Working at home can feel like a dream come true. You left the rat race behind and bravely decided to strike out on your own. Of course, you may also have left behind a structured schedule and a comfortable office. Here are some simple steps to enjoy the freedom of working at home while at the same time maximizing your productivity.
Take care of yourself. Take a shower and get dressed as if you were going to work (on casual Friday). Put enough effort into your appearance that you can smile at yourself in the mirror. That will give you confidence and make you feel more like a human being as you go about your day. Even though it seems like little extra work, taking care of yourself will result in more productivity because you’ll feel better and more positive about facing the day.
Eat something of value. Maybe you’re not a morning person, and the refrigerator is full of leftover Chinese food which looks like the perfect no-prep breakfast, but is that the breakfast of entrepreneurs? It definitely shouldn’t be yours. What your body needs to think and function and operate optimally is no different now that you’re not leaving the house. Spend a few minutes putting together a good quality breakfast with vitamins and protein and goodness in it. The investment will pay off in a few hours when you have the energy to keep working.
Tidy the house. You’ll want to put away that pile of laundry on the coffee table and wash your breakfast dishes, but this isn’t time to clean the house, just put away the clutter before your workday starts. Most importantly, remove any distractions that will encourage you to procrastinate or get sidetracked while you’re working. Are there any projects or hobbies in your line of sight while you’re trying to focus on work? Put away your guitar, mute your social media, turn off the cooking show.
Organize your workspace. Realistically this may mean reclaiming your workspace from other activities like homework and laundry that tend to encroach on your space. Set up a professional work area so that you can feel professional while you’re working. Clean off your desk, turn on the right lighting and drag the furniture around to reestablish your home office, however small or temporary it may be. Right now, it’s your office. You should be able to relax in it.
Own your schedule. What is the perfect work-from-home program? Should you get an early start, work regular office hours, or work late into the night? There’s no right answer. Set up a schedule that’s reasonable for you and that you can stick to. If you’re a night owl and enjoy staying up late after the family has gone to bed, don’t read a productivity blog and set your alarm for 5 in the morning. That’s just setting yourself up for failure. Be comfortable with whatever your work schedule is, and make plans that allow you to keep it.
Working at home can be liberating, or it can feel frustrating and inconvenient. Which version you experience depends mostly on your priorities and routine. It is possible to be productive and profitable by following these simple steps and enjoy the freedom that comes with working at home.