Working from home can be a blessing and a curse. You get to earn income from the comfort of your own home and avoid the need to drive to your job. But you must be able to maintain discipline in order to get work done at home in a timely and low-stress manner. Following are four tips to stay the course and work successfully from home.
Keep Things Organized
Image via Flickr by EvelynGiggles
This should be an obvious one. After all, when you go to work at an office, you keep your desk clean and neat for the most part. Papers get filed or shredded, folders get put away, and personal mess is kept to a minimum. But when you work from home, you don’t have the pressure of a shared space. If you’re not an organized person to begin with, you’re more likely to slack off at home because there’s no one around to point out that you need to keep your desk clean. And because you’re at home, you’re probably telling yourself you’ll get around to it later, but then you never do it.
This eventually results in a poor work flow. You slow yourself down because you can’t find something, like a thumb drive that got buried under a pile of non-essential paper. Get into the habit of organizing at the end of the day, even if it’s only stacking paper, so that you know where things are the next time you sit down.
Set Reasonable Goals for Yourself
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. That may be easier said than done, but you do need to make it a mantra. Just because you’ve eliminated your daily commute doesn’t mean your time is infinite. You still need to do your best on any given project. If you’ve taken on too much work, you’ll spread yourself thin and you won’t have good results. Learn to say no, only take on what you can at any given time, and don’t get talked into doing more work on top of what you already have. You’ll find that the work gets done faster, and then you can go looking for more projects because you’ve finished quickly.
Minimize Distractions as Much as Possible
It’s easy to let yourself wander away from your work when at home. Temptations are everywhere, singing their siren song to lure you away from your desk. Video games, TV, and casual phone calls are just some of the things you may have to deal with. But if you’re selling Amway products from home, for example, you need to be on the phone with your customers, not playing a video game or chatting. It’s best if you just don’t acknowledge your home life while you’re working. At least try to set aside definite periods during which everything can wait until you’re done.
Don’t Let Yourself Get Isolated
This is all too easy to do while working from home. Even introverts need to get out and talk to people every once in a while. If you don’t socialize a little bit, you start to lose your connection with the outside world and people in general. Make it a point to schedule one-on-one conversations with your boss, go into the office once a week, or just go out to the coffee shop and work via its Wi-Fi connection. You don’t have to stay long, just long enough to interact with people.
The ultimate goal of working from home is to find your flow and stay within it. The more organized you are, the better your work progresses and justifies your reasons for working from home in the first place.