Working from home is absolutely amazing! Who doesn’t dream of that? Being able to work at home in my pajamas, in a totally relaxed environment, whenever I want to. Dreams do come true! But I have learned there are some steps to take to be the most productive while working at home. The drawback to working at home is that it is easy to slack off or be distracted. Here are my seven tips to help combat that so I can be the most productive at home.
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Create a workspace. I can’t stress this one enough, and that is why it is tip number one. Having a dedicated workspace is absolutely essential to productivity. I love the idea of working from my couch in my pajamas. Who doesn’t?! The problem with this is when a space is used for both working and relaxing, it isn’t enjoyable for either one. A desk and good office chair are essential. It doesn’t need to be elaborate or expensive, it just needs to be functional and fit your space.
I know when I leave my office and close that door, I am done with work. When I go sit on the couch to relax and watch TV, that is the task at hand. I can easily focus on each one and not trying to do both at the same time and doing poorly at both.
There is a certain formality to having a dedicated workspace, and that is my favorite part of it. Because it is much easier to be in the right mindset to being productive.
Keep the workspace organized and clean. Organization equals productivity. Repeat that one out loud with me, organization equals productivity. I always keep the middle of my desk completely open, that way I can set my laptop there when it is time to type, or a notepad when it is time to just brainstorm or research writing topics.
Whenever I am in a slump and not feeling productive, I start cleaning. Vacuum the floors, wipe down my desk, dust. A clean work space is a happy work space, and that transfers to me as well. These fabric storage bins are perfect for organization, and a trash can is another essential.
Make it a comfortable place. Having a comfortable work space means that you want to spend time there. I have decorated my office, I have my favorite candle so the room smells welcoming to me. Tigger even has a bed in here so that he can spend time with me while I am working. I find it relaxing to work and hear him snoring next to me. A favorite picture framed on the desk is a great simple option for adding comfort as well. I always bring my favorite coffee with me when I come into the office to work.
Have a routine and schedule. Working from home is a double edged sword because I can work whenever I want with no set time to show up or days off. Being my own boss is amazing, up until I’m not in the mood to work or I do it too much and am burnt out. That is why setting a schedule is so important to my productivity.
I tend to be the most productive in the middle of the night. There’s less distractions overall and it just works for me. I get Nathan out the door for work at night, feed Tigger, and then stop and settle for a bit. Once that is over, I go to work. This means I am making my coffee in my french press, I know where my glasses are, and it is time to go to my office. That is usually around 1am.
By 3-3:30am, it is time for a break and a snack. Another tip here is do not eat in your dedicated work space. My thought is that I have a dining room table or a couch for that. No need to dirty up my office to eat, and eating has nothing to do with working. Keep it out of there. Then I go back to work until 5am. My favorite person on the planet calls me around that time and we catch up on the day. After that I either go back to work or it is bedtime. That is the negotiable time for me, and it really depends on where I am in terms of how much I’ve accomplished already.
I rarely work during the day unless I am just itching to finish a project. Or it is a non-writing portion of a project, such as developing a recipe or a craft project. Something physical, I suppose. These are also portions of my writing that Nathan can help me with. I will happily work on those aspects of it with him, but I refuse to close myself off during the day to write. That is a strict rule for me, that I will not close myself off to write during the day.
Listen to music. I love my Amazon Echo for this, and it is hands-free. Simply tell it what to play, and I’m listening to whatever type of music suits my mood and helps me be productive. Music also mutes other distractions and outside noises. I leave my phone out in the living room when I am working, that way it isn’t distracting me. We all know social media notifications can keep a phone vibrating for half an hour straight at times. I set times to focus on my social media later in the day. When I am writing is not that time.
Keep work and fun separate. For years Nathan and I have kept a laptop computer on my coffee table that we use for gaming. Once I started my blog, I just used that same one for working. There are several problems with that. It is easy for me to get distracted going between games and work, especially for me because I leave all my windows open for easy access each time I open the computer. I also tried to multitask, mixing work and fun together. That is just a disaster waiting to happen.
Our laptop still sits on the coffee table for relaxing time. But I’ve added a MacBook to my office now. By having two very different laptops for work and fun, it is so easy to separate the two. Plus my work isn’t being disturbed because Nathan doesn’t use my work laptop. That one is just for me. It can go anywhere with me as well if I want to travel or work somewhere else.
Have the right tools. I talked about my MacBook earlier and how useful it is. Having a pen and notepad at my desk is important as well. I also keep my Kindle at my desk for when I am reading books to review in my blog.
Working at home is an amazing thing and I am so lucky that I have this option of doing so. The key for me is following the steps I listed above to be as productive as possible. It is easy to get distracted or lose focus and not be as productive as I need to be because I am in the comfort of my own home and working for myself.
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