Technology has made it possible for many people to exercise the option of working from home. This practice has many undeniable benefits especially if you live far away from an urban business centre. You can spend the time you usually waste on a long commute doing other more productive things.
Working from home also allows you to manage your work-life balance because you have the flexibility to choose your own hours. However, it is also this flexibility that can be your downfall. Because nobody is really watching over you, it is so easy to be distracted and not have any work done. So how do you avoid these productivity pitfalls when working from home? Here are some techniques to keep you motivated.
1. Set Up A Dedicated Working Space
When you don’t have a separate space to do your work, you are more prone to distractions. If you live with other people, setting up your workstation in a common space like the kitchen or the living room is not advisable. Your family or your roommate might not realise that you’re trying to concentrate and they might disrupt your work flow by chatting. But if you work in a separate space, the people you live with will know not to disturb you unnecessarily. If you live alone, working on your bed or near the TV might tempt you to sleep it out or watch the latest episodes of your favorite show. You don’t really need a very big space to set up a home office. All you need is a small table with a comfortable chair in a quiet space in your home. Check out Pinterest on how you can spruce up your small home office desk with a vibrant plant or cheery décor. The great thing about this project is that you don’t really have to ask anyone for permission and can decorate it however you like. Occasionally, it’s also good to change it up and work in a different space like a coffee shop or a common working hall. Or better yet, why not take your work someplace you’ve always wanted to go? Keep in mind that the beauty of working from home is that you can take your work anywhere you want. Escape the cold weather and take your work to the beach or maybe spend a couple of weeks in Greece. The possibilities are endless so don’t limit yourself.
2. Get Yourself Good Coffee
One of the perks of working in an office is the coffee. Even if your company does not provide gourmet cappuccinos, it is quite easy to just pop out and order your favourite blend from coffee shops scattered throughout business districts. However, you may not always have this luxury when working from home especially if you live in an area away from commercial shops. Plus, dressing up every day just to get coffee kind of defeats the purpose of staying in.
So is there a middle ground? Well, you don’t really need to put up with an instant brew because if you work from home, there’s a few types of coffee machine you can have that will not break your budget. It may even be cheaper than buying a cup from the store. Arming yourself with good coffee is a sure-fire way to keep you alert and focused on your work.
3. Be Results-Driven Rather Than Time-Driven
Many productivity experts advise people who work from home to set up a fixed work schedule. The strict routine is supposed to ensure that things will get done. While this may sound sensible, any person who works from home knows that this is quite impossible to keep up. The primary reason you’re working from home in the first place is probably because you’re not cut out for the 9-5 stint so why would you limit yourself to a regimented schedule?
One technique that might help you get things done is to schedule your work in your calendar based on your deliverables. Have a target of how many tasks you want to finish in a day. Then, estimate how much time it would take you to finish a task or a project and stick to that time frame.
If you’re working on a long project, divide it based on milestones and schedule them as individual tasks. When you complete the tasks you set out, at the time you’re most comfortable with, you can call it a day. This way, you do not even have to work straight hours since your schedule will be results-based rather than time-based. Of course, make sure to also schedule personal time around your work schedule!
One common issue of people working from home is that they miss being a part of a group. Work friends usually hang out outside of work, attend events together and even have family get-togethers during weekends. When you work from home, it can be lonely not having that instant group of people who can be your squad. But just because you work from home does not mean you’re not entitled to happy hour! Give yourself a break and get out to mingle. Being
around people will break the monotony of being alone all the time. What working from home gives you though is the choice to meet people who share your same interests. You don’t need to be stuck with people chosen by an HR manager. There are different social meetup clubs in the UK for people who like books, art, fitness, dance, wine, travel and many more. You can also join business clubs and attend local events to expand your network.
5. Reward Yourself
When you work alone, you don’t really have people constantly telling you you’re doing a good job. Chances are, there’s no Employee of the Month Award waiting for you at the end of the year or a champagne-popping event after a big client win. What you need to do is celebrate small successes. Treat yourself to a long lunch after gaining a new client. Save up for an extended holiday and go on vacation after completing a major project. Or maybe buy that new laptop or expensive shoes that you’ve been drooling on for months. Having something to look forward to will help keep you stay on track.
You’re in control One of the best advantages of working from home is that you can control how you live your life. You can earn a living without being trapped inside the four corners of an office building and have time for your personal life. While remote work has its pros and cons, these simple techniques can help you enjoy the benefits and still get things done in the process.