I’ve been working from home off and on since 1998. Over the years, I have found that with a few tweaks here and there, I can get a ton of work done in a little time – and I can enjoy the rest of the time, or spend time working at another job (or two, or three).
photo credit: cdedbdme
#1 – Wake up early! The pre-dawn hours are great hours for productivity. No one else is up, you won’t have to hear the phone ringing, have the distraction of email or RSS feeds or much of anything, except for the lone bird or two outside of your window.
#2 – Get (and stay) organized. Don’t try to get organized overnight, but make an effort to stay organized and put papers and books away when you finish using them. Set up schedules to backup data. Set up a work schedule and stick to it. Organization is great, and you’ll realize that the first few weeks of any organization plan may take a little more time, but as it becomes a habit, it will take less time and effort.
#3 – Minimize your environmental distractions. Yes, it sounds like a good idea to work at home because you can stay in your pajamas and have Jerry Springer droning on in the background, but this can also be a huge distraction. Turn off the TV and/or find a quiet place at home to work. My favorite place to work is my office setup in my bedroom. It has all of the things I need for a focused writing and working – period.
#4 – Work around the noise. If you live with roommates or your family, you know that certain times of the day are magnets for doors slamming and people moving about. Avoid those times for work, as you are sure to not get much done. Also, keep in mind that there may be distractions on other days, such as the garbage truck on Tuesdays or a neighbor’s party every Friday night.
#5 – Stay up late! Yes, this is the opposite of tip #1, but it works, too. Sometimes, that quiet hour or two around 11pm can help you get some work done, too, for the same reasons as waking up early. Well, except for the birds. 😉
#6 – Minimize your mental distractions! Meditate or pray before beginning work. Clear your mind of all worries and concerns before working. Focus on the tasks at hand. This can be a little difficult if your work deals with current events or problem-solving, but try to step away from them and stay on task.
Good luck working at home! If you have any tips, leave them in the comments!