When you work from home there are many benefits and it can seem very appealing, but there is also a downside. Working from home can take away your efficiency if you are not very self disciplined; there are lots of distractions, it can be difficult to get into work-mode but, if you are well organised, you can actually be more efficient when you work from home.
1.Plan. At the beginning of each month, each week, or each day (whichever works best for your business) you need to create a plan. This may be basic bullet points of what you want to achieve by the end of the month/week, or it may be more detailed points about all the tasks that you must complete and the days you intend to do them. Allocate your work time so you are able to see the structure of your day, and how realistic what you are hoping to achieve is.
2. Refer to the plan. It’s no good making a plan and then being distracted. Work your way through it, look back at it and tick off what you have achieved. This will keep you focused and aware of how you are using your time. It will also help you for future plan-making too.
3. Get into work mode. When your commute is simply walking from your bedroom to your spare room, it can be easy to lack professionalism and not be in the right head space for work. Although you are in your own home, you can still achieve feeling like you are in a professional place by doing a few simple steps; get dressed so that you take yourself seriously (it’s tempting to stay in your dressing gown I know…), check your schedule and diary, and think about what you aim to achieve that day and put aside your ‘home head’.
4. Explain to others. How often is it that you get someone ringing you up or knocking on your door during your working day, because ‘you work from home I thought you might be free!’ People need to respect your work time. If you let them interrupt you, they will take away from your concentration and your allocated time to specific tasks. This will push you behind and this is when your work/life balance becomes difficult, as you will find yourself working into the evenings to accommodate this. Explain to your friends that you can’t be interrupted during certain hours and ensure that everyone understands this.
5. Housework. When you’re working from home it is useful to be able to put your washing in, do some work, then pop back to take the washing out again and do other such jobs. Although this is okay to do, it’s important that it doesn’t take away from your schedule. Try to work it into when you would pause naturally for some lunch anyway. If you keep stopping mid-work to feed the cat, water the flowers, tidy up the kids’ toys and so forth you will not work efficiently.
6. Space. Ensure that you have a specific place to work. You may not have a whole room dedicated to an office or a garage for a studio, but you do need to have a defined work area. This may be a corner of one room but it’s important to define that area, and that people know not to disturb you when you are working there. Have all your equipment and work set out as practically as you can, and ensure that your family don’t move it or think they can take over your space when you aren’t there.
7. Reflect. At the end of each month or week reflect back on what you have achieved, and you will find which days were the most effective and how that was so. Maybe you will notice a pattern that fits in well with you- starting your day earlier perhaps or working with minimal breaks. Working from home should be a flexible option, so reflecting back you can see what works well for you and how you can tailor your work to continue to be efficient.
There are many benefits from working from home but you do need to be structured and well disciplined. If you follow the above tips then there is no reason why you cannot run a successful business from your own home.
For more interesting reading on home working and work life balance see the article: