Working from home in your pajamas is a dream of many. Who doesn’t want to not go into an office to work or roll out of bed and be where you need to be for your workday?
But working from home has drawbacks that many people don’t even consider. I’ve been working at home since the days of dial-up (cue the 1999 music) as the internet connection, it’s been that long. And I’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way about how to be productive and how not to derail your day.
Here are my ten tips for working at home and being productive:
- Set a schedule. It doesn’t have to be a normal nine-to-five schedule but do set times when you are going to be available and; work this way, the lines don’t get blurred of work time and personal time
- Chunk down your day; in addition to having a schedule, it’s a good idea to block off chunks of time and work on specific items during that time.
- Don’t forget to factor in your CEO time. Working on your business is essential as working on your business, but if you don’t schedule the time, you will put yourself or your business last.
- Create a to-do list of things you need to complete each day and for the week. Set aside a planning day or time to make that happen so you’re not always putting out fires throughout the week. I like to do this Sunday evening when I’m sitting there catching up on a few of my favorite TV shows.
- Work when you are most productive. You’ve already set your schedule of how many hours you will work in a day, but you need to determine your most productive hours. If you’re a morning person, by all means, work in the morning, but if you are more creative and productive in the evening, it’s okay to work then too.
- Minimize distractions and set limits on internet distractions. It’s really easy to fall into the social media trap where you just go to spend 5 minutes and end up spending 50. Or maybe you’re trying to do some research and get sidelined with shiny object syndrome.
- Schedule breaks and get up and move. Self-care and health breaks are as necessary as working on client stuff throughout the day.
- Choose a dedicated space. It doesn’t have to be a formal office, but you should have an area where you only do work this way; at the end of the day, you can leave your work there, and it does not interfere with other personal spaces at home.
- Find an accountability buddy or a virtual co-working environment. Having an accountability buddy will keep you on track with the tasks. Utilizing an online co-working space gives you that same type of kind of ability by allowing you to focus on the task within a specific time period.
- Find whatever motivates you and use that to your advantage. I like to work with white noise so my favorite tool during the day is brain.fm. It allows me to have the productive white noise that I need to get more accomplished while having some background noise.
Everyone is different, and not all of these tips will work for you, so find the ones that do work and build them into your day. For some people who are more extroverted co-working might be the thing for you. If you’re introverted, coworking could be an even bigger distraction to your day.
Remember at the end of the day it’s about staying sane and getting work accomplished. Working from home can be a lonely thing, especially when you’re used to being around people or in an environment where there’s a lot of interaction.