Making Your Home Office Work For You
Nothing is more distracting than the pool outside your window, or the too-loud TV in the other room. Working from a home based office might not be what you expected when you first eagerly signed up to work from home. After all, you have to WORK…. from HOME!
Here’s a few tips to help you keep the productivity up, despite the distractions.
Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you should dress like you work from home!
You know, people can still see you over a Skype conference call or a visit. Even if you don’t expect to be seen by anyone other than your family, working from pajamas is a surefire way to drag the workday out with minimal output.
Don’t neglect your hygiene either. Every morning, you should take a shower, brush your teeth, and dress like you are working from the office of the CEO of a Fortune 500 Company.
Maybe that’s overkill?
The point is, dress for success… no matter where your office is.
Eat a healthy breakfast.
Heck, eating no breakfast is probably worse than eating a junky breakfast. This is known as the most important meal of the day for good reason.
More importantly, eat breakfast before anything else. It’s tempting to walk right into your office the moment you wake up. Work is there, waiting for you. But it won’t go anywhere in the time it takes to cook some eggs and toast, slice some fruit, pour a bowl of cereal, etc. Sit down at a table and eat your breakfast. Talk with your partner, or watch the news. Give your brain some time to wake up and take in the day—outside of work. Then, take your shower, brush your teeth, and get dressed as in the previous point.
Normal people do things before they leave for work. You should too!
Pencil It In
Create a schedule the night before you sit down to work. If you want to sleep in, plan on it. Putting a plan down on paper makes it easier to work productively, so you can continue to check off those to-dos with clarity.
Know the difference between “work” and “home”. Don’t blur the lines!
Make your bed every morning, and do not hop back in after making a phone call. It goes without saying that your home based office needs to be a private, dedicated section of your house but that is where your work should stay. It’s too easy to fall back into “off the clock” mode when you bring work outside of your office.
Take a break, or three
There’s something about working “from the comfort of home” where it becomes easier to work through a full 8 or 10 hour shift without taking the same breaks that you’d get otherwise. Factor this into your schedule:
- One 15 minute break between the time you start and your lunch break. Walk the dog, water the plants, do yoga, whatever. Leave your office and don’t come back for 15 minutes.
- One half hour to an hour for lunch. Do not attempt to eat lunch at your desk!!!
- One more 15 minute break between the time you have returned to work from lunch and the time you will finish work for the day.
If these breaks mean you have to add an extra half hour to your strict “punch out time” (yes, you need that too!) then so be it. You will work more productively and get more done each day if you force yourself to walk away for a bit. Refresh and rejuvenate.