Working from home can be a blessing and a curse. You love that you can sit in your office in your pajamas, get a kiss from your spouse whenever you want, see your kids throughout the day, and work without the pressure of a boss or coworkers standing over your shoulder. All that luxury takes a lot of discipline to handle, though. If you aren’t careful, it can be very easy to become unproductive. Here are some helpful tips that will help you focus when you’re working from home.
Secure the Perimeter
The best thing you can have when working from home is your own separate office space. Even just a small, spare bedroom where you can work and close the door behind you will help you draw the lines between home and work. It will reduce the noise from other parts of the house, and having a designated work area will help you get in an office mindset.
When the rest of your family is home while you’re working, it’s important to set strict boundaries or you’ll continue to be distracted or pulled away from your work. Make sure your family knows that when your office door is closed, you are at work and unavailable except for emergencies. Scheduling a lunch break where you eat together as a family will be a good compromise.
Don’t try to work yourself to death at home. It’s okay for you to take breaks. Breaks actually help increase your productivity, so take as many as you would in the office, or whenever you feel you’re concentration is fading. Getting up and walking around or doing a different task will help refocus your energies and refresh you enough to start again.
Dress the Part
Sometimes you just need to be in the right mental state to get things done. When you get up in the morning, try getting ready for work just as you would if you were leaving the house. Take a shower, fix your hair, and put on a work-appropriate outfit. You’ll feel more prepared and more successful than when you’re working in your pajamas – even though it’s comfortable, it doesn’t help you focus.
Schedule Your Time
When you’re at home, it can be easy to get distracted by other things that need to be done, like cleaning, laundry, or errands. So you don’t feel overwhelmed, schedule your days and set aside specific time for chores like those. When you know you have another time designated to household duties you won’t feel so pressured to get them done when you should be working.
Turn Off and Unplug
No one is going to tell you to get off the Internet or the phone in your home office. Electronics and entertainment like the TV can be extremely distracting. To help yourself stay away from temptation, unplug your distractions and turn off your phone. This will help you remember that it’s work time, and it will help you resist the temptation to indulge.
About the Author: Alexandra Kelly is a school teacher and dedicated mom who worked out of her own home in her youth. On her days off she loves to pack the kids into their Nissan and drive down to the beach for a day of fun.
Image: Ben McLeod / Flickr