Working from home isn’t always the great gig it’s made out to be. If you’re one of the growing numbers of people who do work from home, you’ll be only too familiar with the potential problems of staying on top of your game from the comfort of your home office. Here are a few ways to keep motivated, stay productive and hit your deadlines.
Keeping in contact with your colleagues, bosses or clients is a brilliant way to avoid cabin fever. It’s a safe assumption that you’ll be a little out of the loop if you’re at home and the rest of your team are office-based, so make sure you bridge the gap with regular updates. It’ll keep disruptions to a minimum and make sure that you’re performing just as well remotely as you would do in the office.
Clock in, clock out
While one of the many benefits of home-working is flexibility, you’re heading for trouble if you don’t establish a regular routine. Try to start your day in the same way you would if you were going to the office. Stick to office hours, make sure you’re dressed and ready before you sit down at your desk and try to take breaks at the same time each day. Whether you stick to a corporate schedule or make up your own, you’ll establish a working pattern that’ll help you maintain your professional standards.
Set your boundaries
It’s a familiar situation; you’ve just sat down to work and someone decides it would be a good time to phone you to discuss something completely unrelated to the job. It can be anyone; a friend, your partner or – more often than not – it’s your mother. Unless it’s urgent, try not to answer personal calls during work time. Breaking off from tasks can be seriously distracting. Stay strict about separating work tasks from personal tasks and you’ll be much more motivated and stop work from spilling over into your free time.
A space in the house that you dedicate solely to your work is an absolute must-have. Of course, we can’t all have a home-office. But during the day your kitchen table can double as your desk. You could turn the cupboard under the stairs into a nifty little workspace. Just try not to work on the couch – or worse still, in bed.
Manage your time
Keep tabs on the amount of time you spend on each task you do. When you work from home you can often find that your working day gets longer and longer through patchy productivity. If you fill out a timesheet it’ll really help you keep your energy levels up.
Working from home doesn’t mean you need to chain yourself to your desk. If you find you’re getting lonely or you miss the social interaction of the workplace, make it a point to schedule meetings at least every other day. You can go to see potential clients, your partners or a colleague who always manages to give your mind a kick-start. It’ll get you out of the office and boost your energy levels no-end.
Schedule regular breaks
You can quite quickly find yourself in hermit mode when you work from home. If this happens you’ll pretty soon come to hate your computer screen. Make it a point to get out of the house during lunchtime – and you should always take a proper lunch break. Run errands, meet a friend or just go for a walk. A change of scenery could be all you need to help you return to work with some of your vim restored.
Break out the of the bubble
Isolation is a major motivation-killer when you work from home all the time. Stay up to date with the latest trends in your industry by attending as many conferences and networking events as you can find. It’ll keep your knowledge current and introduce you to peers and potential collaborators. It’ll also create new business opportunities you’re just never going to come across if you’re chained to the kitchen table in your PJs.
Amie Brook works at Printerinks.com. They are an online provider of Brother ink cartridges. Amie enjoys working as a content writer, in her spare time she plays the guitar.
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