Ever feel like all the distractions in the office keep you from doing your job? At every workplace there are days when the actual tasks seem to be competing with everything else for your attention. Recently, this blog addressed ways to improve productivity at work.
As the post wisely pointed out, being "busy" is not the same as being "productive." This is true in traditional workplace settings, and also applies to working from home.
For some people, working from home is a way of life. For others, it's an occasional option or a part-time scenario. "Nearly half of all businesses are home based," said David Bayer, CEO of ChamberofCommerce.com, an online resource for local businesses and chambers of commerce.
While working from home may sound like a timesaver, there are plenty of ways to lose productivity on your own turf. The key is to set some boundaries for yourself in order to stay on track and keep your work and home life separate. Here are a few suggestions for your work from home productivity:
1. Get ready in the morning. One of the perks that people often cite about working from home is the ability to "work in pajamas" unbeknownst to anyone else. Even if you decide to wear pajamas until dinnertime, the Huffington Post suggests, still come up with a "start of day" routine.
Sit down and eat breakfast. Read through the newspaper. Drink a cup of coffee, or two. Read through your personal emails and update your social networks. Do not just roll out of bed, open the lid to your laptop and start working. Make a distinct break from your personal time and your working hours. This will raise your level of professionalism, efficiency and your quality of work.
2. Own your space. If you plan to do any amount of work at home, prepare in advance by setting up your home office with the right office furniture. Even if you do not have an entire room to devote to your workspace, pick a spot that is just for job-related tasks. It is tough to keep your home workspace free of clutter and unrelated items, so make a point to clear it off at least once per week.
3. Schedule in distractions. So maybe you will not have the sound of phones ringing all around you, or your chattering cubicle neighbor. Do not fool yourself into thinking that you will be able to focus any better at home.
The problem with working from home is that there is no clear definition between your professional and personal life. There are thousands of ways to get distracted at home so do not fool yourself into thinking you will sit down and stay put until all of the day's work is finished. Instead, give yourself reasonable breaks on a regular schedule. It is much easier to delay checking things off your personal to-do list if you know that you have allotted the time for it later on.
Working from home comes with its advantages and can be a real time and money-saver. Avoid losing productivity by making the most of your home setup and schedule. Create your own boundaries between personal time and professional tasks in order to stay focused while you work at home.
Photo credit: charliepage.com
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps local businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.