I have a full-time gig that I work everyday, but once I come home, there is still plenty of work to be done. Eventually I would like to work for myself full-time and not have other obligations but for now this is my situation. Working from home can be great, but there are other distractions that get in your way. It's important whether you work out of your home full-time or only two hours a day, that you set a list of boundaries and guidelines. These are the top 10 I have found to be most helpful.
01 | Create a workspace . This is oh so very important. Especially for me, someone who is very visual. If you are working from home either part-time or full-time be sure to create a space that is specially yours. It can be an entire room, a nook in the kitchen, or a desk in the family room. Whatever it is make the space yours, and only yours. Use colors and patterns that inspire you, get fresh flowers regularly for your desk, have an inspiration board. Do whatever you can to create a welcoming and creative space for yourself so you can get down to business when the time comes.
02 | Get dressed. This isn't typically a problem for me because when I work from home, it's after typical business hours and I am already dressed from my day job. I don't know about y'all, but when I look good, I feel good. You don't have to spend an hour getting ready each day, but for Heaven's sake, get out of your PJs. Pajamas say, let's be lazy and stay under the covers. Dressing yourself will help to get in the mindset needed to be productive.
03 | Remove distractions. Turn the TV off. I know that your favorite Real Housewives may be on, but DVR that smut. Just the background noise can make your mind wander and help you to lose focus. Instead, choose a genre of music that really gets the inspiration flowing. Also, be sure to make your family and friends aware of your office hours (more on this below). It can be kind of hard to draw the line when working from home, especially for you mompreneurs out there, but it's important to your productivity.
04 | Set office hours. Setting office hours may help a little with drawing the line I was talking about in No. 3. If you set a certain amount of hours at the same time each day then friends and family will know you are working and will hopefully respect your home work hours the way you do their at-work work hours. This is also good for yourself since when you're at home its easy to keep pushing through until your finished. During your set office hours, push through that to-do list. When your office hours are over, shut down the computer and concentrate on the other life responsibilities you have.
05 | Make a list of set goals to accomplish. Having a list of set goals you want to accomplish each day will extremely help your productivity. If you know exactly what you want to accomplish, you can stay focused and keep hustling until you are able to mark off each one of those tasks. I don't know about you, but I sincerely enjoy checking off things from my to-do lists! It's the little things!
06 | Stay organized. Ha. I am giggling to myself as I type this, but I really do mean it. I am not the most organized person. In fact I am terribly unorganized - to the untrained eye, that is. I myself like to call it organized chaos! :) But in all seriousness, if piles of junk and clutter invade my workspace, I find that I am easily distracted. I can't seem to stay focused on the task at hand and instead find myself thinking about everything but.
07 | Switch it up. Don't be afraid to head to your local coffee shop or Panera Bread. In college, I used to head to Panera or the library to get my work done. I found that when I was outside of the comfort of my couch, I stayed focused, mostly because I wanted to get it done and go home to hang out with my roommates. I still find that to be true today. If I am up for a deadline and I just can't seem to stay focused, I will leave the house. Sometimes all you need is another environment to get you back on track.
08 | Take breaks. When you are working from home it can be easy to just grab a quick snack for lunch or dinner and head right back to your computer. If you were working in an office for someone else, you would take a full hour for your lunch or 15 minutes for a break. It's important to do the same when working for yourself. It's crucial to give your brain the break it needs in order to return refreshed, focused, and ready to complete work.
09 | Know when to step away from the computer. As I said before, set office hours, and when your day is over, be done. Use your work hours for work-related items and the rest of your time for personal tasks, such as making the bed, running to the grocery, taking a shower, or spending time with friends and family.
10 | Set yourself up for success. Be sure to keep plenty of stamps and stationery around. You never know when you will need to mail a bill or send a thank you note. Keeping the proper supplies around can save you a lot of time as well as make life easier. Also, take the time at the end of the day to prepare for the next. Get all of those 'to-do's' floating around in your head down onto paper. By creating a game plan you will be able to get right to work without much thought and without fear of forgetting something from the day before.
There ya have it! My list - mostly compiled by trial and error - for creating a productive work-from-home environment. You will find things that work for you and things that don't, but it's important to pay attention and know what environment you work best in. Just because you work from home, doesn't mean you can't be productive.