Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done.
One of the most common issues associated with working from home is … keeping focused on the “business” tasks of the day. To do this effectively … and remain productive … requires self discipline and an ability to organise your day with … set tasks and less distraction.
The following article from the Wikihow web page provides some excellent Home Business Tips to keep you on track whilst developing and … working at … your Work At Home Business.
Don’t forget … when you work out your daily work schedule … timetable regular breaks to 10 mins each hour … to do all the distraction stuff … that way you’ll remain more productive and get more done 😉
So take time out in one of your breaks … grab a cup of coffee & settle down to read the rest of this blog.
Just a helpful quick note before you do that …
Like myself … and the rest of my team … if you are not already doing so … you can further maximise your productivity by using an online business management system such as GVO HostThenProfit … which provides all of the tools the home business entrepreneur needs to keep on track, such as … Autoresponder … Video Producer … Web Cast Producer … Web Page Blogging Platform … Web Hosting … PLUS online marketing tuition … all in one very affordable package … if you haven’t got all these CLICK HERE to learn just how little all of this essential stuff costs.
Edited by 1920slover, Tryme2, Carolyn Barratt, ExerciseplanetX and 14 others
Working at home can provide a lot of flexibility. You can work when you feel like it, and if you have children, you can schedule your work day around their activities. Unfortunately, working at home can also be a challenge if you don’t know how to organize your time and become distracted. If you want to successfully work from home, you have to know how to get ready for work each day and to stay professional, focused, and organized. If you want to know how to work from home, just follow these steps.
Method 1 of 4: Get Ready for Work
Get dressed for work as if you are leaving the house. By doing this, you are transitioning yourself from home to work mode. Additionally, if you dress for work, you will take yourself more seriously and maintain a work place attitude. Working in your pajamas and slippers will only motivate you to go back to bed.
- You should not only get dressed, but take the time to shower and groom yourself as well. If you wear makeup in a professional environment, put it on.
Eat before you work. Have breakfast and your coffee and tea at your kitchen table, just as you would if you were leaving the house for work. Don’t wake up late and eat at your computer, or you’ll be blending your “getting ready” routine with your work routine.
- Have a healthy breakfast that gives you an energy boost, consisting of healthy carbs like oatmeal, good proteins like lean turkey, as well as some fruits and vegetables.
- Don’t eat your meals at your desk. This form of multi-tasking will actually distract you and slow you down.
Prepare to work in your designated work space. Whether you’re lucky enough to have a home office or just a desk in your house, you need to clear off an area that is meant only for working. You should have a desk that has only the things on it that you would keep in your desk at an office, and you should be working in a clean space just as you would in an office.
- Things from the work space should not leave the work space. You shouldn’t be scrambling to find your important papers and office supplies in your bedroom.
- Ideally, your work space should have a door that you can shut.
Method 2 of 4: Be Organized
Write down your schedule for the day, week, and month. If you’re working a full-time position which requires you to work 40 hours a week, have a goal of working regular hours, from 9 to 5 or so. You can start a little earlier or end a little earlier if it suits your needs, but you should be available during business hours so you can communicate with your colleagues.
- Keep a planner at your desk where you will mark the hours that you will work every day, along with any planned lunches, meetings, and even scheduled breaks.
- Every morning, before you dig in to work, review your planner to get a better sense of what your week and month will look like. If you have a lot of meetings set up for the end of the week, you should try to work a bit more at the beginning of the week to balance them out.
Maintain a killer to-do list. Having a to-do list will make you feel more organized and less tempted to slack off or multi-task. You should keep a to-do list that has three separate lists: things you need to get done that day, things that you need to get done the next day, and things that you need to get done that week. That way, if you get a jump start on the day’s work, you can move on to completing the tasks for the next day or the ones that just need to get done that week.
- You can designate certain tasks for certain days. For example, you can do all of your filing on Mondays, spend most of your Tuesdays communicating with your clients, start new projects on Wednesdays, and so on.
- You can reward yourself every time you check off an item from your to-do list. If each task takes about an hour to complete, tell yourself you’ll have a snack, quickly check your email, or go for a 10-minute walk when you complete it.
Be savvy with your equipment. Being able to successfully work from home means that you will be the master of your computer, phone, and fax system. These will be your lifelines and if you want to succeed in an at-home professional environment, you won’t be able to ask anyone for help. Therefore, before you jump into working from home, you should know the ropes at your home work station.
- Have a firm understanding of any programs your office relies on, such as Google Docs or Excel. Poke around on those programs during your spare time and make sure you know exactly what to do during work hours so you don’t get bogged down.
- Learn to love your computer. You should know exactly how to make your computer work as efficiently as possible. If you’re serious about working on your computer, you may invest in a second monitor, which has been shown to boost productivity.
- Be the master of your phone. You should have a cordless landline phone to avoid any potential problems getting cell phone reception. Learn how to use your phone for conference calls, and how to use the all-important mute button.
- Be one with your printer. Learn how to print, fax, and scan all documents quickly and keep reserves of paper on hand at all times.
Keep an organized desk at all times. Your desk should be just as neat and organized as it would be if you were working from home. The only personal things on your desk should be the same photos or mementos that you would bring to the desk in your office. Your desk should be spacious enough for you to comfortably place your computer on it and leave room for papers and office supplies.
- Keep a cup with pens and pencils on your desk. Every month, go through them and throw out any writing implements that no longer work.
- Have an outstanding filing system. Whether you keep your files in your desk drawer or the filing cabinet next to your desk, you should organize all of your important papers in different and clearly-labeled folders and you should know exactly where your papers are.
- You can keep a filing tray on your desk where you place important documents that need to be filed, but makes sure to file them at the end of the day or week so you don’t get bogged down.
- Keep office supplies handy. Staplers, highlighters, and post-it notes should all be on your desk or in your top drawer, so you don’t spend an hour looking for them.
- Don’t forget to go ergonomic. If you spent all of your time at your desk, make sure you have a chair that supports your back, and a keyboard and mouse that don’t hurt your wrists. If you’re typing all day, consider investing in a ergonomic sideways mouse or a split keyboard.
Method 3 of 4: Be Professional
Don’t do personal things during work hours. Though you may be tempted to complete other errands or chores while you’re working, or even to set up a personal engagement, it’s not professional to mix your errands with your actual work. You may feel that this saves time, but you’ll actually be losing time by trying to get everything done at once.
- If you have errands to run, don’t get up in the middle of your work day to do them. You can quickly try to do an errand like running to the post office during your lunch break, just as you would during work.
- Avoid the temptation to clean your home. Though you may want to scrub down your floors and put away your dishes during a conference call, this will actually distract you from communicating with your colleagues and listening to what they have to say.
- Don’t spend an hour catching up with your best friend on the phone, or hanging out with your friends during the day. You can catch up with a friend during a quick lunch break, but don’t socialize too much during the day or you’ll get off track. You wouldn’t spend an hour catching up with a friend on the phone if you came in to the office, would you?
- Avoid texting your friends with silly messages during work hours. This will slow you down tremendously.
Maintain professional communication over the phone and Skype. To be professional when you work at home, you need to have top-notch communication skills. When you have a phone conference, you should be even more prepared than your colleagues who work at the office because you’ll need to speak up to get heard and make sure that people know who you are even though you work from home.
- When you talk on the phone with colleagues, make sure there are no distractions. Go to a quiet place and make sure your kids or family members don’t interfere.
- Set up a Skype-friendly environment. Chances are that you’ll be using Skype a lot for your conferences, so make sure you set up your computer in a space with a lot of light and with a plain, pleasant background.
Don’t let friends and family interfere with your work schedule. Your friends and family may not understand that “working from home” means “actually working.” They may call you just to chat during business hours, or invite you out for a long brunch or even ask for a favor because they don’t understand that you actually need to be at your desk and take your work seriously.
- First, communicate the importance of your schedule to your friends and family. Tell them to call you only if it’s important — just as they would call you at the office.
- If you have children, create a schedule that works around their schedule so you have designated work hours when you don’t need to be picking them up, making them lunch, or tucking them in for a nap. Don’t try to do your work at the same time as you’re taking care of your family.
Stay connected. Though you’re working from home, you should still get to know your colleagues and to develop professional relationships with them. This will make it easier for you to work with them and you’ll feel more excited about coming to work. Here are a few things you can do to stay connected while working from home:
- Make sure that you can be easily reached at all times. Check your email and work chat program (if you have one) as often as possible and keep Skype open on your phone if you use the program often and need to leave the house. Your colleagues should feel that you’re just as accessible as someone sitting next door.
- If you can, visit your office from time to time so people know who you are. Take the time to meet the people you’ve been talking to, and let them know how much you appreciate them. If you regularly come in to the office for meetings, make yourself known by making great points and asking questions.
Make a distinction between your professional life and your home life. One of the downsides of working from home is that everything you need to work will be available to you. This means that you can work every single hour of the day if you wanted to. However, if you want to stay sane, you have to set designated work hours, and be determined not to do some extra work in the evenings or early mornings when you’re supposed to spend time with your family.
- If you think of something that needs to be done for work after your work day is over, write it on your to-do list and get to it the next day.
- To help create this distinction, you can change out of your work clothes into your everyday or relaxing clothes after work, so you feel less inclined to spend more time at the office.
Method 4 of 4: Stay Focused
Change your environment to avoid getting distracted. If you have the kind of job that you can do absolutely anywhere as long as you have a computer, try taking your work to a coffee shop one day a week and see how it feels. If you feel more focused and organized in this type of work environment, and less tempted to do chores or text your friends, then maybe this is a better work environment for you than your actual home.
- Working in a coffee shop, library, or another place where people are also working can also be good for your mental state. You will feel less isolated and more part of a working community.
Don’t spend too much time browsing the Internet. Though you may spend all day at work online, don’t get distracted by checking your email, Facebook, favorite news sources, or any other favorite websites too often. Though you may not think that clicking on your five favorite websites every five minutes is making you lose time, that time not only adds up, but keeps you from fully focusing on your tasks.
- Reward yourself by letting yourself browse the Internet every hour or so, when you need a break.
- If you really need your email to stay connected at work, then leave it open, but if you don’t get any urgent messages, try to check it every half hour or hour or so.
- Do not chat with your friends while you’re working. This will slow you down exponentially.
Avoid multi-tasking. Though you may think that multi-tasking will help you get more things done and finish your work day faster, you’ll actually be more focused if you complete one type of work at a time. Go down your to-do list one item at a time, and you’ll be shocked by how much faster you’ll get things done than if you try to finish four things at once.
- If you’re multi-tasking, you’ll never be fully engrossed in one task and will be more likely to get distracted and to make a mistake.
Take occasional breaks. Taking a break from time to time will actually help you stay focused. Let’s face it — no one spends eight hours straight working in an office, and neither should you. You should do something to take a sanity break every hour, whether it’s to munch on an apple, take a short walk, or just read on your porch and breathe in some fresh air. Taking breaks will actually make you more focused when you do get back to work.
- Try to go out for lunch or to pick up lunch as often as you can. Though you may spend some money paying for lunch, getting into this routine will help you stay refreshed and will split up your work day.
- Make a goal of leaving the house at least once a day. You’ll start to get cabin fever if you don’t leave your house at all.
- Rest your eyes. If you’ve been staring at a monitor all day, take at least a five-minute break to rest your eyes to avoid straining them and getting a headache.
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