I’ve been working from home for over two years, but it is only recently that I’ve managed to become more productive. Although working from home sounds like the ultimate fantasy for most employees, if you are not smart about it you might end up wasting more time then you would have bargained for. It took me a long, long time to learn how to say „no” to useless activities that bleed me of productivity, but I’ve finally managed to ration my time.
Sometimes it feels that there are not enough hours in the day, to complete all of the tasks that we are supposed to do. As bloggers, we have to reply to e-mails, interact on social media sites, engage with our readers, respond to comments, research and write. It doesn’t really matter what type of job you are doing, because all of us are making great efforts in order to become better at what we do. All in all, working from home is a privilege, and a great opportunity, which can help you achieve your goals.
I am sure I’m not the only person who lacks in the self-discipline department, and when it comes to work and relaxation, I simply cannot draw the line. The truth is that working from home isn’t for everybody, and you should make sure that it is something you can do. There are some personality traits, like self-motivation and ambition which will help you handle work at home better. Here are a few tips that will help you successfully overcome the challenges which may appear.
1. Asses Yourself and Build a Work Ethic
Not having to deal with a boss every day doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t enforce discipline. Think about it this way: you are probably the best boss you will ever get. Nobody knows your strengths and limitations better than you, and this means that you can make the most out of the time you spend working. In other words, although you should be thankful that there is no annoying superior breathing down your neck and watching your every move, you should also be responsible in order to meet deadlines and satisfy clients.
I highly recommend that you choose an interval of hours, according to your work schedule, and stick to the plan. Sometimes it is difficult to become motivated, but we have to do our best. It is very easy to get sidetracked. Social media is probably the most irresistible magnet. I usually find myself scrolling down the news-feed, checking out photos of people I don’t know and watching videos. If you ever want to be productive, you should get rid of all distractions, and focus on the task at hand. If social media marketing is part of your work-strategy, try to break down your tasks in an efficient way. I usually check my social media profiles at the end of the day, because it helps me unwind.
2. Start Small and Build Up
Most people think that by working 6 hours from home, they will obtain results worth these six hours. Although this is not impossible to achieve, it is difficult and requires strong work ethic. Sometimes we work for hours without end and fail to see the results when the line is drawn, but it is normal. Instead of overestimating your productivity, start small.
Another great idea is to wake up early in the morning. I don’t know how other people function, but judging by what I’ve seen around me, light inspires people to be more productive. Make sure that you respect all of your morning routines. Take your time to shower, eat, and drink your coffee in peace. There is no better way to start the day than by indulging in your daily routines. If you start to work early in the morning you will avoid procrastination, and you will also have the rest of the day free.
3. Create Your Own Tiny office
There is no way for a person to work with the TV buzzing in the background. If you live with your family, you can’t just work in the same room with your kids or parents, because you will be distracted. It is essential to create a special place dedicated to your work. By separating your home environment from your work environment you will become more productive.
I’ve created a nice home office which makes me want to work. You don’t have to spend a lot of money in order to make your work-space inspiring. The most important things are lighting, warm colors and tidiness. A messy environment means a messy mind. Make sure that your desk is free of useless documents before you begin your day.
4. Set Boundaries with Yourself and Others
There are many things to be discussed when it comes to setting boundaries with yourself. Believe it your not, one of the biggest problems for people working from home is OVERWORKING. People become so involved with their work that they forget to leave the house. According to recent studies, it is not advised to work more than 8-10 hours a day.
I know that you want to see fast results, but overworking will have negative effects on the long run. Sometimes, we have to disconnect from all our tasks and take a break. Go out, have some lunch, take a walk, or go for drinks with your friends. You should not forget about the real life. Besides, short breaks, and fresh air, will help you become more motivated.
5. Vary Tasks in Order to Avoid Boredom
You are no robot, so you can’t do the same thing over and over again, especially if you are a writer, it is impossible to create for 5 hours straight. The best way to avoid boredom and fatigue is by breaking down your tasks. For example, if you are working on an 8-hour schedule, you can vary e-mail reading, with social media interaction and article submission. Even if you are working a specific amount of hours a day, you can make exceptions, because in the end flexibility is what working from home is all about. If you find new and interesting opportunities, why not take advantage of them?
Last but not least, don’t forget to take short breaks once every two hours, to clear your head. When you are on a break, make sure that you stop thinking about work, at least for five minutes. You should also take one larger break during lunch-time, and go out. This will not only help you to disconnect from your work but also help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.