Keys to Success when Working from Home: Keep Productivity High in Your Home Business
Often, home-based business owners can have issues separating work from the rest of life. Follow these tips to keep the work flowing.
If you call a corner of your living room or your guest bedroom the headquarters of your home-based business, you know the drill: you sit down at your desk, and then, inevitably, the dog needs to go out or the baby’s up from a nap or the kitchen’s snacks are calling your name. Follow these tips in order to keep your work rhythm, even if it’s right smack in the middle of your living area.
Keep your work area clean
One of the big challenges with a home-based office is keeping your areas separate. One way to do this is to keep any “household items” away from your “work area.” That means when you sit down, there won’t be your kids' homework on your desk, dishes to be cleared or other distractions. Keep your work area neat and organized, and only allow work-related items to accumulate in the area.
One way to make sure that your work area stays separate and work-only is to have a work computer that isn’t used for anything else. If it’s a “work-only” computer, you won’t end up with strange programs on it, peanut butter fingers on the keyboard or homework scattered across the desk.
Keep the areas separate
Of course keeping organised and keeping your work area “work-only” are good ways to be able to focus when you sit down. But it’s also important to keep the space physically separate. If you have any kind of option, make sure your office is in an area where you can create a totally separate space. For many home-based business owners, this means designating a spare bedroom as an office, but that’s not necessary.
If you’ve got some room in your backyard, consider erecting a shed-like building (like a Modern Cabana or your own creation) to host your office space - this can be a great option since it offers a physical separation of space between your living space and office space. Just be sure to check with your local government for building regulations.
If you’ve only got that corner of the living room to work with, try installing a temporary “wall” by mounting curtains from the ceiling or putting up a room partition or screen. That way, it keeps kids and other lingering eyes, and creates a physical separation, which can also help create a mental separation.
Set kitchen hours
Snacking all day can be a great feature of working from home - or a terrible distraction. One way to keep yourself out of the kitchen (both for the sake of your waistline and your productivity) is to set kitchen hours. Maybe you’re allowed to go in for breakfast, once for lunch and for one glass of water each hour. If you write it down, it’ll keep you from wandering in there with no clear goal.
Work with a timer
Keep a kitchen timer on your work desk and set it for as long as you want to work. Then you don’t have to check the clock, and you know you can’t get up from your desk until the timer goes off. This keeps productivity high, because you can afford to lose yourself in your work and you’ll know when your time is up because the timer will ding.
All in all, make sure your home-based business area is working for you and allowing your business to be everything it can be.
Learn How to Work from Home, Successfully
Working at the office is difficult enough, and usually it’s an environment that’s been stripped of all fun and stimulation. At home, workers have every possible distraction close at hand – from cable TV to their favorite book to that photo album project that’s a few months behind schedule. The best part, and the worst part, is that at-home workers don’t have a boss looking over their shoulder or keeping them on task. It’s too easy to get bogged down in daily distractions, to let the mind wander and let time get away. Professionals have to learn how to master their environment to avoid all these outside distractions that make working at home such a challenge.
• Work space. The kids, the spouse and the pets may have difficulty respecting the at-home work space. It’s important for workers to define the borders of their private domains. Shut the door, put up a partition, hang curtains or simply put tape on the floor to mark out an area that defines the at-home office. It may even be helpful to incorporate a flip sign (“the worker is in/out”) or another visual method to show household members when working hours are active. Define the parameters of the workspace and talk to family members about respecting these borders.
• Schedule breaks. Instead of checking TMZ when the mood strikes or picking up the smartphone every few minutes to read the latest Tweets, schedule specific daily breaks for snacking and pursuing personal matters. During traditional work days, professionals receive one or more 15-minute breaks and one or more lunch and/or dinner breaks. Why should work at home professionals enjoy something less? Schedule down time within the workday; these breaks are needed, and they provide a constructive space for becoming absorbed in daily distractions. Be disciplined when it comes to break times to stay on task.
Finding Work at Home Jobs
Even workers who stay on task and don’t get distracted may have trouble finding legitimate work at home jobs. The Internet is packed with self-employment scams, many of them cleverly camouflaged to look like genuine opportunities, and many smart professionals have been hoodwinked by false offers. The best way to avoid getting scammed is to take a little extra time to research potential employers.
When a job offer is on the virtual table, check the BBB (Better Business Bureau) for complaints or information. Not all businesses are registered through the BBB, but many are, and this is a good starting point for research. Search the Internet at large for forums regarding the employer. Self-employed professionals make up a wide community, and many of them are willing to speak out against scammers. If there is evidence that a job offer is a scam, it probably is. If the so-called employer asks for money in any way, it definitely is. Real job offers provide money to workers. Remember this, live by this, and avoid work at home scams.
Tips for Work from Home Success
People who are interested in working from home should read up on some tips for work from home success before getting started. Working from home isn’t as easy as it sounds. It’s work! The money doesn’t make itself. Just like with a job outside the home, the time has to be put in in order for the money to be made.
Creating a Work at Home Schedule
A person working at home needs to have a set schedule to stick to. There are too many distractions around the house to not create a schedule. It’s very easy for a person to begin working and then realise that the dishwasher needs to be unloaded. At this point, a two hour break might be taken when that same person gets started on all the other things that require attention around the home. That’s two hours gone from the day’s work. A person working at a job outside the home can’t usually take two hour breaks to attend to personal matters. The same should go for work inside the home as well.
Establishing a Suitable Home Office
People who work from home should take a little bit of time to set up their home office. A home office that’s full of kid’s toys, exercise equipment, and dirty laundry from around the house is anything but pleasant to work in. Lots of clutter around - particularly if it doesn’t relate to the job - is a complete distraction. Getting rid of the excess clutter and creating a pleasant atmosphere for work in the home will make it much easier to concentrate on work.
The Importance of Self-Discipline
One of the best tips for work at home success involves self-discipline. People who work outside the home have to answer to their boss, who is usually on site and looking over their shoulders to make sure the work is being completed. People who work at home don’t have anyone to look over their shoulders to make sure they’re working. This could be seen as both an advantage and a disadvantage. No one likes a boss breathing down their necks, but then again, who is going to make sure the work gets done if the boss isn’t there? This is where self-discipline comes into play. People who work from home have to learn to make themselves work. This is usually easy to do once the person in question gets it through their heads that if the work doesn’t get done, the money won’t get made.
In short, being successful in working at home means sticking to a strict work schedule, creating a pleasant work environment, and practicing self-discipline. The people who follow these tips for work from home success tend to make more money than those who don’t. A job is a job regardless of where the work takes place. The same rules for work that apply outside the home should apply inside the home as well.
Top Strategies to Efficiently and Happily Work From Home
Working at home can meet one or two definitions: either the person is employed by a brick and mortar company that offers telecommuting, or the individual is an independent contractor (i.e., sole proprietor) with a list of clients he or she interfaces with on a daily basis. Either way, at home employment requires excellent communication skills, a comfortable office space which motivates the person, and a high degree of self-discipline to get projects completed quickly and efficiently.
Those who engage in a business opportunity via working at home will need to purchase basic office equipment such as a computer, printer, internet service, copy machine, phone, pens, paper, FAX machine, furniture, and task lighting. Some new businesses must also purchase inventory and shelves to store products. Though it may sound expensive, all of these purchases can be claimed on one’s taxes as well as any business losses via Schedule C of the 1040 tax form.
Benefits and Drawbacks to a Home Office
Working from home provides numerous benefits such as the absence of a micromanaging boss, long commutes, and freedom to work at any time of day. The worker saves money on gas and food and is free from obnoxious office politics. But while these benefits seem very tempting, there’s also another side to home employment.
Workers must consider whether they are suited for work where they are more isolated and disconnected from the world at large. Register on social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter, chat online with friends, call clients, text loved ones, and use instant messaging to keep from becoming too lonely during the day. If the person misses the office camaraderie and special events such as birthdays and group lunches, invite a client out to lunch (also tax deductible).
Top Strategies to Efficiently and Happily Work From Home
Self-discipline and prioritisation when employed at home is key. Prioritise and make good use of organisational tools such as Microsoft Project, a whiteboard, or handwritten notes with project milestones checked off as tasks progress. If having difficulty operating certain computer programs, take an online course or consult a local community college to increase productivity. Always maintain tact and diplomacy with clients. Establish a reputation as a reliable consultant with a “can-do” attitude. Also be sure to garner client recommendations.
Avoid distractions of children, spouses, pets, friends, and televisions – these can be concentration killers. However, music that motivates is a great way to get important projects done fast. Take a break every 15 minutes to stretch and walk around – too much sitting makes a person tired and groggy, leading to inefficiency and lack of concentration.
The most successful employees are able to find ways to maintain their social life while interfacing positively and diplomatically with clients. They are also able to maintain a balance between positives and negatives of home employment including distractions, concentration, and self-discipline. While working from one’s house may not be for everyone, it can be a very fulfilling way to make a living for many.