Guest Post by Meghan Belnap
Between telecommuting and the rise of small businesses, more and more people are setting up home offices. However, the temptations of the home can often lead to decreased productivity, primarily through distraction. When you’re only a few feet from your television, kitchen or entertainment system, a day of work can quickly disappear and be replaced by a video game marathon or a binge-watched TV show. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do about this, and there’s more at stake than self-control.
1. Separate Your Office Physically
Studies have shown that we compartmentalize our life by compartmentalizing physical locations. Therefore, when creating a home office, it is important that it be a place for work, and only work, and you should set up physical barriers and identifiers that make it look like a place of business, not leisure. Eliminate toys and distractions, try to put yourself in a room physically separate from your leisure areas.
2. Dress Professionally
Another way to psychologically train yourself to think that it is work time is to dress up as though you are going to work. While this doesn’t mean you need a jacket and tie, showing up in something nicer than your pajamas or underwear. This will help you to get into the right mindset for work, even if you don’t have any teleconferencing to do today. It will also make sure you’re ready if you get called in or need to meet with a client.
3. Maintain Business Hours
When working from home, especially when running your own business, it’s very easy to simply begin when you feel like it and end when you don’t. However, this can quickly cut into productivity. Starting late means that you may have trouble getting in touch with clients, customers, co-workers and bosses who maintain the regular 9-5. Additionally, starting late may mean you run out of hours in the day, forcing you to either work “late” or fail to get things done.
4. Keep Work at Work
This relates somewhat to #1, but mostly it’s about making sure you don’t blend your work and free time just because you’re staying at home. All too often, people who work from home find themselves jumping back and forth between work and leisure, and getting very little of either done. This not only impedes workflow, but it hampers your quality of life – which will also negatively impact workflow. If possible, close the door at quitting time, unplug or turn off your phone, and let things wait until tomorrow.
In the end, being productive when working from home is all about getting into a proper work mindset. Treat working from home like working from the office and you will do well. Create a space that allows you to separate yourself from home life and adds convenience to your work routine.
Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan suggests looking at home office design ideas by Celia Dunn Sotheby’s International Realty that encourage organization and productivity. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure.
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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