Have you managed to escape the office grind? A work at home job is often viewed as a dream job since you don’t have to worry about a long commute, a dress code or coworkers. Whether you’re creating your own online courses, consulting, blogging with Wealthy Affiliate or in the process of launching your own small business you have to set your own schedule and stick to it. This can be difficult when personal obligations seem like they keep getting in the way of work. Or perhaps you’re finding it difficult to not get sucked into watching the new Netflix show you’ve discovered while doing a load of laundry. Such distractions are easy to ignore when you are clocked in somewhere and you’re working in an office.
While it’s easy to have a cheat day when you don’t have a supervisor to report to, not adhering to a schedule will affect your income in the long run. How can you stay focused when you work from home full time? Check out some of these tips.
1. Set up a dedicated work space
Working from the comfort of your bed or couch just won’t cut it if you’re having difficulties staying focused. Whether it’s a nook in the kitchen or a spare bedroom converted into a sprawling office, having a dedicated work space is crucial. Your work space should include a desk and all the other office essentials so that you really feel as if you’re stepping into “the office”. I set up a fairly minimalistic stand-up desk in the living room so I have more natural light and my dog can sleep by me. Just like your bedroom is reserved for sleeping the office should be strictly dedicated to working since you’ll be spending a lot of time in this area and it’s an extension of your life, go ahead and make this space pretty.
2. Establish working hours
Doing work or completing projects sporadically throughout the day is no way to run a successful business or generate a steady income. Therefore, creating a schedule of your working hours will help you stay focused because you’ll know what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable during that allotted time. Household chores, spending time with friends and running errands will have to wait before or after working hours. If you’re having trouble finding that extra boost of motivation, check out how to trigger productive behavior.
3. Dress for success
You don’t have to put on a three-piece suit or throw on a pair of heels but you should find a happy medium. I go with denim and a tee or a work out get up. Getting dressed in the morning will help you get in a business mindset. Don’t work in pajamas! Setting your clothes out the night before is truly motivating. Brushing your teeth and combing your hair are all simple habits that will enable you to put your professional chops on so that you can get some work done.
4. Set boundaries with your friends and families
When you work from home people tend to think that you have free time and that your just chilling at home. It’s important to let the people in your life know that you are actually at work and that you can’t be disturbed doing the specified hours. Avoid accepting lunch invitations, visitors and even phone calls during your work hours. Don’t be afraid to let others know your limitations and don’t make compromises unless it’s an emergency. As you consistently communicate your expectations and stick to them, you train people to respect your work time. I keep my phone on silent while I’m working.
5. Steer clear of procrastination
When you are your own boss it’s easy to put things off until the evening. Putting things off until later often turns into the next day. Before you know it, days will have passed and you still haven’t completed the project or made that important phone call. When you procrastinate you risk losing out on what could have been a ludicrous opportunity for your business. It also causes stress when you must rush to meet a deadline. There all kinds of techniques that you can employ to avoid wasting time by procrastinating. Prioritize your most important tasks and create daily work schedule of tasks you need to complete by the end of each working day.
If you’re having trouble, check this out.
6. Complete household chores later
It might be tempting to run the dishwasher or the washing machine while you work but doing so can interrupt your flow. Household chores can easily take over the entire day. Your best bet is to set aside a specific time to spend doing chores each day rather than casually mixing them into your work routine.
7. Take a break
Working all day and into the night isn’t healthy especially if you’re not taking breaks. Be sure to step away from the computer screen and take mini breaks throughout the day. Walk the treadmill or get a work out in. I usually take a 90-min lunch to include the gym. Breaks and exercise are necessary because they are re-energizing and boosts dopamine.
8. Schedule a day off or two
All work and no play is no way to live. Sometimes when you work for yourself it may feel as if you’re always working. Balance is key for being successful at working from home. Working all the time will eventually lead to burnout. That’s why you should schedule a day off or two each week. Work is prohibited on these days off. Last week, I drove up to Laguna to my favorite beach. Take the time to be present and appreciate the world. Plus, there’s probably over 500 steps leading down to this gem so I got in some exercise too. 🙂
9. Make human contact
Working from home can get a bit lonely sometimes. In fact, it’s natural to begin missing the typical workplace chatter in the lunchroom. If you are craving some human contact, consider working from your favorite coffee shop a couple of days out of the week. Also, scheduling in some social time during the day even if it’s just a phone call. It’s a great way to stay connected to people.
10. Formulate a plan to reach long term goals
What are your end goals? When you work from home for yourself it’s easy to get stuck in the rut of just keeping your business afloat. However, developing an actionable plan for expanding your business and reaching yearly goals will help you remain motivated and productive.
Yes, finding your work at home groove often requires experimentation and time. When you create an environment that fosters creativity and fits your individual needs, you’ll stay focused on building your empire.