Working from home is great! You get to keep your own hours, wear what you want, do away with the daily commute to work, and even work without having to wear a pair of pats if that’s how you roll. If you don’t do it right, however, you might end up worse than before as will have to deal with low motivation at times, people who assume that you are available any time just because your work from home, and all the other fine distraction a home has, such as your TV and the internet. But done right, it is the perfect balance of a laid back, yet productive schedule. Here are some things you’ll have to keep in mind:
Distractions will always be there
Not just at home, but in the office as well, in the form of an overly chatty colleague for example. You will get distracted once in a while, but don’t get discouraged, and as soon as you’re done, get right to work and try to make up for the wasted time the next day. Fortunately for you, being at home gives you more control over your environment. Simply shutting the door, of your office works wonders, as does occasionally disconnecting from the internet when you are on hard core project finishing mode. Another way would be to control how available you are to others. Don’t accept communication from your personal phone or email, and let other people know what your hours are, but well get to that later.
Figure out your Routine
While working at home gives you a very flexible schedule, you should still stick to having a loosely structured day. It doesn’t have to be super rigid, and you can let it gradually build up. An example would be to simply check mails and do light tasks on your first hour until your brain is in proper work mode. A good schedule is all about balance and while you should give yourself ample time for meals, rest and personal things, you should remember that you’re not on vacation, so whatever helps you get into the work mindset, such as perhaps changing into “work clothes” by all means go for it. Conversely your, job should ideally not take up the better part of the day. Take a few breaks, perhaps a 5 minute break every hour, a lunch break, and maybe one or two longer breaks to step away from the desk a while. Do not forget to end your day as well. Have a set quitting time so you won’t find yourself working until the late hours of the night.
Let other People know your Schedule
Since you live where you work, you might end up getting calls at 10pm for questions and clarifications, or get bothered by the people at home for errands. Make people aware of your working schedule and when you are available for them. For after office hours and weekends, direct your clients and colleagues to your email.
Learn when to Disconnect
Nowadays people are constantly connected and available by some form of communication or other, whether it is via email, cell phone or VoIP service. But just because you can be available 24-7, does not mean you have to be.
Keep an Organized Office
Home or not, you are still running a professional operation, and part of that is keeping a clean neat and organized work space. An organized office encourages an efficient work flow, and saves you precious time and effort since everything you need is at hand or can easily be found. Have a system for storing both paper and digital files. This includes sorting your email inbox into several folders, keeping a file cabinet, and looking into cloud storage for your digital files.