In some ways, working from home is the ultimate luxury. You get to lie in bed longer each morning, you save money on petrol, you don’t have to put up with the office gossip and that annoying guy who eats garlic-laced sandwiches at his desk every day. Unfortunately, you also get to miss out on office bonding, you’re the last person to hear any news, and you don’t have anyone keeping an eye on your productivity levels. This means it’s all too easy to spend all day on Facebook instead of working.
Here are a few tips to help you stay focused on work, and not end up feeling isolated and bored when you work from home:
1. Find ways to talk to your colleagues
Take advantage of all of the technology your company has to offer. Spend time in instant messenger chats, make regular conference calls, or talk your team into setting up a Google hangout. Do whatever it takes to stay up to date with all of the news that affects your office-based colleagues.
2. Designate an office space
Try not to work from bed, or from the living room while the TV is on. You may feel like you’re still being productive, but this kind of “work anywhere” attitude is a bad one to have. Instead of blurring the lines between home and office in this way, set up a dedicated office space (be that the kitchen table or the spare room), and go there whenever you need to work.
3. Tackle bad tasks first
Each morning, look at your to-do list and pick the task that you really don’t fancy doing. Make yourself do it. That task could be calling an awkward client, completing that mind-numbingly boring spreadsheet, or filing your expense report. Whatever it is, do it. After you’ve got that task out of the way, everything else will seem easy.
4. Link productivity with rewards
This one is easy for people who are self employed and work from home. Self-employed people know that if they don’t get work done, they won’t get paid. Salaried employees don’t tend to have such a direct link between work and money in their minds – they know that if they slack off for one day, they’ll still get paid, they’ll just have to work harder the next day. Try to build a mental link between work and money (or getting work done and having time off), so that you have some motivation to get stuff done.
5. Block those social media accounts
If your job doesn’t require you to hang out on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, stay away from those sites during office hours. If you can’t do that with willpower alone, install some software that blocks access to those sites. When you don’t have anything distracting you, it’s so much easier to focus on work.
6. Work away from home
When your home and your office are the same thing, it can become hard to relax at home, and even harder to focus on work. Treat yourself by taking your laptop to the local coffee shop, the beach, or even a quiet pub. You may be surprised at how much more productive you are away from home.
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