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How to Be Productive When Working at Home

Working from home, in theory, brings countless advantages and perks. You can stay in your favourite slippers all day without judgement, indulge in home-made lunches and relish a more peaceful work setting. However, realistically, working from home can be very challenging. There are innumerable distractions, less structure and less pressure than you would expect in an office based environment, making it more problematic to remain driven.

Whether you’re working from home on a temporary basis or taking the leap of faith in becoming a home-based entrepreneur, you may quickly begin to feel deflated as soon as you make that change.

We decided to offer some motivational advice, below are our top ten ways for working from home efficiently.

1. Always Stick to a Schedule

Just like you would in an office based environment, create firm goals and targets for you to work towards daily and weekly.

Take time on a Monday morning to plan for the week ahead and set aims for each day of the week, otherwise, you may find that you lose momentum. It’s also equally important to treat yourself when you reach those goals, you deserve it!

2. Create a Dedicated Work Space

Creating a dedicated workspace helps to set physical boundaries for yourself and for those around you. When you first begin working from home, some members of your family may not take you seriously and become distracting. Creating a set place for you to work can help to let your family know when they can and can’t disturb you.

3. Make Sure You Have All the Tools You Need
If you’re creating a home office then make sure it has everything which you will need to do your job to the best of your ability.

Such as all the right stationery, paper, a working laptop/computer and printer. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to work on an old laptop and searching the whole house for a pen.

4. Get Dressed, Don’t Work in PJs
Although it may be tempting on a rainy Monday morning to stay in your cosy PJs, it can help to put you in the right frame of mind to get dressed just as you would for a normal office job.

5. Set Working Hours and Stick to Them

Working from home can blur the lines between your professional and personal life, making you feel like you’re failing at both. It can be helpful to create standard working hours for yourself, just as you would experience in an office based role.

Susan Leigh, Counsellor & Hypnotherapist at Lifestyle Therapy, offers her advice on setting working hours when working predominantly from home.

‘‘Commit to working set hours. Many professional writers say that they go into their office at a certain time every day, stay until lunchtime, then return until evening, every day, even if they write nothing at all. They form the discipline that it is a proper job that requires regular attendance, rather than an occasional indulgence, and that is an important message.

Some of the techniques that have helped my home workers to switch off are:
• Have a jacket or something that you wear whilst working. Take it off when you have finished work for the day or change your shoes;
• Close the door of the office behind you to indicate that it is closed for business. Turn off the light at the end of the day;
• Have a separate work number that switches to answerphone out of hours;
• Take a shower and, change clothes to freshen up and begin the evening;
• Schedule in some fun or light relief at times throughout the day, like an hour at the gym or a regular phone call with a friend.’’

6. Treat It as a Regular Job
Many people struggle with working from home as they find it difficult to grasp the lack of structure it brings. Therefore, treat working from home as a normal job. Set working hours, a daily schedule, book in meetings and allow yourself time off.

Ensure to create benefits for yourself, just as you would experience in an office based job, to keep yourself driven and satisfied.

7. Take Regular Breaks – Break down into Stages with Rewards for Completing Things
If you’ve recently started to work for yourself or become the primary manager of your workload, you may suddenly experience a sudden rush to get as much work done as possible. Especially if you’re running your own business and concerned about money. However, it’s vital that you give yourself regular breaks and realistic deadlines, otherwise the quality of your work may become affected.

8. Ensure to Leave Your Home Daily
Clear your head and embrace some fresh air daily during your lunch break.

This can help to give you clarity and come up with some great ideas if you’re struggling to feel inspired. Many creative people find spending time outside the perfect way to get those creative juices flowing.

9. Connect with Peers, Clients, Partners or Supplies – Anyone Who Can Keep Your Mind Busy

Although you may be connecting with people day in and day out over email, it’s not quite the same as face-to-face interaction and it can make you feel disconnected and disengaged. Try to book in meetings as much as possible to keep those feelings at bay.

A Glasgow based software company, VeryConnect, recently made the move from being office based to working mainly from home. Anna Bjorkman from VeryConnect shared a handy tip with us in regarding staying engaged with peers and colleagues.

‘‘Have a good team messaging app! We use Slack to chat with each other. Because of its friendly interface, different group channels, and private messaging it lets us both have more rapid communications than over email and achieve an element of water cooler talk too.’’

10. If You Have Kids, Ensure They Don’t Interrupt Your Home Office If Possible
Understandably, not everyone can afford day-care and managing your workload along with childcare is probably the most difficult challenge for a parent who works from home. Our advice is to set boundaries and find times when you know you can blast through a lot of work, such as nap time, nursery hours or when you have childcare planned.

Jason Lavis, Managing Director at Out of the Box Innovations, shared his advice on staying focused if you have little ones.

‘‘What I do is segregate my tasks and schedule them accordingly. I’ve tasks that take little concentration and focus that can be done even in the same room as small children. At the other end of the scale, there are very important tasks that need 100% focus, I schedule these for when there is no-one else in the house. By scheduling workflow carefully, many work at home frustrations can be avoided.’’

We hope that you’ve found these tips helpful and whenever you begin to feel defeated be sure to read over this post for a boost! Have any great advice on working from home? Share with us over Facebook and Twitter.

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