I live by my agenda and my lists…
I credit this to one of the reasons I can successfully run my own company and work from home.
Tips for Working From Home
- Create your workspace. If you don’t already have an office space or an extra bedroom that you can convert into an office, you should take a walk around your house.
- Set your hours. Having regular hours ensures that you can get your work done in a timely manner without working over your allotted hours.
- Make a list. In order to stay organized, a list (or four) is essential. When you make the list is up to you—you can carve 15 minutes at the end of your day to assess what needs to be done for the next workday, or you can write it all down the next morning while your computer is loading.
- Be semi-formal. When you worked in a traditional office, you had to wear a suit every day…even during summer Fridays.
- Find your peak hours. Everyone has a time of day when they feel their best. Perhaps you’re a morning person, capable of getting most of your to-dos done by noon.
- Avoid doing housework. Without realizing it, 20 minutes have passed—and so has your deadline. While it makes sense to do some housework when you work at home, it can be one of the biggest distractions. It may not be the most exciting way to spend your lunch hour, but organize your household activities for your break times instead.
- Clear your desk…daily. At the end of each workday, clear the clutter from your desk. File important papers in folders and shred the rest. Wipe down your desk (including your keyboard, mouse and screen) and remove any lingering coffee cups. The idea is to leave your desk as you would like to see it the next morning, clean, neat and organized. That way, you will feel energized—and not deflated—when you sit down at your desk tomorrow.
- Screen your calls. Your family and friends all know that you work from home. So why does your Aunt Linda constantly call you at 10:30 AM, right when you’re in a mid-morning work groove? People who don’t work from home have a hard time understanding that while you are home, you are actually working. So it’s a good idea to clarify to your callers that you can’t be interrupted during certain hours. But if your bestie keeps ringing your number, it’s best not to pick up the phone. That way, your clamoring callers will get the hint, and you won’t have to worry about hurting anyone’s feelings.
- Take breaks. It may seem counterintuitive to take breaks when you’re trying to stay organized and maximize productivity, but you’ll be far more successful if you take mini breaks throughout the day. To help add order to your day, try to take your break at the same times throughout the day.
- Focus on one task at a time. Sure, everyone wants to consider themselves master multitaskers, but the reality is that humans can really only do one thing at a time effectively.
- Be flexible. You may have done everything possible to ensure a distraction-free day. But then your child became ill and had to come home early from day camp.