Working from home a handful of times can prove to be a challenge on its own, but when it’s your go-to office then the struggle can quickly become a mental block. At some point, you’re bound to get distracted.
In order to be successful when working remotely or from home, your space needs to fit your needs. This will ensure that everything around you is conducive to a productive working environment. You’ll need to know how and when to switch off distractions, and you need to be self-motivated when committing to working from home. There will no longer be someone peeking over your shoulder, driving you to work harder, so your new home office environment will need to be motivating enough to do that for you.
Here are a few ways to keep your head above water:
- Look for a comfortable place to work
The environment in which you choose to work will greatly impact your productivity rate. You need to choose an area in your home that makes you feel good and encourages you to work harder. It needs to be away from your bedroom, as you do not mix business with personal, and it needs to be free from distractions. If possible, create your own private space where you can enter and close the door behind you. There is not much worse than trying to focus while your kids are jumping on the couch next to you.
- Prepare your office setup
You’ve chosen to freelance or work from home because of various reasons, so make sure that you don’t let your new home work life defeat the ‘work’ and ‘focus’ feeling you would get at any other office environment. Go out and purchase a working station that accommodates your needs. If your computer is giving you problems, look for a new one. There are various electronic stores that offer affordable laptop deals that can even be paid off over time. You cannot work with an unreliable resource because you will soon avoid working because of the inconvenience. Make sure that your working station has a desk, a comfortable chair, a printer if need be and a secure, fast internet connection. It’s also important to ensure that wherever you’ve decided to set up your office, there is enough natural lighting for your eyes to cope.
If you can, paint your space a calming colour to help boost your mood and productivity. Make sure your space is big enough to move around in, so that you don’t feel claustrophobic, and make sure that it has a window for some fresh air. Try to incorporate some greenery around your space as indoor plants are always peaceful and beautiful to look at when you’re feeling demotivated or uninspired.
- Get rid of your home’s clutter
Having a clean office space makes you feel more motivated to do the job. Although your home’s clutter might not distract you at first, soon you’ll find yourself wanting to clean up and rearrange your home instead of working. It is recommended that you get into the habit of cleaning your home every day to avoid your mind from racing and to treat your home as if it were your office. You might not have clients visit your home, but you need to dress, work and pace yourself like you would at the office.
- Organise your days for better productivity
When you are organised, you will be able to keep track of your to-do list. It is extremely important to install a task management system or calendar reminders for tasks, projects and meetings that need to be remembered. You will also benefit from setting a timer on every task, to be able to allocate your time effectively for your own and your client’s peace of mind. This will help you to easily set goals and tick them off every time you achieve them. It’s the small details like this that will help to boost your productivity.
- Schedule regular breaks
Train yourself to take breaks and have lunch at the same time as you would at the office. When you take breaks, don’t go and watch TV or do the laundry as these tasks could take longer than you expected, leaving you less time to work. Make sure these breaks are short breathers where you walk outside, stretch your legs and breathe in some fresh air. This will help you to refocus on your next session.
- Dress the part
Anyone who works from home will suggest that you get up early, and get dressed and ready for the day. Even though you’re working from home, away from the human connection, you cannot sit in your pyjamas all day. This alone does not speak success and it will not make you feel productive and positive about your life. Waking up late and looking messy is a bad habit to get into, so dress the part and, naturally, that will help you to feel more professional and ready to tackle your work in the most productive way possible.
Once you’ve set the tone for your home office, the environment will naturally become better and more conducive to your productivity. You cannot simply relax on the couch with your laptop on your lap while binge-watching series. This type of working is not professional and it will not guarantee success.