So you’re finally your own boss, working from home. Sounds great, right? It’s flexibility and autonomy is in most parts a perfect working situation, but it can sometimes get difficult to stay on track and avoid distractions. Daytime TV, pets, hell – even cleaning can sometimes get in the way of your work time. Here we are with some top tips to help you stay motivated, focused and productive when working from home.
The temptation is real when working from home to spend the day working in your loungewear – but resist it. Research published by The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology suggests that what you wear directly impacts both your motivation and your productivity. So get up and get dressed, keep yourself feeling your best.
HAVE AN OFFICE SPACE
Having a dedicated office space is a really important part of separating your work and home life, even when you work from home. It doesn’t have to necessarily be a separate room, but by ensuring you’re working from a desk rather than from the sofa can drastically reduce the likelihood of distractions.
Take full advantage of natural light by positioning your working space near a window. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory published a report suggesting that regular exposure to daylight as opposed to fluorescent lighting can lead to increased work satisfaction, productivity and well-being.
HAVE A SCHEDULE
Flexibility may be the main advantage of working from home, but having structure during your working day can massively effect your productivity and can help to remind you what needs doing, and what you have achieved throughout the day.
TAKE A BREAK
Make sure when you set up your schedule that you are including regular breaks. When working freelance or building your own business from home, you can end up burning yourself out by working too hard. Overloading yourself with work can wear you down easily, and this can lead to you making mistakes. Try to set normal working hours where possible, and take regular breaks to rehydrate, eat and get some fresh air.
Sometimes working from home can lead to feelings of isolation, and that’s the last thing a freelancer needs. One of the most important things in the freelance game especially is too network with potential clients, and these events can provide the perfect opportunity for human interaction and to take a break from your own company.
But only for good behaviour! It can make a massive difference to your productivity if you decide to only allow yourself a treat once a certain task is completed. Treat yourself with a coffee once you have finished a certain task – you’ll be surprised how much more you appreciate that caffeine boost.
SWITCH OFF YOUR SOCIAL
It’s difficult to switch off from social media, especially when you’re working from home with no boss to answer to. But honestly, switching off from Facebook and other social networks will get rid of a huge distraction during your working day. You can use tools like Cold Turkey to block the access to your social sites during certain times if the temptation is too much. And if you need further convincing use a tool like RescueTime which will categorise the time you spend (waste) daily.
Setting aside time during your day for exercise can really help to improve motivation and productivity. It’ll improve your mood and increase energy levels which will help keep you foused on tasks throughout the day. Research has shown that rather than waiting till the evenings when you’re likely to be too tired – workers who did 2.5 hours of exercise in their place of work each week were just as productive, if not more so!
FINISH EVERY DAY THE SAME
Make yourself a little end of day ritual, something which signals you finishing work and stepping into your free time. This is easy for people who leave the house to work, they leave the office and that’s that, done for the day. But when you work where you live it can be really difficult to switch off. Set yourself a finishing routine – like tidying your desk and writing a to-do list for tomorrow. Once that’s done you can switch your brain to relaxation time.