If you work from home you will no doubt sometimes wonder if working at home is holding your potential back. Could you be more productive? Would you be happier? Here are some of the top tips I have found around the net and a few of my own.
Separate Work and Living Space
One of the best things you can do if you work from home is to keep your work and living environments entirely separate. Ideally a separate room or building if you are lucky enough. If you have somewhere you can close off at the end of the day it will help you psychologically switch off from work too. Equally it will help you switch to work mode when you leave your ‘living areas’ and enter your work space.
If you cannot completely physically separate your areas, at the very least try to move your work stuff out of site. Put paper work away in a draw and switch off your computer.
Dress for work
This one might sound a bit wild, but you really should dress for work. Working successfully from home is all about being about to switch between your home life and your work life as quickly and effectively as possible. I have found now, and so have others I have read on the net, that actually dressing for work when its time to work can be a great way to get into the right mind set.
At the very least I strong suggest the ’shoe trick’. When you work put your shoes on, when you are relaxing at home take them off. Probably sounds a bit pointless but if you do anything I recommend this. You soon train yourself to know that when your in your shoes your at work and it gets much easier to switch to work mode.
Keep Strict Hours
Not always possible but if you can work set hours do it. Don’t sleep in because you can, force yourself to get up in line with normal business hours and equally don’t work past your normal end of day time. I’m a bit of a hypocrite on this one because I often do both these things, do find that stopping at a set time when you may still have work to do acts as a great motivator to start working the next day.
Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you don’t get breaks. Make the time to have a good lunch hour and take breaks through out the day, especially if you are stuck in front of a computer as I am. Ideally if you can go out of your home, take a walk, walk the dog etc. I have found one of the worst things with working at home is that you seem to never leave the house.
I recently looked into virtual offices. They are a great way for a small business to give a more professional appearance. You get a professional looking address…something like 10 Buckingham Palace or something, a telephone number which you will normally get someone answering your calls when you cannot answer your calls yourself. This is great if sometimes you cannot be at your desk and you don’t want calls to ring off. These aren’t too expensive.
Keep to-do lists to stay on top of your workload and plan your next day at the end of the last. This way you spend less productive time thinking what next to do. Another great thing with to-do lists is that you can cross out things once they are done which I find is a great way to keep motivated and see the progress I’m making.