Many people who have to go into an office or other work setting on a daily basis think that working from home is the dream. But as anyone who does work at home can tell you, it is hard work and presents its own unique challenges. Most notably, scheduling yourself and sticking to it, ensuring your workload remains manageable and you don’t get side-tracked by other things you could be doing.
The biggest issue people working from home encounter is an impulse to do household chores or other necessary bits and pieces during their working day. This can be a huge stumbling block in terms of getting the work sorted out, so make sure you schedule yourself rigorously.
As you have some flexibility people with an office job simply can’t avail themselves of, take advantage of it; for example, spend the time you’d otherwise spend in traffic, sorting out the breakfast mess and getting a load of laundry on. You can then leave the house alone as you know you’ve worked at it before starting work.
It’s really easy to start thinking you can go into the kitchen and make yourself lunch and snacks when you find yourself hungry. And of course, objectively speaking, you can. But you will save yourself immense amounts of time, hassle, and a break in concentration you can ill afford by preparing your lunch and snacks in advance.
Of course there is nothing wrong with walking into the kitchen to make a brew, but when you have to decide what to eat for dinner and then make it, you spend a lot of time thinking about non-work-related things that can really break your focus. If you do find making a brew does the same, simply invest in a thermos and make your day’s brews in the morning. If you can afford to buy pre-packed lunches, go for it. This will allow you to simplify the process.
Set yourself realistic goals. While having a huge workload facing you in the morning may simply be acknowledging the truth of what you have to do, you may find it a lot easier to break it up into bite-sized pieces so you can tackle it in a piecemeal fashion and install handy breaks every now and again. Write everything down in a page-a-day diary so you can easily see what you need to work on by glancing at the page in question.
Don’t feel you have to be cooped up in the house simply because you work from home. At the office, you would walk outside every now and again and perhaps enjoy a simple stroll through the carpark to clear your head. Do the same at home if you feel it will help; a quick saunter around the garden or even around the block can really help you deal with a large workload.
Finally, teach your children that when you are working you are not to be disturbed for trivial affairs. Obviously, they need to be able to talk to you when there is an emergency, but set aside time slots to spend quality time with them when you’re able to afford them your full focus rather than talking to them and working at the same time. You’ll find it a lot easier to get the job done!