6 Ways To Be More Productive Working From Home
Running a home-based business is proving to be the perfect solution for an increasing number of people worldwide. Generating a full-time income from the comfort of your own home (or other preferred location), with no daily commute, no boss to report to and no office to be at between specified times each day. It’s the flexible work model that modern-thinking people of all ages are striving for today.
Our entrepreneurs are already enjoying the benefits that working from home offers, but here’s a word of caution; there are pitfalls that can affect productivity and, ultimately, the success of your home-based business. The good news is that these are easily avoidable by observing a few basic rules.
1. Create an office space within your home. Running your business from home can be a great feeling, but your working environment also needs to feel professional. It needs to inspire you, to promote productivity and to make you feel like an achiever. Create a space in your home that is exclusively for work and don’t perform any other tasks there. It could be a spare bedroom converted into an office, or just a designated work station in a quiet room. It’s the place where you’re in charge, you’re the boss; it’s where your empire is built. It’s important to create that separation between work and home life. A designated workspace will help to create that defining line and allow you to focus on business related tasks once you are in that space.
2. Be selective about what you wear. An old mentor of mine had an office at the bottom of his garden. Even when working from home, he would still dress in a shirt and tie because he felt more professional. He knew that this helped him to think more professionally, achieve more and deliver a better quality service. This is very similar to the strategy of ‘power dressing’, only it is your own behaviour that is being influenced. It doesn’t have to be a sharp suit, but be sure to wear something that makes you feel professional, in control and like an achiever.
3. Turn off the radio and television. Television and radio are both a convenient means of escape from the things that we should be focusing on. Television is the worst, of course, as it demands visual as well as audible attention and many people tend to leave their set on just to provide background noise. As well as the distraction, there is also the subliminal issue. The entire aim of commercial television is to make you feel dissatisfied with your life, a situation that can be easily remedied by buying the products on offer. So if you want to remain focused and not subliminally brainwashed into becoming a mindless consumer, then press the ‘off’ switch and stick the remote in a drawer.
4. Set specific times for lunch and coffee breaks. Office environments tend to provide some structure with regard to breaks. Lunch and coffee breaks are either scheduled for specific times, or we follow the trend of colleagues as they take their regular breaks. Working from home can be a bit of a detached environment and so it is important to apply some patterned structure to your day. There are actually two pitfalls here. The first is taking frequent and extended breaks, allowing them to provide a means of escape from dealing with important tasks. The second is feeling overloaded with work, succumbing to panic and not taking breaks at all. Studies show that productive work sessions are ideally around 90 minutes long, with short breaks in between (no more than 20 minutes). These times best suit our natural energy cycles and allow us to maintain clearer focus, higher energy and better productivity.
5. Plan and prioritise. One of the most common sources of stress is information overload caused by the perception that you’ve simply got too much to do. And being obsessed about it will just make things worse. Instead, choose just one or two tasks that, if done today, would move you closer to your goals. Do those tasks first and enjoy the sense of achievement. Anything else that you manage to complete in addition to these will be a bonus.
6. Avoid social social media. No, this is not a typo, I did write the word ‘social’ twice. Social media use, whether it’s posting, tweeting or just browsing, is addictive and can quickly become a huge distraction from completing productive tasks. Increasingly more businesses, however, rely on social media sites as marketing platforms. So, when you are working on business tasks, ensure that you draw a line between what’s business social media and what’s social social media.
Dedicated to your success,
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