Working from home can be very difficult as the lack of structure, the need for self accountability and the constant distractions can be so overwhelming that sometimes we find ourselves being unproductive for days. Having been self employed for over a decade and working from home at my convenience, rather than as a need it has even been harder for me today since I am financially independent and no longer need to work. While not needing to work may seem nice, you also have to make sure you remain productive and don’t allow the talent that led you to being successful go wasted due to working from home. Regardless that you are still grinding or do some work each week from home, here are 4 key things I have always done that have helped me make my days working from home more productive.
Make an Agenda, and Meet it.
One of the hardest parts of working from home is your ability to get everything on your agenda done, and many times it’s simply because you are either in the mood or not to complete certain items. Pushing items back due to your lack of interest in accomplishing them can be very dangerous to someone who works from home. Think about how many tasks you accomplish at work that you truly don’t care to, and yet hold a very different attitude towards those you do at home.Part of a successful routine working from home is to ensure you look at your home no different than you would your office, and don’t actually consider items to accomplish an option.
A great strategy is to write all pre-planned items in one color on your calendar and then all those new upcoming during the day items in another. This color coordination allows you to see which tasks you started with for the day, which under no circumstance can be left undone. Using an old school paper calendar can also be helpful, so that your eyes can look away from the computer you use all day when focus on what to work on next.
Be On Time.
If you are setting the agenda, then it can be very difficult to honor the times you have set aside for yourself. In other words, you may say that each day you will start your day by going to the gym from 8-10 but end up sleeping in till 9. It is imperative that you respect your own time, and consider all your activities on your calendar of equal importance. Since your home life and business life are not merged, both sides needs mutual respect from you. Make sure to be honest with yourself and stick to your time tables.
Silence Your Phone. Cut off Your Email.
Depending on if you have kids or not, this one may be a bit tricky but once you try it a few times, you‘ll quickly realize why it is so important. While it may seem cool to work with music or check emails often throughout the day, or even chat with friends while working; it is also very counter productive on many levels. Work in a quiet place without interruptions or distractions, and you’ll see how much more you get done than even when you were in your office outside of your home.
Take Breaks Outside of Your Home.
Too many people make the mistake of taking their breaks by just grabbing a bite in the fridge or simply changing rooms in the house for a few minutes. Instead, try to take a few minutes and get some fresh air. Run to a Starbucks and grab a coffee. Leaving your house will give you a feeling of being refreshed, and enable you to get back to work faster and harder than before.
Working from home is a good thing as long as you remain disciplined. At the end of the day realize that you are no longer trading company time for money, but instead are trading your very own time which should be 10 times more valuable. So make it count…
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