Try This At HomePosted: July 23, 2013
I have worked from a home-based office for most of my career. So, here are my 9 tricks for staying focused when I need to be, without working constantly.
- Create a dedicated workspace to trip your work trigger when you enter. Mine is an office where I feel inspired, focused, and productive. I’ve chosen my favorite room, with the best view, and decorated it in colors that remind me of a memorable French holiday. My desk is my parents’ old dining table at which I learned to hold my toddler’s fork correctly. My chair and footrest allow me to spend hours at the computer with less fatigue, though I’m recently standing more often!
Keep your household office (that spot where you tuck the electric bill and the kids’ soccer schedule) in a separate area where the rest of the family can access it without invading your work turf, and you can access what you need after hours, without being tempted to check your emails when off duty.
- Set work hours around your peak performance times and keep them sacred. An empty calendar suggests you’re “available” for errands, social engagements, and volunteer commitments that nibble into your peak performance time.
- Leverage home base. If you have a flexible schedule, run errands while the rest of the world toils in the 9-5 zone. Unload the dishwasher, run a load o’ laundry, or walk the dog for efficient work breaks.
- Teach people how to treat you. Especially when you first begin working from home, friends, family and neighbors may not understand your need to keep work hours. Draw your boundaries early. If you do, others will be respectful.
- Get outta the house. Sometimes I need a change of scene, even as much as I love my office space! I have a list of places I can get away for working en plein air, fireside, in pristine quiet, or energizing hustle.
- Plan for your personal needs. I prep a few lunch meals, and always have healthy snacks and favorite bevs in the home office. Prepare for self-care, or you’ll likely shortchange your needs to meet that deadline.
- Dress the part. I love paying less for expensive dry cleaning and work clothes. Still, dressing the part helps me focus.
- Hire a housekeeper. I swapped the cost of meetings in restaurants for a twice-a-month housekeeper. It’s the most affordable outsource you can make to allow you to focus on the more lucrative billable hours. And you won’t be distracted by chores when you could be earning.
- Close up shop. There’s always something for a business owner to do, so close the door to your office, un-fan a masking screen, or hang a “Closed” sign at the end of your work session.
With practice, you’ll be a productive homebody in no time! Return to these tricks when you’re having a tough time focusing on, or walking away from, the workday.
I’d love to hear your work-from-home tips and tricks! Please comment below.