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I’m super excited to share this guest post from Delilah Farrell and found the tips and advice to be extremely helpful. I think you will too, so without further ado, let’s get started…
Staying focused in a space that contains a seemingly infinite amount of distractions can be challenging. Kids, television, a dog with a squeaky toy, social media, your bed, and a host of other noise; you can easily find yourself in a fog of distraction. It’s a good thing there are countless resources available to every entrepreneur; serial, aspiring, and everything in between.
There were many “growing pains” when I first started working from home. Whether you’re working from home as an employee or business owner, you can expect those same pains in the beginning. However, if you take the time to create a work environment that is organized, your at-home-office will bleed professionalism and productivity. To all of the at-home workers, self-employers, and $ide Hu$tlers out there; here are some tips on how to avoid distractions and setbacks while working from home.
Create a Dedicated Office Space
Your couch, or bed, is not a catalyst for productivity. Instead, they promote laziness and disorganization! The kitchen island is also not a great workspace. Designate a part of your home as your own office. This is where you can safely store your files, have a desk to work at, and ultimately have an exclusive and organized workspace. Did you know that this exclusive space can also save you money taxes?
According to House Method, you can deduct the percentage of costs associated with home improvements and utilities. To claim the deduction, you simply measure your office space’s square footage and calculate the percentage of your home it represents. In essence, you will save money while you make money!
Daily To-Do List
Clearly set priorities. Without doing so, at-home workers put themselves at a higher risk of getting distracted. Having a to-do list allows you to have a visual of what needs to be accomplished, inherently curbing the sense of being overwhelmed.
In a technology-driven world, there are many tools and applications that can help you stay organized and on-task. My favorite is Do It Tomorrow, which allows you to schedule your to-do list a day in advance. The platform automatically moves unfinished tasks to the next day, ensuring the task does not go undone.
If you have kids, a spouse, or roommates, create clear boundaries for your office. You’re not being rude, you’re being professional. If you worked in an office, would your children, spouse, or roommates be allowed to rambunctiously run around the office? Chances are, the answer to this is no. Every entrepreneur needs time to “lock-in” and have uninterrupted work time.
To ensure that these boundaries are followed, I recommend creating a visual system that will allow those around you to know if you are available to talk. Whether this is a “do not disturb” sign or a traffic light system (Green- “Come on in”, Yellow- “Ask first”, Red- “Emergencies only”), it will create a clear boundary for your kids, spouse, or roommates.
Create a Set Schedule
Designate hours for yourself to work. Working from home is a great freedom to have, but you must ensure that you can remain productive. On the contrary, at-home workers should also make sure they do not burn themselves out by completely revolving their lives around work. Find a schedule that works for you, and stick to it! This could include integrating morning routines to get your day started off the right way and warm your brain up. It is also very important to avoid developing unhealthy routines such as erratic sleep patterns.
This tip is completely optional. One of the greatest freedoms about working from home is the ability to roll out of bed and be ready for work in the amount of time it takes you to walk from your bedroom to your home office. But there is a psychology behind the threads that you choose to wear for the day. In a recent survey, respondents that chose to dress in more “formal” attire felt more authoritative, productive, and competent whereas the more casual dressers felt friendlier.
Once again, one of the beauties of working from home is the ability and freedom to choose what you’re wearing. If you routinely wear pajamas or comfy clothes to work from home, give “dressing up” a whirl. You will, at the very least, feel great about yourself!
Eat in the Kitchen
It may be very tempting, or logical, to eat at your desk because you’re at home. Simply put, try not to do it. While you’re eating, you are very easily distracted and will more than likely find yourself surfing the web on your computer or mobile device. This blurs the hypothetical line of “workspace” and “leisure space”.
There is no shame in taking a break from the office to grab a bite to eat, in the kitchen. This will give you a well-deserved break allow you to return to your desk, ready to rock and roll.
Didn’t we all secretly make bets with ourselves when we were younger? “I bet you can’t run upstairs to turn off your bedroom light and get back downstairs before the microwave is done.” Or something along those lines. Anyways, bribe yourself! Reward yourself for getting work done by doing something you thoroughly enjoy. Whether that is an early coffee break, or getting to watch an episode of your favorite TV show, the anticipation of the reward could help you work faster and more focused.
Use a Dedicated Browser
Choose a browser that will be used for surfing the web, checking social media, and conducting personal emails and one that is used strictly for work. This is a simple step to implement into your at-home work.
Having a browser dedicated to work will allow you to keep relevant bookmarks and tabs open. You can also increase your productivity by outfitting your browser with apps and extensions relevant to your work.
Working from home, or wherever it is you may be working, should be rewarding. We have a freedom that many people do not. One of the toughest parts about working remotely is staying focused. I hope that this guide has given you all some insight about the different ways you can “lock-in” be the best at-home entrepreneur you can be.