Working from home often sounds so idyllic.
Yes, I’m not going to lie, it does come with several awesome bonuses including:
- No wasted time commuting and getting stuck in rush-hour traffic
- You can work in your own environment that you are comfortable in
- You can work at a time that suits you
- You can have breaks when you want
- You can plan your own schedule
- No office politics
But at home, you are also surrounded by numerous distractions such as the TV, the sofa, a comfy bed, a kitchen full of food and snacks, your dog, social media, friends calling around, etc. Even the most productive office worker can fall victim to these traps and achieve nothing when working from the comfort of their home.
But never fear, Roseanna is here! (yes, I just said that while doing my best superwoman impression)
Here are my 6 top tips to help you kick-ass, stay focused, and stay productive while working from home.
TIP #1 – Hold yourself accountable
By not having a boss to answer to directly, people will often become lazy and lethargic about their working capabilities. Deadlines will be missed and projects will take a lot longer than what is necessary to be completed.
Treat yourself as your own employee and hold yourself accountable.
If you were paying someone an hourly rate to complete a particular set of tasks, you would want them to be completed to a high-quality as fast and efficiently as possible. You should require the same standard of work and speed from yourself.
If you find this difficult, you should get an accountability partner. Someone who you can call and tell them what you expect to have completed by the end of the day, week, or month. At which point they should contact you back to make sure that you have completed your tasks. If you have failed, they should question why and hold you accountable for missing your deadline – the same as any employer would.
Tip #2 – Plan your day
Your calendar and daily schedule are completely yours now. You can decide what you do and when. One of the best tips that I can give you is to plan out your day – and be specific!
Do not plan your day like this…
- Wake up
- Start work
- Afternoon work
With that type of plan, you have scheduled nothing except when to eat!
It’s far too vague. You need to plan exactly what you need to be working on. Otherwise, you’ll just drift through the day not achieving an awful lot.
Get yourself a Google calendar and plan each and every hour of your working day with specific working tasks.
You can also use the tool Asana. I use this is to schedule my daily tasks as well as to manage projects and work that I have outsourced to others.
Tip #3 – Get ready for work
To help distinguish work time from playtime, some people find it helpful if they physically get ready for work.
They will wake up and get dressed as though they were going to work in an office all day. This will switch them into ‘work mode’ and helps to make them feel more professional.
To be honest, I stay in my PJ’s or joggers all day because I work best when I’m comfortable.
If you’re like me and can remain productive even though you look like a homeless person in worn out (but super comfy) clothes, then that’s fine. Otherwise, I recommend that you suit it and boot it for your workdays.
Tip #4 – Create a working environment
Ideally, you want to have a separate room that can become your office. Your place to do nothing but work. This will allow you to distinguish between rest time and work time.
However, depending on the size of the house that you live in, this is not always possible. If you are struggling for space, try to claim a corner in a room. Again, a place where you can do nothing but work.
As a last resort, you can use the dining room table. As mentioned, this is the last resort as this area tends to be the place where the family gathers and socializes at various times throughout the day, which can make it difficult for you to remain in ‘work mode.’
Tip #5 – Remember to move and venture outside
You get out of bed, sit at a desk all day, then maybe watch a bit of TV before having a shower and climbing back into bed again. The next thing you know, two weeks have passed, and you haven’t walked any further than the fridge and you haven’t left the house once.
It is so easy for this to become normality and it’s a slippery slope to weight gain and a very unhealthy lifestyle.
Make sure that you move every day and get yourself outside.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to get yourself a fitness tracker. Something as simple as tracking your steps will help encourage you to move more and get you outside to complete your daily steps.
A simple gym membership will also encourage you out of the house and get your heart pumping.
I have a dog (and a very high energy one at that!) He needs a lot of daily exercise to keep him happy and healthy. Therefore, a standard lunchtime walk is about 3 or 4 miles for me (although he runs a lot further).
Whatever you choose, just make sure you raise your heart rate every day and get outside into the big wide world and off the world wide web.
Tip #6 – Make sure everyone around you knows that you’re working
This is often one of the hardest points to master.
You might be able to get yourself in the zone and into work-mode, but often the people around you won’t distinguish you as working – because they think you’re just ‘sat at home’.
They’ll pop round for a cup of tea, call you up just for a chat, or ask you to run errands for them.
Say NO! …and put your foot down.
If you worked 9-5 in an office they wouldn’t do any of those things, so don’t allow them to do it when you’re working from home.
Work is work
Regardless of whether you go into an office, work from your spare room, your kitchen table or even your bedroom, work is still work.
Working from home can have tremendous advantages as long as you can remain focused and productive. If you are unable to do that, then working from home will become one of your hugest disadvantages that will stop you from getting ahead.
If you really struggle (and I know a lot of people that have), then I would recommend investing in a small private office for yourself, ideally surrounded by others on the 9-5. There’s no point working from home if you can’t get any work done.
Do you have any other tips that help you kick-ass when working from home? Please let me know below in the comments.