Working at home seems like the ideal job. Where else can you do your work in your pajamas and step out on the deck for a cup of coffee? However, these very perks can be the downside of working at home. If you’re not careful, you could spend more time doing other things around the house and not fully utilizing your work hours in the day. Here are a few tips for staying focused while working at home.
Get Organized & Work Without Distraction
Set Up a Strict Schedule – Create a daily sign in sheet and sign in when you start working. Just like in the office, “punch in” and “punch out” when you are working or taking a break. Designate time for working on each aspect of your project, leaving time for interruptions. For example, leave time for household chores or errands or time to check mail. The important thing is to limit the time you spend on these activities. Don’t let checking mail turn into surfing the internet for hours.
Limit Phone Calls – Ideally, a second line for business calls will prevent interruption for personal calls. If this is not possible, program your phone for individualized rings. This will let you know if it’s your child’s school or just a telemarketer. In this way, you can screen non-urgent calls. Invest in a small kitchen timer and limit calls to ten minutes. When the time is up, the timer will buzz and you have the perfect excuse to end the call.
Turn Off the TV – Daytime TV can become addictive, including news shows. If there is a show you like, record it for viewing after work hours.
Restrict the number of household chores – Its tempting to tackle a project that is staring you in the face. But tackling a big job can eat away at your work time. Try simple chores that take no more than ten or twenty minutes, like loading the dishwasher or putting clothes in the dryer. If there is a bigger job, break it down into smaller segments and work on it a little each day.
Get Out of the House – Working at home can be isolating and without outside stimulation, you may find your productivity waning. Go out for lunch, just like you would if you were working in the office. Meet a friend for a quick cup of coffee. You might also try packing up your laptop and working in the library. This will put you in the company of other people and may help to stimulate your thoughts. The library will also give you a chance to use reference books and magazines and give you a break from staring at the computer screen.
Working at home can be an ideal situation. But just like any job, you have to set up a routine that allows you to enjoy the benefits of both worlds.
Andy works from his home office where he manages Finance Choices, a comparison website based in the UK where he has reviewed many of the best credit cards for rebuilding a damaged credit score as well as many other credit card offers available from a range of banks and building societies.