So you have decided that working from home is for you.
But you want to make sure that you don’t fall into the trap of wasting hours and hours trying to get yourself motivated and into gear for your day at work. And you want to make sure you aren’t distracted by a quick look on Facebook, or those other admin jobs you wanted to do, or even simply tidying that part of the house that has needed it for ages. The danger with working form home is the distraction. There are so many of them, so how do you make sure you are efficient?.
Here are 10 tips for working from home and how to make sure you are as efficient as possible.
Tip no 1: Define your work space and hours
It sounds simple and obvious, but you need to set out a space where you go to everyday that is just yours for work. It needs to be permanent, not the kitchen table which you need to move off when its lunchtime. Now this could be anywhere. I’ve seen office units under stairs, in between the utility room and the kitchen, in the spare bedroom. But as along as its yours, it doesn’t matter. And as long as its fixed. People in your family need to respect these boundaries, and your desk shouldn’t be a place for that extra school bag or Sunday papers. Its yours, keep it that way.
The absolute best solution for creating your own space is to have it outside of the house. If you have a garage that can be converted, or a shed or an outbuilding. Yes, I know, that’s a tough one, and most people don’t, but it’s a consideration.
You will also need to set your hours too. Make sure everyone is aware that this is when you will be working and you are not to be disturbed. you need to be strict with yourself on this or it can go one of 2 ways. You can end up working way more hours over what you would do if you were in the office or you can spend too much time floating around getting very little done. It depends on your personality. I think you will know which one you are.. and what you have a tendency to do.
Tip no 2: Design your work space to motivate
In my opinion, this is really important! The setting of your home office can make it a really pleasant place to go where you can be really motivated to work, and where you can enjoy being. You can include all sorts of clever wall mountings to make maximum use of space and storage possibilities and clever filing systems to keep your projects neat and organised.
Lighting is key, and can make or break a room. You can use colour to create a vibe, and choose between energetic or relaxing and you can use art to keep you motivated. This can be anything from motivating typography to imagery that inspires you such as a dream of a holiday that you would like to go to if your business reaches a certain milestone. Personally, the dream of travel and holidays does it for me. But then I live in England and any promise of sunshine and clear skies is something I often dream about!
Watch this space for an article I am currently working on an article about this very topic and decorating your home office, so there is plenty more information here. So much motivation can come from the furniture you use, the positioning of your things. I could go on forever, but this is a separate subject in itself, and I don’t want to sound like I think I’m an interior designer. But sometimes I think I am!
Tip no 3: Get your technology covered
This doesn’t have to cost the earth if you start with the very basics. To look professional, you need to have at least the basics of a professional. Make sure your Wifi is reliable and your broadband speed is fast. You probably need to upgrade from standard home broadband to a speed of about.. xxxx
In addition, I think a landline is really important. Although mobiles are so good these days, landlines set up your office and make sure you sit down and focus on those relevant calls. You will need to set up a call forwarding system to your mobile if you need to pop put with your work hours.
Your hardware. You will need a decent computer and printer. I will assume you have a computer covered, as this is a no brainer, but a printer… I always thought you could get away without having a printer, but it really is essential.. Ideally if you can get something that has a scanner and photocopier included that would be great, they are called All in ones. They really are so cheap nowadays and really great value. You’ll thank me for insisting.
A website. You will need a website for your business, This naturally depends on your type of business, but if you are setting up on your own, a business cannot operate today without one. Sound a bit daunting, but there are ways you can set one up for FREE within 30 seconds and be up and running. It’s no joke. Try this below.
Tip no 4: Make sure you have all the right tools
I’m talking about tools to make your life easier and make you look like you have a team behind you when really it’s just you. I have written a whole article on this with 12 FREE tools that do just this. I couldn’t get through my day without every single one of these. Have a look at my article. It covers everything to quickly and professionally create artwork for you, to helping you with keyword search for your website content and organisational tools helping you to organise your thoughts. And the best part is, they are all FREE!
Tip no 5: Start scheduling
Sounds simple. Of course you would, but this is very key. It’s easy to get carried away just doing and running away with yourself. Set yourself some key milestones and targets that you want to work towards. Write them up on a wall calendar and stick to them, it is as simple as this. You don’t need fancy software. You would have to schedule your time if you were working on projects in the office, so work to the same principle. You need to be strict with yourself. Having your schedule or timing plan on the wall right in front of you makes sure you don’t forget!
Tip no 6: Have an ideas board
You know the times when you have a brainwave, and then it goes and you lose it forever. If you have an ideas board nearby when something pops into your head, up it goes.
Mine is a whiteboard which is just to the side of my desk, so that I can jot things down, even if I’m not working.
I know some people prefer to have a notepad for this, but make sure its a specific notepad, specifically for this purpose so that your ideas don’t get lost along with your to do list.
Tip no 7: Take breaks and Exercise
Don’t worry, I am not going to start telling you about jumping jacks and press ups, but I think this one speaks for itself. They say every 40 minutes you should step away from your computer and have a 15 minute break. This makes you more productive and gives you time to come back to it. I think this is key! It also gives your eyes a rest from the computer and ensures that you rest your brain. I use this time to have a glass of water (at least), as we all know water is probably the best thing for our minds and body.
Also, I would really suggest you get outside. I’m not saying every 40 minutes, but say in your allocated lunch break, go for a 15 minute walk, get some fresh air, do a quick errand. whatever you need… and make sure you do have an allocated lunch break. I am guilty of working straight through I get on a roll and all of sudden the time hits you and you realise you completely missed your lunch. It’s important this one. Food is fuel. Especially Chocolate, that’s like rocket fuel they say..;-)
Tip no 8: Mark the end of the day
This falls into the same category as defining your work hours. But ending your working day is crucial. No sneaky trips back to the office to ‘just finish that’. When you day is finished, your day is finished.
You need time to relax and re-cooperate otherwise you will burn out and lose impetus for the next day and the day after. Anything you think off that you needed to do, write it down and do it first thing tomorrow.
Just remember if you were in the office you would’t go back so treat it the same.
Tip no 9: Keep re-evaluating
Keep asking yourself whether working from home is really for you. Check that you are happy with being alone most of the day and that you are still productive. I recommend doing this at least once a month. It is possible to easily slip into a cycle where you are not happy without even realising it. Working from home doesn’t work for everyone so make sure you keep checking.
Tip no 10: Enjoy it
You are doing this for you. For your business. If you are not working on your own business, but working for someone else at home, make sure you remember why you are working from home. Think about the benefits, and how it’s better for you than the office. I find it’s worth having this written as a list so if I ever doubt a decision, I can refer back to it. Just a thought.
And if you are working for someone else, wouldn’t it be great if you could do this for yourself? Here’s my no 1 recommendation of a business opportunity where working for yourself from home could become a reality, and if you are really serious, just register here for FREE
If you have nay more tips on being more efficient, I would love to hear them.., please leave them below and I will get back you right away!