Today, more people than ever before are facing the challenges of working from home. Even though working from home does give a few benefits, it can still be difficult to figure out things like when and where to work, not to mention how to keep distractions to a minimum. If figuring all that out has been a challenge, the best thing you can do for yourself is to learn from the work-at-home experts. We’ve compiled some of the best advice in the industry and combined them into five tips you can use to stay more focused and productive as you work at home.
Tip #1: Establish Routines
When working outside the home, people tend to develop routines that help them get ready for their workday. Even something as simple as driving to work can help trigger your brain that it is time to switch into work mode. Because of this, one of the best things you can do to help you be productive while working from home is to establish a set of routines.
Make an effort to prepare for work at the same time and in the same way every morning. It may help to have a dedicated home office so that even though your “commute” is just a short walk down the hall, you still get the benefits of that routine. Also, if you’ve got a workspace that is set up and ready for you to get started, that can help you stay focused.
Tip #2: Schedule Everything
It may seem unusual at first, but one of the most important ways to be productive while working from home is to set and stick to a schedule each day. In some ways, working from home is even harder than working in a regular office because often you are the only one holding yourself accountable. At the same time, your daily schedule must include things like breaks for meals and other commitments in your life. Taking care of your mental, physical, and emotional health is just as important while working from home as it would be working anywhere else.
Tip #3: Set Goals
Along with creating a schedule, one of the best ways to stay on task while working from home is to set goals for yourself. Setting goals is one of the tools that the pros use all of the time, not just for the big stuff. Some of your goals may be the big-picture type, while others may be smaller.
On the off chance, you are working on a large project, it can help to break it down into smaller tasks, and then put in a goal for when each task will be completed. If you are working as part of a group, this can be a very helpful way to keep all group members accountable and the whole project moving forward.
Tip #4: Set Clear Boundaries
One of the most problematic parts of working from home is that there are so many distractions. This is especially true if you share your living space with other people, but even pets, neighbors, and the media can infringe on your work time. If you find yourself tempted to do nonwork tasks or scroll through social media when you should be doing other work, it’s important to do whatever it takes to move those things outside of your workspace for the period of your scheduled day. If you find friends or even coworkers are part of the problem, you could also create a shared calendar with your availability blocked out. Setting clear boundaries can help others in your life understand that just because you are working from home does not mean that they can interrupt you at any time.
Tip #5: Communicate Effectively
Working remotely can have a serious impact on your ability to communicate effectively with your clients, coworkers, and others. Because you are not in the same office space together, that creates new challenges when it comes to communicating well. While email and instant messaging applications are helpful, they are not the only way to connect from a distance.
Today’s technology has many great options for maintaining a degree of visibility, even when you are miles apart. Video conferencing can be a very effective tool for collaborations, meetings, and other tasks. The secret is to use different digital tools in specific, effective ways so that you remain present and communicative in your work.
Despite the challenges that come with working from home, by following these tips, you can better set yourself up for long-term success.
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