Working from your home office can go two ways: it can either be a fulfilling, productive experience or it can become too relaxed and ultimately distracting. If you want to end up with the first outcome, you need to set some rules for yourself and your co-inhabitants. If you follow these guidelines and stay on track, you will ensure maximum productivity in your comfortable, home environment.
- Get dressed and ready.
When you wake up in the morning, pretend you are going to the office. Make yourself a cup of coffee, eat some breakfast, and put something else on besides your pajamas. You may think that because no one is going to see you all day, there’s no reason to dress nicely, but this a bad idea. Skipping your morning routine and staying in sleep clothes can trick your brain into thinking it is still relaxation time. You’ll likely also feel more like working when you are in work clothes.
- Take a break every two hours.
Concentrating too hard for too long can actually decrease your creativity and productivity. Your brain will become tired, then you may be tempted to quit altogether and give into distractions, such as the TV in the living room. No matter where you’re at in your project, force yourself to stand up and at least do some stretches every couple hours. You’ll be amazed at how refreshed you will feel after a short break.
After a long day of work, it can be tempting to leave piles of paper and food wrappers all over your desk. After all, you’re tired and you don’t want to think about your work again until the next day. Resist this temptation. Take a few minutes at the end of each day to clean up after yourself and re-organize your workspace. You will thank yourself the next morning when you have a clean area to work in and a clean slate to express your creativity on.
- Limit entry to family members.
This can be especially difficult if you have young children or a spouse who stays at home. Communicate with each of your family members about your office hours and gently explain to them that you will be substantially more productive if you have as few distractions as possible. If you get a lot done during the day, then you’ll have a lot more quality time to spend with them after your work day is over.
- Get out of it!
Even if you do everything right to make your home office as efficient and comfortable as possible, you are still going to grow tired of being there all the time. One of the wonderful things about working from home is that you don’t actually have to work at home; you can work wherever you want! Once a week or once every two weeks, take a break from your office and bring your work to a coffee shop or park for a few hours. The change of scenery will refresh you and maybe even spark a great new idea.