I have a love/hate relationship with working from home. Not a day goes by that I am not thankful for the freedom it provides to my schedule (not to mention the fact that I can work in my pajamas) but sometimes it can be a real challenge to stay focused and occasionally I even miss having co-workers (gasp!) Whether you are new to working from home or just want to make sure you are using your home office to its best potential, here are some ways that you can make the experience that much better.
It can be hard to focus on the task at hand when you are working in a cluttered space. Even worse, a disorganized area may cause you to spend your working hours cleaning instead of getting your work done. Avoid losing valuable time at work by starting with an organized space with no distractions.
Let There Be Light
As a photographer, it is imperative for me to have good lighting in my workspace. I am often grabbing my camera to try out new skills or photograph various objects in working space. Many bloggers use their cameras in their working space as well to capture crafts, food, or recently purchased items. As a writer, good lighting keeps me alert and focused. Regardless of what career path you have chosen, having a well-lit workspace will ensure that you are focused, awake, and more energized.
Get An Amazing Chair
I try to remember to get up and stretch my legs every 30 minutes or so throughout my workday but even when I remember, I still end up spending a good amount of my day in my desk chair. If you are going to spend a good portion of your day in a chair, you need to make sure it is a good one. If you are going to splurge on only one thing for your at-home workspace, this should be it. Not only do you want to be comfortable throughout your workday, you also want to ensure that you have the proper support for your back throughout the day.
Personal vs. Professional
Not everyone has the space to devote an entire room to a home office but that doesn’t mean that you can’t carve out a small space to work in somewhere in your home. Even if it is a tiny space, having a dedicated “work space” is very beneficial. Not only will it help you get into more of a “time to work” frame of mind, it will also keep you away from doing things that you should do on your personal time. On the flip side, when you are off the clock, it will make it easier not to start working again which could eventually lead to you becoming a workaholic (trust me I have been there). Having a strong work ethic is important but you need downtime to recharge and refresh your mind and creativity.
Concrete Business Hours
Piggybacking off of my last point, it is important to set boundaries between your personal and professional life. When I first started working from home, I worked around the clock and had very minimal downtime. Working like that for too long will lead to high levels of stress. Establish business hours and stick to them unless you have a business related emergency that needs to be worked on. Make sure to set personal goals every week that need to be done outside of your business hours. For example, every week I Skype with one of my friends who lives out of the state or country, I have lunch with one of my local friends, and I have at least one date night with John. This ensures that I have time to relax and enjoy other parts of my life, besides my business.
I hope these ideas help you as much as they have helped me. If you have any tips to add, let me know! Also, let me know how your workday improves after you establish these ideas into your daily work schedule.