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Working from home is a double-edged sword: It grants you additional freedom and flexibility but it can also lead to a decrease in motivation and productivity. Like many things in life, it’s all about balance.
Finding your groove can be challenging when you first begin to telecommute but I’ve cobbled together some tips that I think will help you be more productive whether you’ve just started working from home or have been doing so for some time. Read on for my top seven suggestions for maximizing productivity when your house also happens to be your office.
Create a Workspace in Which You Can be Productive
The most obvious choice for an at-home workspace would be a home office in a spare bedroom. But if you don’t have the extra square footage, get creative. Find a place in your home where you can set up a desk and computer and get rolling. For those short on space, a large closet, a breakfast nook, or a dining room can function very effectively as a home office.
Make a Schedule
If you are self-employed and working from home, a schedule is paramount to actually getting things done. When you are your own boss, the buck stops with you. If you don’t hold yourself to a schedule, no one else is going to do so.
Remember to set reasonable hours and include breaks for lunch/dinner and stretching your muscles. It’s can be tempting to just keep hammering away for hours on end. But neglecting your basic needs will cost you in terms of long-term productivity.
Invest in Comfortable Home Office Furniture
Your office furniture doesn’t have to be ridiculously expensive. But it should (at a bare minimum) be comfortable enough that you won’t feel like your entire body is numb at the end of your workday. Craigslist can be a great resource. High end furniture doesn’t have particularly good resale value. So, if you are patient, you can often find people offloading pricey items for a fraction of their original cost.
If you opt for new furniture (as opposed to used) for your home office, make sure to thoroughly check the reviews before committing to a purchase. This is of particular importance when it comes to choosing a chair.
Dress to Impress
Most people find that they are more productive when they feel presentable. It’s tempting to roll out of bed and work in your pajamas but it can be harder to get into the mindset of starting your workday when you are wearing the same duds you would to binge Netflix and eat takeout.
Make a Point to Leave the House at Some Point During the Day
Even if it’s just to go for a walk or run an errand, getting out of the house on a regular basis leads to greater productivity and keeps you from developing cabin fever. If your workspace and your home are under one roof, it is often helpful to break up the monotony and remind yourself what being outside the house looks and feels like.
If you have a partner or children at home, it is important to set expectations with them. They wouldn’t burst into your workspace and interrupt you if you were reporting to an office outside of the home. It is important that your loved ones understand that the same applies to your home workspace. Let them know that you are there if you need them but that you require some privacy to be productive.
At the End of Your Day, Leave Work at Work
Just because you work from home doesn’t mean that you have to constantly be on call. When you are done with work, do everything in your power to resist the urge to return until the next work day. Keeping your professional and personal life separate will help you maintain a healthy work/life balance, even when both exist within the same four walls.