Because of the internet, phones, and skype, we can really do our work from anywhere we choose these days. This has been great for cutting back on commute expenses and late punch-ins and have created a more flexible work environment and schedule for many professions. While working from home is pretty nice, if you ask anyone who regularly works from home, you’ll know that things come up that may make staying at home less productive than being in the office. And sometimes, let’s admit it, you just need a break from the office. Here are some steps you can take to make your work from home more productive on a daily basis:
- Have a designated work area that is free from distractions: While it may be tempting to plop yourself on the couch and turn on an episode of Parks and Recreation to play while you punch out some numbers, that’s probably not the most efficient spot and Ron Swanson would probably agree. Using a more structured environment, like a home office or an art studio, that is set aside from the rest of your house can increase productivity exponentially. Make sure to stock it with essential items you will need as you work-notepads and pens are a favorite for any profession. If you feel it’s necessary, feel free to lock your door and remove all outside distractions from your work place including: distracting devices, knickknacks, and paraphernalia that might be lying around.
- Make sure to get dressed and ready for the day: My own cat onesie is quite adorable and very comfy, but experts recommend showering and dressing up as if you were going into the office. This structures your day and sets your mind in a working mode that will push you through the day. It’s also helpful to look your best if an unexpected visitor or conference call were to come up while you were working. While none of my co-workers would be surprised if I showed up in a video conference wearing a cat onesie, it’s probably not the most professional.
- Set up a schedule for the day with structured work hours and breaks: It can get easy to get caught up in your work, or the opposite, getting sidetracked because you’ve lost focus. Sitting down and writing down a schedule and t0-do list in the morning with planned breaks for food will balance your day and reenergize you for your next task.
- Don’t overload your body with junk food and soda: Junk food and soda not only causes you to gain unhealthy weight, but lowers brain activity. If you need a snack to keep you going, choose healthier alternatives and keep a water bottle or cup or tea nearby to keep you hydrated throughout the day. I personally like to eat: cheese and crackers, yogurt, squeezable applesauce packets, banana and peanut butter, frozen grapes, and nuts.
- Stay Connected to the Office: There’s a lot of people who work from home with “no cellphone policy” meaning that if they’re working from home they don’t want to be interrupted from anyone. While this may be good on some days, it’s important that you don’t do it frequently and even if you do, then you’ll need to keep at least one line open for emergency falls from work, whether it’s a chat conversation, a personal cellphone, or skype. While you may think that you may be more productive without the distractions, you may miss vital information coming in from your co-workers or clients that may change or add to the projects you are currently working on and believe me, that’s not something you want to miss out on.