Take it from someone who has been working from home for many, many years. It’s a job that requires a great deal of patience, dedication and patience (did I already say that?). Some people assume it’s easier, and sometimes it is. If you have kids, however, it is not. If you get sick, it’s not. If you get off schedule for anything, it kind of makes you a bit crazy. You also can’t just blow off work anytime you feel like it, even though the vast majority of people who are not self-employed and do not work from home will try to get you to since that’s what they do on a regular basis. If you’re going to work successfully from home, you have to do it in a way that will allow you to get your work done, still live your life and not go crazy. On that note, it’s never going to happen. But we can give you some advice that will help you work from home a bit easier so that you can manage your schedule and be productive and still manage not to go too crazy working from home. It is possible; it just takes the right person and the right frame of mind.
Create a Schedule and Stick to It
The most helpful work from home strategy anyone will ever tell you is to create a schedule and stick to it. This is the only way you will ever get anything accomplished. If you do not stick to a schedule, things will quickly get out of control and become difficult to get back under control. On days something interrupts my schedule, I become a bit overwhelmed and out of sorts, and that ruins the rest of my day. Keep the schedule; you need it.
This means ignoring the dishes and the laundry. You are at work, even if work is home. Don’t let these things interrupt your work day. You can give yourself little breaks throughout the day in which to work on these things, but don’t allow them to consume you. Yes, it’s easy to get distracted, but make it stop. Turn off the television and get to work.
Have a Dedicated Office Space
If you are sitting in the middle of the living room while the kids play and the house is a mess around you, you’re not going to be able to concentrate. You need a dedicated space, even if it’s small, outside, inside or whatever. You need an office; the best thing I ever did was buy a house with an office so that everyone has their own space, and I can work without interruption. Well, without much interruption since I do have 1-year-old twins as of Sunday.
Work in Advance
Always try to have a little done in advance if you can. This is something that will make you feel really good and already ahead when you start your day in the morning. I know that anytime I have work done in advance, I feel really good about myself. When I don’t, I don’t feel as good. And there is always a chance to get just one or two little things done ahead of time, and that’s not much, but it feels like a lot.
Take a Break
You do need to take a break during the work day so that you don’t overwhelm and exhaust yourself. You need to do this so that you have an opportunity to do things around the house, rest and just recuperate. You might take a break when you go to the office, so why not take one at home so that you can run errands or do what you need to do now, too?
Try to Have Office Hours
If you have regular office hours, it might help you to work more productively. I like to work ‘office hours’ at home, even though I’m not home many of those. I like to do a little bit in the morning, take my kids to school and get back into the office by 10 am. I then work while my babies nap from about 10:30-11 until they wake up and then as often as I can until 3 when I have to get everyone ready to go get the big kids from school. I don’t like to work when they’re home since I do like to spend time with the family, even though it’s not always possible. The more I work regular hours, the more time I can spend with my family. Most days I accomplish this quite well.
Ignore the Rest of the House
When you’re working, ignore everything else in the house. Don’t answer the phone or the door, unload the dishwasher you just heard stop running or even check the laundry. Just ignore it all and you will have plenty of time later to work on those things. You need this time in the office to be productive.
Know When You are Productive
If you’re like me, you’re productive in the morning. The afternoons and evening are less productive because you are tired and distracted. Work when you are most productive and you might just shock yourself with how much you can get done and accomplished during this time. It makes sense to work around your own personal schedule, anyway.
Put Your Phone Away
Checking emails, social media pages and the rest of that is a major time suck that you can never get back. Put it away and work on work and not on Facebook. You have all the time in the world for that when you are finished working, and that’s what counts and what matters. Put it away and you’ll be more productive.
Close the Door
Sometimes you just have to close the door and finish working when the family is home. It’s not always easy, but it does have to happen on occasion. Shut the door and let these people know it’s time for you to concentrate so that you can offer undivided attention later.
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