How to stay productive when working from home

Written by Career Mums

15th October 2018

Guest Blog: Gemma Lacby

There are many fantastic ways to make money from home now. But staying productive as you work from home can be a huge challenge. The home is littered with distractions such as the pushy cat that tries to compete with your computer for attention, or squabbling children who are fighting over whose turn it is on a game. Working from home can also provide an emotional challenge as a poorly organised schedule can leave you feeling dislocated from society and without any structure or routine in your life. This leads to poor motivation and production. Here are a few steps you can take to stay organised and keep a motivating routine in your life when working from home.

Keep to a Routine

Setting yourself a clear and defined schedule is important for yourself and your family. By giving yourself set hours it keeps you focused and working on the task at hand, but more importantly it gives you a stable and regular routine to stick to. A good routine is needing to ensure that your life still has structure and purpose, and to give you the frame of mind that what you are doing is still work. It also tells your family when they can and can’t come to you for questions, gossip and demands.

Having a set routine, especially in the morning – as it sets the tone for the rest of the day – is crucial to productivity. Having a good routine is so much more than staying organised – it’s about staying motivated, staying healthy, and preventing mental fatigue. Having an established routine makes you more prepared for the day to come. It is also about knowing when to relax – because overworking can have a serious, detrimental effect on person’s energy and motivation. Set routines help you find that balance.

A simple routine may consist of:  

  • Waking up at the same time everyday to keep your bodies circadian rhythms in sync.
  • Doing 15 minutes’ light exercise to wake up both body and mind.
  • Taking 15 minutes to do something that you absolutely love.
  • Then, and only then do you begin the working day.

Separate Work and Play Areas

Designating an area as work is an important step for keeping motivated and helping production. Choosing an area or zone in your house that is ‘the workplace’ helps increase production, as it helps both you and your family conceptualise the fact you are not really home but at work. This shift in perception of the area will mean friends and family will be less likely to disturb you over trivial matters when you are in the work-zone. It also helps you get into the frame of mind that you are at work, not lounging around the house. It is a great way to think and keep yourself focused on the task at hand.

Kelly McCausey, a blogger, podcaster and online business coach outlines the importance of choosing an area that is free from distractions: “Never underestimate the gravitational pull of the fridge or a comfy bed.” It is recommended that your work area be away for potential influences of distraction, like televisions, fridges, and beds. By bringing snacks to your desk you can resist the temptation to go the fridge everytime you get a little bored and control your breaks in a more productive manner. Designated zones also mean you are less tempted to bring work into the relaxing zone, helping you get a refreshing and work free break.

So, a designated work area will not only decrease distraction but increase the quality of your home life.

Set Yourself Clear Goals and Targets

Most workplaces have SLA or KPI targets as it keeps the workforce motivated and focused on their workload. Setting realistic goals and targets for yourself is a key aspect in maintaining productivity. Before creating a schedule, sit down and work out exactly how much work you have to do per day to meet your income expectations. Plan your work schedule around this. These numbers will become your targets.

Goals and targets are also important as a motivational mechanism. You can use the goal you’ve set to motivate yourself when you are struggling with a task or piece of work. Achieving a target can be a thrill and spur you on, too. Having realistic targets means you won’t get lost or bogged down in work. Rewarding yourself with something small is a fantastic motivator.

Deb Bixler, a consult for home based direct sales consultants advise that you “give yourself multiple smaller goals to meet so that you don’t put everything off until the last minute.” Smaller goals will keep things moving quickly and make it feel like you are achieving more. This will be great for maintain and improving your motivation for a task and provide a framework to allow you to switch between projects and keep things fresh.

By implementing organizing a schedule, a work environment, and setting targets not only will you create a productivity plan, but you will devise a plan to keep yourself motivated.

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