When you tell people that you work from home, they probably tell you how lucky you are to work in your underwear, spend the day with the dogs, and not having any nosey supervisors constantly hovering around. However, working from home can have its difficulties, too. The following tips will help you fight the distractions and plan your workday so you can continue being productive without falling into a rut.
Have A Work Schedule
It’s true…when you work from home, you are the boss. You decide when to work, how much work to do, and when to call it a day. But don’t take advantage of that. Just because you can run a few errands during the day, sleep in a little longer without anyone knowing, or run out for a quick manicure mid-day, doesn’t mean you should.
Keeping a work schedule is one of the main ingredients in a successful freelance career. When you know your hours, you can manage projects properly, schedule social activities around that, and never race against a deadline because you took too much time off.
Get to work at a reasonable hour like 8 or 9am, take a mid-morning 15-minute break, have lunch around noon, take another 15-minute break in the afternoon, and sign off around 5 or 6pm. It might not be as fun as keeping weird hours, but at least you can still work in your pajamas!
Go Out For Meetings
A traditional work environment will give you plenty of office gossip to talk about, co-workers to have your coffee with, and even an IT department to bug when your Outlook goes down. Working from home will devoid you of most social interactions, and when you first make the switch from office to home, it can be difficult getting by without the constant face time. If you’re freelancing career allows you to meet with clients, then suggest you meet up for coffee or lunch somewhere nearby.
Getting out and having some face-to-face time with another human being will keep your spirits up, not to mention give you a reason to change out of those pajamas! If you don’t meet with clients, ask friends to meet up for lunch and try to have one or two happy hours each month. If you’re working from home as hard as you should be, then some socialization will do you good.
Find The Right Light
Without the buzz of office life, it’s easy to get sucked into your work without any concept of time. It could be hours before you look up from your laptop or papers and discover that the sun has gone down. Furthermore, if you’ve chosen to work in a poorly lit room, you might feel like time is just passing you by.
Unfortunately, that’s not all that’s happening. Without proper lighting, you can be causing your brain to fall into a depression, lower your energy levels, and even sour your mood. All of these things can affect your productivity. Pick a room with lots of natural lighting to be your home office. Also, have a dedicated desk lamp, some overhead light, and perhaps even another light in the room.
The variety of light will make sure that whatever task you’re taking on has enough light to be done properly. Your eyes won’t feel like they have to strain so much and your productivity levels will stay way up there.
When you work from home, kids can drag their toys into your home office and you might take your notebook into the kitchen. It’s easy to get things scrambled up when your office is just down the hallway. However, staying organized will help you stay focused on your work during the day and focused on your personal life during the evening.
Nothing can be worse during a conference call when you have to go searching through your kid’s rooms to find an important document. Purchase some folders, drawers, and even a filing cabinet to keep track of all your important work papers. And if it helps, make your home office off limits to the kids so they can’t mess with your work computer or ruin files you have laying out.
One of the biggest problems with working from home is that you’re at home. But by staying organized, you can keep your work and home lives as separated as possible.
Working at home means there’s laundry waiting to be done in the next room, a DVR full of your favorite shows downstairs, and a pantry full of tasty snacks. Distractions are running rampant through your house and you don’t have a boss there to tell you “No!” It’s up to you to fight off distractions as best you can.
There might be days you feel like procrastinating, so get up and make yourself some tea or take the dog for a walk. But afterwards, it should be right back to work. Furthermore, stay away from the snacks as best as you can. With all the food available to you at home, it can be easy to over-snack while working on a deadline. Sticking to your work schedule and eating during your breaks and at lunch should help you fight off the tortilla chips.
Many believe working from home is a blessing, but for those of us that have procrastinated one too many times, it can also be a curse. Keeping your work life and home life can be difficult when they’re essentially one in the same. But by restricting your work to certain times in well-lit areas of the house, staying organized and social, you can be just as productive, if not more, working from home than if you were in an office.
This post was written by Gina Vinnitsky, a blogger for RumbleLink, the premier Denver SEO agency. When she’s not writing for RumbleLink or updating the RumbleLink Facebook page, she is studying the latest and greatest strategies for Internet Marketing.