are surrounded by distractions and less likely to focus on your tasks
As dreamy as Instagram flatlays of sleek MacBooks on white lined sheets may look like, they don’t depict the reality of working from home, nor the best way to approach it. If you want maximum productivity, comfort and satisfaction, set up an office area where it’s just you and your computer. Make sure you invest in a quality office chair and keep all other electronics out of reach.
Keep your work space clean and organized
Working in a messy office, with poor lighting and bad air quality is disastrous for your wellbeing and productivity. This applies for your home office as well, so if you want to build a successful career working from home, make sure you’re not surrounded by random knick-knacks or piles of dirty laundry. Even if you’re short on space, try to set up your desk in the cleanest and best lit area in your house. If you have a spare room, such as a guest bedroom or storage room, you can consider the option of renting storage units Cranford and using that room as a home office instead.
Set clear boundaries
Many people who work from home are stay at home moms or dads who want to keep working without having to compromise on family time. However, working from home shouldn’t be confused with being with your family 24/7. You will have more time to look after your kids or be there for dinner, but you will not and should not mix family time and work time. Making an important sales call while calming down your child is a bad idea for a number of reasons and if you get up from your desk every thirty minutes to answer the doorbell or defreeze a chicken, you won’t be giving your best at work.
To streamline things, create a strict work schedule and stick to it. If other family members are with you at home, be very clear about the fact that you are working and you should not be distracted unless it’s really important. Make to-do list every morning and take breaks only at established intervals. Close the door or windows if the noise from the home prevents you from staying focused, or invest in a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones.
Practice self-discipline, but know your limits
When you work from home, there’s no boss around to micromanage you and tell you how to do this. This is a great thing, but at the same time, you are the only one responsible for your productivity. You are the one who has to set a list of objectives and make sure they are met and you are also the one who has to take responsibility for your mistakes. Every minute of procrastination impacts you directly and you will need to understand that your actions affect your income.
At the same time, you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself either. If you’re a hard-working, overachieving person, working from home can be a surefire way to exhaust yourself and destroy your work-life balance. Try not to work more than eight hours every day, have lunch away from the computer and don’t make a habit out of overtime. When you work from home and have an idea at 1 am, it can be tempting to turn on your laptop, but in the long run, it’s best for your health, productivity and sanity to stick to a reasonable schedule.