Many people desire the ability to work at home. They imagine themselves rolling out of bed, commuting 20 feet without any traffic, except for the occasional pet sleeping in the hallway and starting work in their home office as they sip on their favorite latte. Without the daily office politics, commute, and water cooler gossip they feel they’ll be more focused and, ultimately, more efficient. However, with this freedom come some unforeseen drawbacks that can affect your stress level. You may find it difficult to keep yourself organized and motivated without the pressures of a boss or management team.
When you work from home and not required to clock in and out at a specific time, you are responsible for your own time management. To keep yourself and your home office organized so you are more productive and have less stress, try the following tips:
1. Keep a separate and specific work area in your home. This can be as simple as setting up a large desk and a small filing cabinet in a quiet room. Make sure you have plenty of lighting. Keep it clean and organized so you can find the materials and supplies you need to do your work.
2. Learn how you are more productive. Identify what type of work environment helps you work at your best. Are you more productive when you’re working at your desk or sitting on the couch? Your home office is your domain. Add personal items and things that help give you a positive attitude to help make you more productive.
3. Schedule specific task. Plan your work schedule by identifying your most productive time and when you have the most energy. If you a morning person and think more clearly in the mornings then do your most difficult and important task during this time. If you have children you may want to begin work after you get them off to school, before they wake up or even during their nap.
4. Set your business hours and adhere to the schedule. Just because you work at home doesn’t mean you can take a break whenever you want because there’s no boss to tell you to get back to work. You must be managing your time by setting your business hours and following them, after all you are your own boss. Also, many people or clients may assume since you work from home you are available 24/7. Avoid interruptions by setting specific office hours when other people can contact you regarding business. Communicate this - put your business hours on your business cards, website, e-mails and voice-mail recording.
5. Plan, negotiate and prioritize. No matter how hard you try, your business and personal lives will collide. Don’t stress out when personal interruptions affect your business life. Learn to detach from your work mode, to focus and address the interruption and resolve it so that you can move forward. Then switch back to work mode and get back to your regular work schedule. Eventually, you will learn to weave in and out between business mode and personal mode throughout the day so their can be a productive balance between work and life when you work at home.