Working from home: tips to stay focused
There are many benefits to running a business from home; flexibility, saving money by not renting office space and no dead-time commuting. However, sometimes it can be difficult to maintain focus, especially if you are new to homeworking.
It is important to learn best practices and be self-disciplined in order to get the most out of your working day. Working from home requires just as much commitment as working in an office does - here are some tips on how this can be achieved.
While you certainly don't need to put on a power suit to walk from your living room to home office, you do need to get in the right mindset. This means no dressing gown or pyjamas. Wearing something smart but professional, such as a shirt and jumper, that you would be happy to wear if you were meeting a client for a coffee. It will help you get in the right frame of mind to work at your best.
Create the right environment
Ensure there is a good balance of artificial and natural light, whichever room you decide to work from. Make sure there are no distractions, such as the TV, and keep your work area as tidy and as clutter-free as possible. Place your to-do list and work calendar in prime view so your eyes don't wander to the dirty dishes or laundry basket. Pick a desk that is big enough and a comfortable chair (not your favourite armchair, though) and invest in quality equipment for your office, such as a decent wireless printer.
Schedule working hours
Although working from home allows you increased time flexibility, you need to set work hours and stick to them as if you were in an office. This includes taking time off for lunch, and a quick break can help clear your head and help increase productivity. Make sure your family, or whoever you live with, know that you work between set hours and shouldn't be distracted during those times unless it's important. If you begin to feel unmotivated or isolated, take a trip to a local coffee shop with Wi-Fi a couple of times a week for a change of scenery. You could combine this with a client meeting as a working lunch.
Apps and computer tools are very beneficial to businesspeople who work from home as well as those who are office-based. These tools range from time management and organisational apps, to computer software such as task management programs and e-invoicing tools. Social media time lapse programs, such as Hootsuite, can be useful if your business spends a lot of time on social networks, but be careful you don't get distracted by other people's posts.