Tips for Staying On Task At Home

Everybody dreams of being their own boss and working from home, but there are some unforeseen problems that can occur after the transition. At first, not having to worry about a boss or coworker looking over your shoulder can lift the weight and stress from said shoulders, yet that weight could have been the very thing keeping you on task and productive.

The comfort and freedom that you feel at home can be a sirens call of procrastination and distractions. Hell, the office definitely didn’t have a La-Z-Boy and a 42″ LED television. Whatever your vice is, keeping your mind off of it and onto your work can be difficult from home. Here are some tips that will help you stay productive when you need to be.

work from home
Image by Logan Ingalls / Flickr

Have a Work Space

It is very tempting to bring the laptop onto the couch, bed, porch, or wherever to work. Trying to work in a space where you are used to doing something else is unproductive as your mind associates those locations with something other than work. If you are lucky enough to have a spare room turn that into an office. If not, find a quiet part of the home and set up a work station there.

Make sure it has everything you would need so you do not have to go wandering through the house every five minutes. If you have kids make sure you set up rules for when you are in the office or at a work station.

Abide by a Schedule

If your business allows you to only work when you feel like it and still be successful”¦ well congratulations, I don’t know why you’re reading this. But if you’re like most of us and need to stay productive in order to turn a profit then a schedule is your best friend.

There is tons of free software to help you prioritize your workdays, but it’s still hard to beat the classic day planner. One purchase a year and you’re good to go, just make sure you use it often or it will just be a dead tree.

Setting reminders is a great way to stay on task. With cloud technology you can sync up emails, phones, and electronic calendars to remind you about tasks throughout the day; many apps and software do this automatically.

Controlled Disconnection

Obviously being connected is vital in the highly mobile world in which we find ourselves, but there can be too much of a good thing. If your cell phone is being bombarded by texts or calls and it’s keeping you from your work consider getting a separate line for work if you don’t already have one. If you have a second line, turn off the cell phone or put the ringer on silent for the home phone.

Give the work line number to those who might need to reach you in case of an emergency. This also applies to social networking. If you are on your personal Facebook, twitter, tumblr””however you communicate with people””then you need to find a way to stay off of them in order to stay on task.

Don’t Be a Recluse

At the same time you don’t want to seclude yourself into a virtual dungeon. As much of an office space you try to recreate at home it will always be lacking a key element of an office: people. Maintaining a normal work schedule will help with this, but don’t forget to go out and interact with people outside of your work. This will help keep your brain stimulated and creative juices flowing.

Home businesses aren’t for everyone, and not all businesses are for the home. Staying on task and productive is key in any work environment, but even more so when you are running the show. Setting up good habits early is vital, for any bad ones will snowball and drag your productivity down.

About the Author: Miles Hall is a blogger who focuses largely on the world of small business. He contributes to the site, for which he writes about small businesses for sale.