Most people love the idea of working from home. When you do work from home, you cut out commute time, you can stay in your pajamas and you can walk right into your own kitchen for lunch. It seems like working from home, in an isolated environment, would be ideal for productivity but working at home does come with its own set of challenges. How can we really increase our work from home productivity?
Here are the top 10 distractions and ways you can avoid them to increase work from home productivity.
Hitting the Snooze Button
Working from home allows you to sleep until the very last minute. The problem with having the freedom to wake up when you please is that you may begin to push back your start time. This either shortens your working hours or extends your work day into your night routine or family time. Instead of pressing snooze, try sticking to a standard time to begin your work day. When your alarm goes off, get out of bed and get ready. Have a routine; wash your face, brush your teeth and treat your work day the same as if you were commuting to an office.
Tending to Family Obligations
Working from home can have its perks. Before you sign on to your computer, you can throw in the load of laundry that’s been sitting at the end of your bed or you can have dinner cooking in the crockpot so it’s ready when everyone else gets home. You have the ability to tend to family obligations but if you allow yourself to be distracted all the time it will start adding up and eventually cut into your productivity. Set specific office hours and make it clear to the others in your household that you have to adhere to these hours and you cannot be expected to tend to household tasks while you’re working.
Getting Caught Up in Social Media
Social media; catching up on TV shows, checking Facebook and texting—as humans, we love screens. Don’t make a habit out of turning the TV on in the morning. Set up an area of your home that is for office work only. Allow yourself breaks throughout the day to check your social media and stick to your break times. If you wouldn’t chat on your cell phone in an office, don’t do it in your home office.
Personal Phone Calls
Taking personal calls can be a huge time waster. When people know you’re at home, they may try to call you for favors or just to chat. Try to avoid answering the phone if it’s not business related or keep the conversation to a minimum. If you can, let personal calls go to voicemail and call the person back during breaks or after business hours.
Pack a Lunch
Alright, maybe don’t pack it in a lunchbox, but prepare your meals the same way you would if you were working outside of the home. When you don’t have meals planned out, you can easily get stuck roaming the kitchen looking for the right thing to eat. If you set aside food and stick to your lunch hour, you’ll have time to eat and relax!
Create a Balance
If you work too long without ever taking a break, you could end up taking an extra long break when you finally stop. Create a balance, breaks are important even if you work from home and you should follow the standard labor laws; a fifteen-minute break every four hours or a half hour break if you work for six hours or more. Get up from your desk, take a walk, and d0 not think about work. Give yourself time to reset, then go back into your office refreshed and ready to be productive.
Work From Home, in an Office
When you work from home, it can be tempting to open your laptop in bed or sit on the couch to get your work done. The problem with this is, you are more inclined to slack off or space out. If you’re sitting on the couch, you might turn on the television and get distracted. If you’re sitting in bed, you’re in the wrong posture to stay productive! Make sure you have an actual space for your work. Sitting in a chair with your feet flat on the ground is ideal for maintaining a working mindset and will improve your work from home productivity.
Read this insightful blog about setting up your home office: Working from Home: Setting up Your Home Office as an IA
Set the Right Location
When deciding where to set up your home office, keep in mind that facing your desk toward a window that overlooks a busy street will most likely distract you. Be sure to decide on a calm, quiet area that promotes a working mindset. Set yourself up for success.
Having flexibility when you work from home is a privilege, and with privilege comes responsibility. If you constantly interrupt your work day, your productivity will suffer. Create a schedule that allows you time to run errands during your break. Many people that work in offices use their lunch break to do errands, it’s very common. If you worked in an office, you’d be sure to keep your errands short to avoid going outside of your lunch hour. Stick to that principle when you work from home too.
Stick to Organization
The best way to guarantee success when you work from your home office is to stay organized. Make a list of things you’d like to accomplish during your workday. Manage your time and check in every couple of hours to see what you’ve done and what you have left to do. Use reminder tools like your calendar alarm to help you transition from one task to the next so you’re balancing the workflow.
Working at home can be rewarding but it can also be quite a challenge. It takes discipline and personal accountability to accomplishment the same level of productivity working from home, that you would in an office. Hopefully, these tips will help you maximize your time and increase your work from home productivity.