Tips For Staying Productive While Working At Home
Written by Tim on April 17, 2013
Starting your own home business sounds like a dream job. You have probably heard about the ideal conditions before. After all, working from home would free you of demanding bosses and annoying coworkers. Finally, you would be able to use your own skills when and where you thought that they were necessary to succeed.
Perhaps you have even started down this road and already work from home. If that is the case, you have probably already run into some disillusionment. As it turns out, it takes quite a bit of self-discipline to manage your own business. While any small business owner in a previous age could have told you the same, the Internet has made it possible for many people to start their own businesses completely out of the public eye. Without the pressure of going into your own store, it can be very difficult to generate and maintain the energy that it takes while surrounded by the many distractions of your home.
Fortunately, overcoming those distractions is not impossible. There are legions of successful stay-at-home moms and other web entrepreneurs who have created their own profitable businesses without walking out the front door every day.
Here are some tips to help you walk in their shoes…
The first most important tip is the no-pajama rule. People often refer to the idea of working in their pajamas as if that was an ideal condition for work. Actually, the temptation to use the same relaxed attitude that you usually maintain at home while you work is lethal to business success.
Whatever your line of work, make sure that you have some sort of work outfit that you rely on whenever it is time to start working. You do not need to make yourself as uncomfortable as your job did and put on a business suit with dress shoes. However, you need to have some sort of physical cue in your dress that tells your brain that it is time to work. This cue can be as simple as putting your tennis shoes on or wearing a button-down shirt.
Now that you have something to wear, when are you going to wear it? You should not feel restricted to certain hours of work. After all, that is one reason that you left the rat race. However, some sort of regular schedule will do wonders for your productivity. Sitting around and waiting for the muse is unlikely to work on a day-to-day basis. Feel free to work outside your regular hours but try to stick to a schedule and have an appointed time for beginning work every day.
Define your work space. This piece of advice has two dimensions. First, you need to define where you work for yourself. In the same way that you use clothing and the clock as cues for your brain, you also need to use a certain space in the house. This does not mean that you cannot have sudden inspirations in the kitchen or in the bedroom and write them down. However, you need some sort of space to help yourself slide into your work habits every day.
Now that you have set aside the space, keep it as clean as possible. Plenty of geniuses have cluttered desks but you should not keep a dirty desk on purpose. Those geniuses were successful in spite of their clutter, not because of it.
This work space also has to be clear to your family. They need to understand, as much as they can, that when you are in a certain space during a certain time and dressed a certain way, that you are at work. You are not available as Mom or Dad or Wife or Husband unless it is an emergency. Obviously, those of you who work at home with small children have to adapt these rules but you should always strive to create an atmosphere of respect for your work. This is a real job and the money you make is real income.
Make a to-do list and stick to it as much as possible. Some of these tasks will be offline things that you have to do. These can be hard to complete because you will be tempted, during of-moments, to simply surf the net and get distracted. Use the to-do list to keep yourself focused on your business.
Speaking of surfing the net, remember to take time away from the computer screen. You will need to take breaks eventually. No matter how hard you want to work, you will need to rest. Do not rest by watching videos or scrolling through the news. Step up and walk away from the computer. Get a drink of water. Look out the window. You may want to schedule breaks or simply walk away for a minute every time that you complete some small task.
Take larger breaks at the end of the day or during your days off. Include human interaction with these breaks, schedule periodic days away from the computer entirely. While it may be necessary to work odd hours and break away from relaxation to take care of minor issues sometimes, you must also have periods of time that are absolutely sacred and untouchable. This is crucial for your mental well-being as well as your productivity.
Communicate with other people in the same business as you are in or who stay home to work, at least. People in regular 9-to-5 jobs get more out of trips to the water cooler than hydration. They also brainstorm and get ideas from other people. Sometimes this happens on purpose and sometimes it is just a chance occurrence. Working at home and alone, you will not have this opportunity.
Self-discipline is a much more demanding part of working at home than the actual skills and knowledge that you will need. Plenty of people have knowledge about a variety of subjects. The will to use that knowledge and earn money from it must be acquired through experience.