7 Tips To Master Working From Home
Working from home sounds like a dream but sometimes it could be a curse. By being in your own home you’re actually open to more distractions than probably a normal workplace. There's the laundry, there's the doorbell, friends texting, family calling, your pet, there's TV, internet without any restrictions and the list goes on.
I have run into just about every single one of these and let me tell you the distractions add up. Without putting a few rules in place, it's hard to actually avoid all these distractions. Here are seven things that I have learned along the way while working at home that I think will really help you get your work done quicker.
1. Set Brain Boundaries
When working from home you probably don't need me to tell you that your personal life and your business life are going to blur together. Very often we can get caught up trying to do at home tasks and business tasks at the same time but this is not good for productivity. The key to master working from home from my experience is setting brain boundaries.
A brain boundary is basically actions that will let your brain know that “okay it's time for work,” “okay it's time to stop work.” I recommend you have a routine when you start your work day and when you end your work day so you know when you're supposed to be working and when you're not.
For example, I start my work day by entering my office and going through my planner and assessing what needs to be done for the day and add in anything else that may need to be included. By assessing my to-do list, my brain knows it’s time for work to start. To end my day, I write down into my planner things that need to be done for the next day. I also give my inbox one last look to make any necessary responses and then close out of everything for the day.
If you're constantly going back and forth from doing business stuff and home stuff — you're really getting less done throughout your day. Take the time to dedicate specific hours to working and stick to them.
2. Set up a separate space to work
When you're working from home it's very common to work at the kitchen table, work on the couch or anywhere that you find an opening at that specific moment. I recommend that you set aside of space dedicated solely to working. If you're able to dedicate a room for an office space, that would be ideal but I understand that might not be the case for everyone. If you do have space for a home office and there are other people home when you’re working, it’s super important to keep your door shut. An open door gives others the chance to pop in and small talk. With a closed door, you’re less likely to be interrupted because it sets a boundary and most often we associate a door closed with privacy.
If you're unable to dedicate a room then try to find a space that nobody else will be using and you can use it solely for work. It's very important to have your own space to help you shift into work mode because you know this area is meant for work and work only. Also it's great to have all your stuff together in one spot rather than constantly having to pull out certain items to get you through your work day depending on the job that you're doing.
3. Act like you’re “at work”
So this one may sound a little silly but you need to act like you're at work. If you showed up into the corporate office and started taking personal phone calls from family members and friends, then you're most likely going to lose your job or get in trouble to some extent. When you're at work at your house you should be treating your work day the same way. Set boundaries for friends and family members who may interrupt and let them know this is your time to get work done please call me at a certain time when I'm done.
Also it's very common for us to want to get the doorbell, to answer any phone calls or texts, to go onto social media, switch the laundry, or wash the dishes real quick. These things should not be done during your work hours. I suggest you set up certain blocks of time throughout the day when you're going to be working and let everyone around you know that these are your times you’re unavailable.
By doing this, it is going to help you get a lot more done because you'll have less interruptions and you'll be able to keep your focus to power through everything you have to do for the day.
4. Put Limits on Social Media, Web browsing, Notifications & Calls
By working at home and not having anybody to tell us what to do, it’s very possible to find ourselves scrolling through Instagram on our phones a little more often than we should. Or maybe you're on Amazon doing orders or your scrolling through different web pages just for the fun of it. All of these actions are eating away our valuable time to get work done.
Avoid constant notifications on your phone by turning on the Do Not Disturb setting while you’re working. Start using tools that will limit the time you spend on social media or certain websites that you find yourself on for long periods of time.
There are loads of apps that you can find in your app store that will do this for you for. If you have an iPhone you can go to Settings then hit Screen Time then hit App Limits and you'll be able to set an amount of time per app on your phone so that you're not wasting 3 hours a day on Instagram. You can limit it to 20 minutes if you'd like.
5. Keep Learning
When you are working at home, there's a lot of things that you need to figure out along the way. My biggest recommendation for anybody working at home is to always keep learning and stay active in your field. Participate in webinars, go to events, join online communities and even take courses if you see something that your business can benefit from. Making a small investment in your education will go a long way in your business and save you from eating up your valuable time trying to figure it out on your own.
I have invested in courses along the way and they have been nothing but helpful in growing my online business. I'm someone who has a master's degree and I think I have learned more from online courses than actually showing up to University. I don't mean to bash University's but there's just some things that nobody goes in depth about. When you find an online course all about one specific topic, you’re really able to dive deep into the topic and learn and apply so much to your business.
6. Engage in community
A lot of people may think that working from home is a lonely place but it really doesn't have to be. The online business world is a large and growing community and I encourage you to be a part of it. If you're on Facebook, which you probably are, I highly recommend that you join Facebook groups around your business topic and start making some connections. There are people who are willing to talk and have friendships and the sense of community will make you feel that you're not alone, because you're not.
By joining courses and researching online groups I have developed relationships with people who I actually become virtual friends with. I value their opinions and suggestions very much and would have never had these relationships if it weren’t for these groups.
Not many people in your day-to-day life are going to fully understand what you do when you're working on your online business at home. Having a community to turn to when you have questions related to online business is the best thing you can ask for. I have never asked a question to a community and not received helpful advice.
7. Change it up
Last but not least, I highly recommend that you change it up every once in awhile. Working from home every single day can be a little bit of a drag — trust me I've been there. There's nothing like being able to go upstairs and waste time instead of sitting down to write that blog post that really needs to get done. For things that I know I'm likely to get up and walk away from, I plan to do those things out of the house.
When it comes to writing my blog posts, I usually write more than one in one sitting. To do this, I leave the house because I know if I do it at my own house I'm going to find every excuse to put it off until later. By going to my favorite coffee shop I know I am not leaving until it gets done. It forces me to sit down, focus and just get it done. And to be honest, I finish it way faster outside of the house than doing it from home.
Plus, it's always good to have new scenery everyone once in a while because seeing the same walls could get a little boring. If you're able to, I would try to leave the house at least once a week or once every other week to start with and I'll bet you'll find this to be extremely helpful in getting some of those not so glamorous tasks done.