Whichever category you fall in to, if you work from home it can be hard to stay productive and focused, 100% of the time.
Like me, you may have an unhealthy addiction to reality TV, possibly easily distracted (“oh look! The cat just licked her paw again – I should Instagram that”), or you simply find it hard to concentrate amongst the chaos of little ones or a footy-watching husband on the couch.
Whatever your challenges, here are my 8 top tips for working from home so you stay focused and productive:
1. Allocate “create don’t consume” time
Regular readers will know that I’m trying in earnest to operate on a “create don’t consume” philosophy whenever possible.
It’s easy to get in to “consumption” mode where we watch, read or listen more than we are creating and outputting for our business.
Allocate time in your day where the TV, social media, emails and phone gets turned off so you can concentrate and create.
2. Don’t skimp on the tech stuff
If you’re working from home, you’re probably relying on the wonders of modern technology to communicate with your team, run your business and sell from your desk.
Imagine how much your day would be impacted if your computer packed it in and you didn’t have a back up of your data, or if you’re skimping on the computer upgrade which may save a few dollars but decreases your productivity.
Don’t get me wrong – this isn’t a licence to buy the entire Apple store on some reckless spending spree – but make sure you understand what you need to help you produce and do more.
3. Dress up & show up
With my fashion background I’m a firm believer of getting dressed up, even if no one is watching. There’s something about getting dressed that makes you take the day more seriously.
While I don’t totter around the house in high heels all day, changing out of my PJ’s and slapping on a little lippy makes me feel like I have “officially” started the working day.
4. Use productivity tools to stay connected
If you have a virtual or remote team, you need to stay connected. Just because they aren’t there doesn’t mean you get to hermit-crab and not communicate.
Use the many free productivity tools that are out there (my current favourite is Asana which lets you allocate and manage tasks with your virtual team) to manage your workload, communicate with your team and know where all your projects are at.
5. Pick up the phone
Yes, occasionally to achieve the best outcome you’ll need to slink out from behind those emails and pick up the phone.
Speak to them in person to resolve an issue, make a connection, follow up a client or proposal rather than leaving it all to be dealt with via email.
6. Create a work space
You’ll find your productivity increases when you have everything you need in the one space.
Don’t have a dedicated home office or study? No problem.
You can still create a “space” where you can collate everything you need to work effectively so that it’s in the one spot.
For example – get a big plastic wheely box to house your current projects, folders, paperwork, stationery – so even if your “office” is normally the dining table, you can easily pack everything away in to your box and then pull it out quickly & easily again the next day.
This helps you to get more productive in the morning as everything’s at your fingertips while not turning parts of your home in to a permanent office.
7. Know when to clock-off for the day
It’s often easy to just “keep going” when you work from home. There’s no “end time” to your day as you could literally keep going for hours – after all, everything is just right there.
I am the no 1 victim of this because I find it all to easy to just “finish one little thing” or to “quickly check [email / project / social media / website]”.
I’m trying now to clock-off at a certain time in the day and be fully present for my household after that.
8. Sometimes you’ve got to get out there.
Working from home is one of those flexible, lifestyle perks that we love. But it can sometimes be isolating and lonely.
Get out there. Meet other entrepreneurs. Go to a live training event rather than doing everything virtually.
Make it a point to attend networking events. It may be scary to go alone at first, but getting to events (I regularly attend Business In Heels events so you’ll probably find me at one of those) is a way to talk, laugh and meet new people that are all (not surprisingly) also looking for a little support and companionship.
This is YOUR space
Finally – you’re HERE. Right in this place, this blog.
This is a space that I’ve created for entrepreneurs like you and me to connect beyond the walls of our home — so leave a comment below or join me on my Facebook page. Meet some new friends in this space + community.
And if you’ve got some top tips for working from home that you’d like to share, let me know in the comments area below!