Working from home is an appealing idea to many people (including me). However, after I have been doing it for several months, I have noticed that it isn’t always a walk in the park. I have had to make some changes in order to continue to be successful working from home.
Schedule uninterrupted time. I have a bad habit of trying to multitask while at home. Sure, I can write an article, do laundry, and make breakfast at the same time, right? Wrong. In order to stay focused and be productive, I decided to do only work during my scheduled work time. For me, the easiest time to be productive is in the morning. I work from 8:00 am-11:00 am or some variation of those hours in order to get in the habit of solid “working hours.” It can be difficult to set up a flow and focus when you are trying to also watch kids, answer questions, keep them entertained, and so forth. Instead, teach kids how to wait until break time or working hours are over.
Shower first. It can be quite tempting to roll out of bed, dump coffee in a mug, and get to work. However, that can make your wake up time take forever and also lead to some lazy work habits. Instead, I get ready in the morning as though I am leaving to go to work. I eat breakfast and drink coffee, then get in the shower and get ready for the day. THEN I get to work. Getting ready in the morning sets a productive tone for me, and I am ready to get down to business for not only my working hours, but the rest of the day as well.
Make a functional, organized space. When I first started working from home I just set up shop wherever there was some extra space: on the couch, the kitchen table, etc. But I noticed that I was much less motivated to do my work, or I became easily distracted and would start picking up clutter or cleaning. Instead I now have my own dedicated workspace. I have an area where I can keep all of my paperwork and files together, I have a space to sit comfortably, and I feel like I can focus on work instead of the extraneous things I was surrounded by before.
Set deadlines for yourself. This goes right along with setting work hours. It is extremely important to feel as though I am getting something accomplished in order for me to feel satisfied working from home (otherwise I tend to feel like my wheels are just spinning). So each day I write a list of various goals and deadlines, both short-term and long-term. What do I want to get done by today? Next week? What are my priority projects? Stick to those goals.