Do you work from home? Have a home office? According to recent studies, you are not alone. One in three workers in the United States is now considered a freelancer. They accounted for 34 per cent of the workforce in 2014, up from 31 per cent in 2006.
With the population moving towards freelancing, more and more people are setting up base at home. While this seems like a great idea, we often become complacent when there is no one else around to drive us. Complacency leads to lower productivity which can ultimately lead to failure.
Here are a few ways to help stay on top of your game, ensuring that you remain productive while working from your home office.
1. Find a comfortable place to work
First things first, you must have a comfortable place to work. It must be a place where you feel good working, as well as a private location where you won’t be disturbed. Nothing is more difficult than trying to wrangle your kids while concentrating on your computer screen.
2. Set your office up properly
Don’t simply slap a computer on an old desk and expect to be productive. Go out and get a work station that accommodates your needs. You can find great and inexpensive office furniture at places like Ikea or even pick up some used furniture on Craigslist. Nothing is more important than a comfortable chair as you will be spending quite a bit of time in it. Ensure the lighting is also sufficient or you could get tired quickly and also cause damage to your eyes.
3. Get rid of the clutter
Because we work from home, cleanliness is not always on our mind as it would be in a professional office environment. After all, we can be ourselves at home and don’t have to worry about clients seeing our office space. I highly recommend that you get in the habit of cleaning your home office daily to get rid of the clutter. There is nothing more rewarding than sitting down at a clean desk in the morning. It is motivating and helps you with productivity throughout the day.
4. Decorate. Yes, decorate
Most of us are not interior designers, but decorating helps with us feeling more comfortable in our environment, ultimately leading to more productivity. You don’t necessarily need to pick fresh flowers every morning, but hanging pictures of family always helps. You can use websites such as Photos.com to add some inexpensive canvas to the walls to make it feel like you are in more of a professional office environment too.
5. Time management is a must
Time management has never been more important than when working from home. There are many distractions and no bosses looking over your shoulder which means you have to stay on task by yourself. I recommend using a task list on Microsoft Outlook to keep track of your to-do items, setting each one up with a reminder email for when it comes due. Also, use a timer or simple clock and allocate how much time you wish to spend on a task. This will show yourself how productive you are being plus serve as a reminder for time spent if you are a freelancer who charges by the hour.
6. Take breaks
While it is important to stay on task, it is also important to give yourself some time away from the home office. Schedule breaks as often as you need them and even incorporate some exercise time. You start to slow down after working for so many hours straight. Stand up and walk away to help rejuvenate and give yourself a clean start when you return. Breaks allow time for you to heal both physically and mentally which is an absolutely must if you want to stay productive.
7. Focus on that one thing
According to the New York Times best-seller The One Thing, you need to block out distractions and focus on a single task that you need to get done. Trying to do too many things at the same time can actually hinder your overall productivity. Focus on the one thing until you finish and then move onto the next. This will also help with your time management.
8. Dress for success
Just because you work from home does not mean you have to dress like it. While it sounds like a benefit to work in your pajamas, it can actually do more harm than good. A study published by the Journal of Experimental Psychology in 2014 detailed how people who dress for success actually are more successful than those who don’t. So, wake up in the morning, shower, and dress as if you are leaving the house.
A home office is not the place where we are normally the most productive. That is why it is important to find ways to help. A friend of mine even chose to set up his office in his unfinished basement. Not the ideal, but he was able to knock out half of these suggestions simply based on the location he chose.
Have any ideas on being more productive at home?