Work From Home

Staying on Track… When You Work at Home

Work From HomeWorking from a home office (besides being a great tax write-off) can be very productive…even more so than working from a corporate office sometimes. But it can also be filled with distractions. There are household chores, televisions and video games seeking attention, and a fridge that’s calling your name and begging you to chow down on those lingering Thanksgiving leftovers.

So yeah, home offices work great… as long as you can stay focused and on task.

If you’re running your own business or your business’s website, there’s a good chance you’re probably doing it from home or a home-like situation. The good news is, there are thousands upon thousands of men and women who manage to work from home just fine, and they do it by following a few simple rules.

Create Your Home Office

You need a workspace that’s separate from the rest of the house when working from home.  If you’re working from a kitchen table in the middle of the action, you’re just asking for trouble. Choose a room as far away as possible from distractions and make it yours. Make sure everyone in the family know that this is the work room and they need to respect it as such.

Claim Your Time

Keeping yourself disciplined while working from home and focused is one thing… getting your family to go along with the plan is sometimes an even bigger challenge. With you home all day, it might not seem like a big deal for family members to try and steal some of that time for themselves—the daughter who wants a little playtime, the wife who wants those gutters cleaned out, the husband who keeps poking his head in the office, saying you have the whole place to yourself, and winking suggestively. None of them mean to set you back, but these are threats to your organization.

Set clear working schedules and make sure everyone in the house knows to abide by them.

Oh, and the hours don’t have to be 9-to-5. You might have a different time of day when you feel more productive. Pick what works for you, and just stick with it.

Dress for Success

When we think of working from home, we think of the guy in a robe with the coffee mug lazily typing away as the poor schmuck in suits next door head off to their monotonous commutes. But don’t dismiss the schmucks right away. Dressing as if you’re going to work will help you stay in “work mode” psychologically. You’ll get more done, because you’ll be in the right mindset. You don’t have to wear a suit every day, but at least go semi-formal.

Keep it Clean

Most bosses aren’t a fan of dirty and cluttered offices, and for good reason—it hurts productivity and make organization next to impossible. So, treat your home office like you would a corporate office and clean at the end of every day. It’s also a good way to make sure you haven’t overlooked any important tasks.

This also goes for your email inbox and phone messages. Give everything a clean sweep so you can start the next day fully organized and ready to go.

Take Breaks

You might feel more guilty taking a break at home than you would at the office. Part of our brains will keep shouting “You’re already at home, this is already like taking a break”, but don’t listen to that. You deserve breaks throughout the day to stay fresh and on your toes. Take them as you need them… just keep them to a set window of time.

Be Flexible

Just like you need to take breaks, you’ll also have times you need to step away from your work office for other things. Picking up a sick kid from school, collecting a family member from the airport, running out to buy eyedrops for your husband so he’ll stop all the damn winking… things will come up. But hey, you work from home! One of the perks is that you get to deal with emergencies when you want to deal with them. So do your best to stick to a schedule but be flexible when needed.

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