It’s the 21st century which means more and more jobs are done online. With this kind of freedom, most people who can, work from home. Since the trend will continue, this post will likely either be helpful for you right now or in the near future.
Now, keep in mind that everyone works differently. The following is a post about how I and many people I work with stay productive while working from home. You don’t have to adopt all of these methods but adopting just a few may really make a difference in your life. Let’s get started.
Stick to a Schedule
Early on, you may think you can create your own schedule. You may think you can work during off-hours when you feel more productive (I’m talking to you, night owls). Or you may think you can take the afternoon off since you woke up and started working so early. However, you’re still working with other people via the internet. You need to be able to commute with them throughout the day. This means you’ll probably have to stick to your regular 9-5 schedule. This also helps when you need someone else. Trying to get in touch with your programmer at 12 AM may be tricky. Also, the rest of your life runs around a 9-5 work schedule. So taking care of your kids, socializing, etc. still need to happen at their ordinary times – regardless of whether you work from home or in an office building.
However, if you work with virtual assistants living abroad, your case may be different. But for the most part, you need to stick with a schedule.
Put Real Clothes On
Clothing on the outside make us feel different on the inside. It’s why wearing a suit will make you feel more professional and qualified. Wearing pajamas while working at home may be fun for a while but your quality of work may suffer. You may start to see yourself as lazy and indifferent. This is not the way you should be working. Consider wearing at least jeans and a decent t-shirt. This will also help when you get an unexpected Skype call. It could be pretty awkward if you answer your Skype call from your pajamas. Even if you don’t need to impress others with your clothing, you should be impressing yourself.
Don’t Let Your Friends/Family/Neighbors Push You Around
This is actually a huge problems for a lot of remote workers I know. Friends and family don’t understand that you still work 8 hours/day. It doesn’t feel real to them. All they think is that you’re at home 8 hours/day. Friends, family, and neighbors may ask you to do things for them throughout the day: water their plants, keep an eye on the house, scoop the snow, etc. Explain to them that you’re working during the day just like anyone else. True, it’s slightly more flexible, but there’s still little time for other tasks. Kindly reveal to them that you are still very much working hard – even if your commute is 10 feet.
Remember to Network
Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you’re completely independent. You’ll still need people and people will still need you. Make sure to stay in touch with your contacts – and meet new ones when you get opportunities. I find it convenient to stay logged in to multiple messaging services such as Skype and Google Talk. That lets people know that just because you’re outside the office, I still exist.
One dangerous part of working from home is the saying, “Out of sight, out of mind.” I’ve heard people complain that because they work from home, they get passed over for promotions. Make sure you’re still meeting with people regularly. Go out to the office every once-in-awhile if you feel it’ll help your cause. Make sure people know of your recent accomplishments as well. Don’t be swept under the rug. Don’t have people say “Who’s she?” And then have someone respond with, “Oh, she works from home.” in a dismissive tone.
Watch out for Burnout
What I’ve noticed is that working at home can be pretty intense. While working in the office, people come over to talk to you, you attend more meetings, and you’ll often walk to people’s offices. These are breaks from actually working hard to get things accomplished. These are more laid-back activities. When working from home, these don’t really exist. At home, the work is steady throughout the day. It’s often just you, your computer and your latest project. Don’t get burnt out working straight from 9-5.
At the office, you typically have a 15-minute break in the morning and another in the afternoon. You’ll also usually have an hour for lunch. You are still able to take these at home. Find activities to do during those times. You can chat with people on Facebook, do laundry, walk your dog, say hi to the neighbors, watch a few short YouTube videos, etc. until you’re recharged and ready to continue working.
Final Thoughts About Being Productive from Home
Most people love working from home. My favorite part is probably not having a commute. Commuting is horrendously expensive and tedious. Many people don’t think of it – but with a commute you are literally paying to go to work. That’s no fun. I’m happy to have that out of my life.
I hope you found these tips useful. Comment below if there’s anything else you do to stay productive while at home!
I’m a personal finance freelance writer and webmaster. I welcome you to visit me at www.thefrugalpreneur.com