Working from home can take a lot of discipline, and it can be difficult to concentrate completely on work when other things are distracting you. After all, working from home means a lot of freedom, but this can be both a good and bad thing. If you’re not surrounded by coworkers and managers that will hold you accountable, it can be easier to slack off and put off the work you need to do. But the problem is, that work still needs to be done, regardless of where you’re doing it from. Getting distracted and low productivity levels can mean taking much longer to finish projects, which can mean less opportunity for fewer paying projects, and can also possibly mean losing your job. Whether you just started working from home and you’re not quite sure how to focus, or you’ve been working from home for a while now and finding it difficult, the following are some tips that can help you increase productivity:
Dedicate one area as office space
It can be difficult to take work seriously if you’re doing your work in the same area you watch television or have your family dinners. If you’re working in the same place that you normally relax and do fun things, you might be more tempted to do just that, and put off your work longer. If you can, find a room in your home that is your office space and nothing else, and make it look like an office. If you don’t have an actual room, try to find a space or nook in another room in your home that you can set up your workspace. If anything, you might want to try taking your work outside of the home when possible. Go to a local coffee shop or library if you want to get away from the distractions at home and focus solely on your work.
Many telecommuters have the option to work whenever they want, and because of this, it could almost feel like you’re always working because you’re continuously starting something and then pausing what you’re doing. First, figure out how many hours you’ll need to work each day in order to complete your tasks. If you’re working full-time, for example, you might want to set aside eight hours each day that are dedicated to work only. You might want to set a one-time, 8-hour shift per day, or you might decide to break it up into two 4-hour shifts (perhaps one early in the morning, and the other late in the afternoon). Whatever you decide on—set your hours and stick to them. Tell friends and family that these are your work hours and that during these hours, you can’t be disturbed. Make a commitment to yourself to only focus on work during the hours you set, and not to do anything unrelated during your work hours.
Turn your phone off
If your phone is going off all day due to emails, social media notifications, text messages, and personal phone calls, it can be very distracting. Unless you need to have your cell phone on for business phone calls, consider leaving it off completely during your work hours. Depending on your phone’s features, you might be able to silence all notifications and just allow certain phone numbers to get through. You could also consider getting a landline that is dedicated to just business phone calls and family emergencies, and powering down your cell phone for the entire day.
Block certain websites
If you have a tendency to migrate towards websites that aren’t work-related and bring down your productivity (social media websites, for example) block them during your work hours. When someone isn’t constantly supervising you or looking over your shoulder, it can be easy to drift away from work tasks and do other things if you need to use a computer for work. Blocking these websites during your office hours can help you to break this habit. And if you don’t even need to the Internet for some (or all) of your projects, consider disconnecting from the Wi-Fi completely while you’re working.
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Nothing above is meant to provide financial, tax, or legal advice. You should meet with appropriate professionals for such services.