Home working, organised and efficient - you can have it all
It might prove difficult to stay focused when trying to run a business from home because of all the possible distractions, but there are ways to get into a routine to stay disciplined and productive. If you are just starting out or even if you have been working from home for some time now, here’s our top tips to getting focused and getting more done:
1. Figuring out your personal productive hours is a good first step to making your time count as much as possible. If you can perform certain tasks better earlier or later in the day, then make your daily schedule around that to benefit from being your own boss and making your own schedules.
2. Make lists. It's great for business to have lots of work but being over-ambitious by trying to fit too much in to a small window of time could result in a loss of motivation altogether, so set yourself realistic goals. Write tasks out in the order in which they need to be completed and stick to it. Draft a list at the beginning of the week and amend it as the week goes on, delegating dates and times for each. Whilst making a list and sticking to it seems simple enough, there are always things that will pop up and demand your immediate attention. The best way to handle these is to plan for them in advance. Schedule in time for emergencies and last-minute tasks that might come in. Then, if they come in, you’re prepared for them and if they don’t then you’re ahead of schedule – brilliant!
3. Give yourself breaks. Working for long periods of time without a break will compromise both the quality and the speed of your work. Taking ten-minute breaks every couple of hours will increase productivity and help you to keep going for longer. It Is important to remember to eat, drink and move around during these breaks too. Whilst taking a break for lunch, why not go for a walk outside? The fresh air and natural light will clear your thoughts and pep you up whilst giving you important exercise and reminding you that the outside world does exist after all!
4. Whilst working from the comfort of your own home seems like the perfect scenario it can sometimes be difficult to achieve as much as you set out to. There are many ways in which you could potentially procrastinate if you are working from home and you may find yourself having days where you seem to do everything other than the work that you need to get done. Sure, it’s great to be at home to put the laundry on or have a quick hoover round, but you must make sure that you don’t get carried away and avoid doing work altogether. You can certainly make the most of the fact that you are at home and do home-related things but try to put them into a scheduled break from work and don’t spend so long on them that you lose focus from your working day. The benefit of working from home is that you’re able to do things around the house during the day but it’s also a drawback as that means for endless possible distractions. You will be able to fit in both successfully so long as you find the right balance.
5. Get ready for the day as though you are leaving the house. It might be tempting to sit around in your pyjamas all day, but it is probably better if you get up, washed and dressed to make sure you’re ready to take on the day. Having this daily routine will make the home office seem more like a real office, reflecting on your work and productivity. PJs are associated with bed time and you don’t want to be in a sleepy state of mind during the day. It could also make sleeping at night more difficult if you don’t have enough distinctions between night and day.
6. Create a comfortable office space. Surrounding yourself with things that make you feel productive, whether that’s books, office supplies or even a colour scheme. Keep the office clean and tidy, clearing up after yourself for a short period of time after every day of work so you’re not distracted by the big mess or tempted to tackle it instead of working. Don’t make it too similar to the rest of your home – create a definite difference in your office space so that you see it as a place of work. Make it a happy place that you feel comfortable enough in so that you generate your best work, but not so comfortable that you find yourself unable to stay focussed.
7. Make it clear to people who want to ‘drop by’ that you’re working, and that their visit should be scheduled either out of business hours or it should be brief. Although it won’t be harmful now and again, if you have social visits during the working day, try to make up the lost work time some other time so you don’t get into the habit of taking time off. Even better, you could meet them in the time you’re giving yourself for a lunch break. You then won’t be losing any time out of your working day and you’ll have a proper break from work.
Enjoy the flexibility that your choice to run your business from home has given you. You are at liberty to take the day off if you want to or have a half-day. It’ll make you appreciate being your own boss and ultimately could make you enjoy work better. Just make sure you are up-to-date before doing this so when you come back to work things are still in order.
Find out what works best for you and, most importantly, acknowledge your achievements – you’re doing great!