Working at home is great because you don’t have to worry about a commute, you can wear whatever you want, and you are in complete control of your workday. However, working from home does present challenges that make it difficult to stay organized and productive. Take a look at these six ways to eliminate distractions and get your work done faster.
Choose a Productive Place to Do Your Work
Some people find that a traditional desk in a quiet area is the best place to work. This is definitely the case for people who get distracted easily, but I think the most important thing to consider when choosing a workspace is your comfort. Personally, I like to move around to different places during the day.
You just have to find a place that works for you where you are productive and organized. If that means sitting on the couch with your kids playing nearby, great! If it means you need a home office where you can shut the door, that’s fine, too.
Set Your Work Hours
One of the hardest things about working from home is trying to separate work life from home life. Setting specific work hours can help you find the divide so you don’t feel like you’re working all the time.
After you’ve been working at home for a while, you’ll start to notice peak hours when you’re the most productive. This might be 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. after your kids have gone to bed or normal business hours of 8 to 5. It doesn’t really matter when you work, but you should try to find a time when you have the least amount of distractions and when you’re the most productive. Then, don’t work at other times of the day.
Get Dressed Before You Work
I’ll admit that oftentimes I don’t go take a shower until after lunch because I know I don’t have to. That’s one of the perks of working from home. However, I don’t recommend making this a habit. I find that I am more productive when I get showered and dressed early.
Being dressed for the day puts you in a more productive mood and also makes you feel more professional. It also makes it easier to pick up and run errands if you need to. Plus, scheduling time to get dressed prevents you from wasting time.
Schedule Time for Housework
One of the biggest distractions of working from home is housework. For instance, you might go to the kitchen for a glass of water but get distracted by the pile of dirty dishes in the sink. Next thing you know, an hour of valuable work time has gone by because you’ve been cleaning. That’s why I suggest scheduling time to do housework. Basically, this means that you don’t clean or organize anything in your house unless it is during those designated hours. This will help you stay focused on your work and keep a separation from your home life.
I have an especially hard time with this one because I get distracted when things are dirty — it’s an OCD tendency. So, I try to schedule time in the evening, right before I go to bed, to tidy up. That way things are nice and clean when I wake up and start to work. If I don’t have time at night, I try to clean up the house before I start working.
Tell People You Aren’t Available
People don’t always understand what it means when you tell them you’re working from home. They assume it is great because you can still keep your house clean and watch your kids. You have no idea how many times I have been asked to babysit simply because I work from home. Babysitting is a lot of work, and something I have a very hard time doing if I have to work.
Watching your own kids is one thing because you can teach them how to behave when you’re on the phone with clients and they will eventually learn how to entertain themselves while you’re typing away at your computer. However, babysitting throws off your entire work schedule because those kids haven’t been trained. So, make sure your friends and family know that you aren’t available to babysit because you are “working,” not simply “at home.”
Create To-Do Lists and Take Breaks
Working from home requires a lot of organization and dedication. However, you have to balance this with breaks to walk around and get snacks. You can help yourself get things done by creating to-do lists. I find it’s best to focus on one task at a time because my thoughts aren’t all over the place. Working from home does require the ability to multitask, but not at the sake of productivity.
The most important thing to remember is to be flexible. There are always distractions and things that arise when you work at home that wouldn’t happen if you worked in an office. Therefore, you may need to make adjustments to your schedule on a daily or weekly basis.
What are the biggest challenges you face while working from home and what do you do to stay productive? Leave a comment below.