More and more entrepreneurs are working outside of companies. Maybe they have an “office” at home, work in a shared space, or in a coffee shop. Fortunately, technology allows everyone, even entrepreneurs who need a traditional office, to benefit from the flexibility of working from home when needed.
Anyone who works at home will tell you that it has its benefits, but also its challenges. When I started my business in 1998, social media didn’t exist, I didn’t have clients, and most of my friends were in an office.
After working for a large hotel for six years, I had become accustomed to being surrounded by people every day. Working from home gave me some peace and quiet, but I was still alone. I didn’t interact with anyone except my dog. There were no people around me to share ideas. I worked long hours, many in my pajamas. No one was there to review my work and I had been forced to get up at a certain time each morning to have discipline.
After a while, I had a regular routine, joined several networking groups, and adopted certain practices. Here are some tips that will help you stay focused on your work during the day.
1. Have office hours
Many people who work from home do not rest. Others struggle to have a regular schedule – preferring to work a few hours during the day and the next day not sleep through the night. Some interruptions cannot be avoided and a customer’s delivery date may require a little overtime.
Let’s not forget family obligations, especially if the children are at home during the day. Do your best to have working hours and stick to that schedule. Then try to leave work in the “office” and turn off your phone or put it on silent the rest of the day. Give yourself some time to recharge your batteries and be more productive.
2. Plan and structure your workday
Structure your day to maximize efficiency. Take advantage of your body’s natural rhythms and plan your work around your most productive hours. If you know you focus better on the mornings, resist the temptation to check your mail until 10:00 a.m. or later. A quick review of your calendar when you start work can give you a more productive day.
Make a list of the most important tasks before you keep doing what’s less urgent. If possible, close your office door (if you have one) to make others see that you’re working and don’t want to be interrupted.
3. Dress to impress (even if only the dog)
Although it is very tempting to stay in your pajamas all day, this is not the best work habit. The way you dress affects you psychologically. Take the time to bathe, eat breakfast, brush your teeth, and get dressed to make you feel more confident. If you have a casual outfit to work with, wear it even though the office is at home.
4. Set aside a designated place to work
Consistency is an important aspect of working from home. Try to do things in the same place every day. It can be an empty room that you turned into an office, a desk that is in the corner of the living room, or even the dining table.
Make sure it’s an efficient place for you or your business and style. Surround yourself with things that inspire you and make you happy like flowers, music, and paintings. Make your workspace a place where you like to be every day and work better.
5. Take breaks
Set aside time for breaks throughout the day. Get up from your desk, stretch out, or walk around the house or on the street. Take a break to eat and enjoy a good menu. If you need some time to socialize, go out for a bite to eat with friends or customers. One advantage of working from home is having flexibility. If health is important to you, a quick trip to the gym can fill you with energy and make you have a productive afternoon.
6. Avoid distractions
One challenge of working from home is accountability. If you don’t have colleagues or partners around you, it’s easy to get distracted. There are always things to do in the house. Do your best to put them on pauses like the washing machine or dirty dishes until you go “home” in the afternoon. Set an alarm on your cell phone or computer. Don’t waste time on meetings or activities that are counterproductive to your success.