How to Be Productive When You Work At Home


Greetings fellow bloggers, home-makers, the self-employed, job seekers,  and dog lovers. OK, everyone who works from home or really, really wants to telecommute. We all know the joy of the freedom to set our own hours, along with the thrill of procrastination. I think that’s my middle name; I wrote my grad school thesis in 38 hours, finished 40 minutes before I had to hand it in, but I did well. I work well under pressure.

Some of you may be chuckling as you think about your day working in your peaceful, home office. You’re listening to the sofa beckoning for a nap. While I am all in favor of a daily snooze, (see The Fine Art of Napping) those 100 winks should be a break, not a daily standard or default mode disguised as work. So how do we do it? The creative souls and vital entrepreneurs working in sweats with unlimited cups of coffee? We set boundaries to stay productive and sane. What are these you ask? I’ve compiled a list of suggestions for you lovely peeps. A disclaimer if I may; this is but a random collection, a gathering of thoughts and ideas, some of which may contradict others. That’s OK – find what appeals to you, try it out. If the idea doesn’t work for you, choose another. Don’t try them all and certainly not all at once, because these are merely suggestions. Choose wisely.

• Spacial definition. This is easy. Make sure you dedicate a space away from the daily distractions of home. Make it YOUR working place, so that when you set up there, you know that you are going to be working. It changes your mindset from “I’m home,” to “I’m at work.” (Check out 5 Ways to Keep Your Workspace Motivating)
• Clock in. Set regular working hours and stick to them. If you are part time, full time, flexible – make it work by remaining coherent and attentive to only work details during the set schedule.
• Get dressed. I know, seems like a no-brainer, but if you’re showered and dressed and caffeinated, you’ll feel more human and in work mode than if you’re rubbing the sleep out of your eyes in your pajamas.
• Make lists. First, make a list of things you WILL do today. Next, make a list of things you’d LIKE to get done today. And then make a random list of things that need to get done at some point shortly. This way, you can check things off and be productive. No thumb twiddlers here!
• Take Breaks. Don’t overdo it but give yourself few 15-20 minute breaks. Stand up, stretch, go for a walk, have a snack, caffeinate- take a pet break; you will increase your creative spirit and be more productive.

Sometimes it just all goes to the birds…

• Schedule yourself. You alone know when you work best – are you an early bird, noontime navigator or a night owl? Work around the hours that work best for you.
• Schedule online time. Don’t check emails or social media unless it pertains to your job. Set aside specific times to do so, so you don’t lose that work mode mojo and get distracted.
• Post-it notes. Keep a few colored pads and a pen handy. You can jot down ideas, and stick them to the wall where you can see them, organize them, and use them to your advantage. I use them as a way to prioritize and organize my days.
• Music. This is a personal preference. Some days (and some of you) it requires silence to work. Other days, the right tunes just jog my creative soul to bleed words and images onto the keypad and drawing pad. Remember that individual songs can influence your mood – so unless it’s break time, nothing that makes you want to slam in the pit or grab a box of Kleenex in remorse.
• Know when to stop. Back to the beginning. Do NOT let work overtake your life. Define your working hours, and when they’re over, it’s over. Go to bed or your personal life. Don’t let work consume your life- it’s unhealthy and you’ll be miserable.

Working from home requires discipline. If you’re a newbie, it can take a little time to sort out your space and time. It’s cool. Use the tips from MBB to help you get on track and evolve to the best at-home worker you can be, and increase your productivity, and hopefully, find your niche and a revenue.