Wouldn’t it be wonderful to not have to wake up at the same time every day, listen to the weather forecast, think about what to wear, cram into the metro or waste time stuck in traffic, while you worry about being late? Imagine waking up and taking your time, moving slowly into your daily routine, working from the comfort of your home.
They say the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. But if you’re one of the people who work from home, you know it’s not always as awesome as others make it seem. But by cultivating good habits and establishing a routine, you can make it as awesome as everyone thinks!
Create working hours
Some people are more productive in the morning and some people think more clearly when others are normally going to sleep. Working from home gives you the flexibility to choose when to begin and end your workday. Create working hours during the most productive and efficient times of your day.
Respect your working hours and make them available to your friends, family, and work contacts. Make sure everyone knows that from, for example, early morning to 2 PM you’re working and shouldn’t be disturbed. Maintaining a semblance of a schedule will also make it easier for you to cultivate stable business relationships.
Keep track of your progress
At 5 PM are you sometimes unsure of what you exactly accomplished during the day? Create a task list and keep track of your progress throughout the day, using whatever technique works best for you. I recommend using the pomodoro technique. Using a timer set at 25-minute intervals, attack your task with your full attention. Take short breaks, as needed, to improve your mental agility and keep better track of your progress. There’s even an application that allows you to track how much time you spend on your tasks! You can try it at Toggl.com, or try Evernote to keep track of your task list online or from your phone.
Don’t let others underestimate your work
Sometimes people have a tendency to treat working from home as a bit inferior to a so-called “real job”. Don’t let them get you down; you’re just working smart. You know what you’re capable of, and when people hire you, make sure you don’t let them underestimate the importance of your work.
When you’re self-employed and working from home, sometimes clients seem to think as if their project is the only one you have or takes precedent over other projects. Set limits and don’t be afraid to let your clients know that, despite what they may think, their project is no more important than any other you’re working on.
Personally, I don’t accept rush requests or conduct any business or work on projects outside of my stated business hours, because such things can blindside you and eventually you let somebody down or your work suffers.
The Computer – your biggest ally and enemy, in one
The computer is our most common working tool. However, it’s also an evil temptress, a source of time-consuming entertainment and endless distraction. Your brain needs additional cues to know that you’re working. Create a clean working space, equipped with everything you need, solely dedicated to work, to minimize distractions. Make it suitable to your tastes, with a comfortable chair and desk. These work-related expenses are tax deductible.
To maximize your focus and use your time effectively, it’s best not to fall down the rabbit hole of the Internet. If you find it overly difficulty to avoid, you can use web-blockers or turn off your Wi-Fi. When the Office environment is your only playground, you’ll be surprised how quickly you can finish your tasks.
One of the best things about working from home is that you don’t have to spend money or time on office clothes or follow any company dress code. Still, sitting all-day and working in your pajamas can be quite depressing and isn’t exactly motivating. Just because there isn’t anyone at your apartment, doesn’t mean looking like a wookie is acceptable.
Join a network
If you catch yourself obsessively talking to your dog, it may be a sign that you need more social time. Look for groups meeting in your city or join one of the many online networking groups, such as, BNI, LeTip or Meetup and make some more connections. Find an accountability partner, another home based business owner to talk to when you feel isolated. Create rewards for your work-at-home time and you’ll be happier and more productive!
About the Author: Marzena Bielecka is a passionate personal development writer, complete travelling addict with a Master Degree of International Relations. She loves to constantly expand her comfort zone and interact with positive, open-minded people. Currently, she’s the Head Editor at Wingman Magazine, where she shares her thoughts on personal growth.