Working from home is everybody’s dream. No traffic jams, no office politics. Simply you, in your home office, safely and comfortable ensconced in your familiar surroundings and working to your own schedule. It can be difficult to remain motivated, however, and many people find their ability to get their work done is compromised by the level of distraction available in their home. So how can you make it work for you?
First and most important, set up an area where you work and keep it for work only. Don’t settle for a dining room table or another area where the children’s homework, the dishes or the post will encroach on your workspace. You need that space to be your space to work in and nothing else, so that you can train your brain to accept any time spent in that area as time to focus on work and do nothing else.
This area can be a small desk crammed in below the stairs or something equally small; it need not be grandiose. Simply have an area set up where you can keep your work stuff and do your work, and care for it fastidiously to keep it that way. You’ll be able to keep stuff tidy much more easily and you will find that it’s easier to stay on task when you are working.
Secondly, set aside time for work. Yes, you can fit it into your day “wherever it fits,” but let’s be honest for a moment. No one ever thought that would work, did they? Get a page-a-day diary and write down every day what you plan to do and when. Don’t just pencil in “work” when you plan to do so; write down each project and an estimated duration. Be sure you add on some extra time for unforeseen circumstances; your printer runs out of paper at the wrong time, you want a cup of coffee, your three-year-old needs his shoes tied. Schedule in your breaks, too. In this way you have a firm schedule to adhere to, which will make it easier to get everything done that you need to do.
Stick with this technique. Don’t just do it for a week, admire its effectiveness, and then never do it again. Make planning tomorrow a routine part of every today; you will be glad you did when you find it exponentially easier to plan your life around your work and vice versa.
Finally, don’t allow your home surroundings to affect your level of professionalism. You are a professional worker and you should behave as such via email, via phone, and in person – even if you are in pyjamas at the time because your children are ill and you couldn’t be bothered getting dressed in the morning!
With these hints and tips you can find yourself making a great success of your home-working situation. It can be an amazing experience that will help you further your career and your professional abilities.