Whether you're a freelancer, small business owner or employee, working from home can be quite an adjustment. It's easy to get distracted by laundry or other household to-do's and you're probably reading this because you know that already. With a couple of tweaks to your routine, you may find that you're more productive working from home than the office.
Here are tips to stay productive when you work from home.
Create a Work-Only Space
Just as you would in an office environment, set up a space in your home where you can work free from distraction. If you can close a door and leave the chores on the other side - even better! If not, find an area where you can focus and won't be tempted to turn on the TV or run the vacuum. With this dedicated work environment, you can concentrate your attention on the task at hand or tackle a task that is too demanding in a loud office environment.
Find Your Productivity Sweet Spot
Everyone has different times of the day where they feel most productive. Some people are early-risers and prefer to get their day started before anyone else wakes up. Others may work into the night, again without interruption from partners or kids. Your productivity sweet spot may be from 10 am until 3 pm. Working from home, you can figure out what works best for you.
Set a Work/Non-Work Routine
Once you have an idea of your most productive working hours, build a routine around them. Prepare for work about a half hour or hour before, just as you would before going into the office. Get dressed, have a meal or something that will put you in the right mindset. Remember to take short breaks for meals, to move about or just to rest your eyes. Then, when your hours are over, close up shop, if possible. Take the time to spend with your family or yourself, to stay healthy and balanced. Let clients know when you're available to answer calls and emails.
See also: How to Set Boundaries with Clients
Spend Time with Humans
Stay connected with co-workers. Plan bi-weekly lunches with colleagues. Invest in technology that will help you communicate with clients. Get out and work in the library or a coffee shop. It's really easy to feel isolated when you're working from home. If you are able to still work with clients or co-workers in person, even if it's once a month, the human interaction will do wonders for you.
With this structure in place, you may find that you're able to get more done in less time. Instead of office mates visiting your desk to shoot the breeze, you'll be focused and productive. And, as a bonus, you can still throw in that load of laundry before work.... just don't fold it until you're done for the day.