Ahhh, working from home – it just emits a big sigh of relief when you think about it. There is no getting up at the crack of dawn, no dealing with traffic, no horrible feeling of “oh NO I forgot…” as you pull into the office, no coworkers and bosses that you don’t get along with… in short, working from home is AWESOME. Right? It sure is.
Until you factor in that the kids are home, your favorite TV show is on, you somehow have misplaced that really important letter, the dogs are barking, your spouse is home for lunch, you have no real office, you are taking work to bed with you, you haven’t interacted with people your own age in you don’t know how long, you’re waking up at 3am because you can’t stop thinking about that one little task and you might as well just get up and do it now… Working from home is AWFUL. Right?
There are always two sides to everything and the grass is ALWAYS greener on the other side, no matter how annoying that cliché is. So how do you manage to stay organized and distraction-free while braving the world of working from home?
- Make yourself an office.
Working from the kitchen table, the living room, or your bed sounds great in theory, but to get in the right mindset for getting things accomplished you have to carve out your own little niche. Get a real desk and make sure that you sit at it to get things done. This way you’re simulating the real-feel of working in an office and you’re not getting distracted by those big, fluffy pillows and soft, warm comforter…
- Set aside certain hours for certain tasks.
One of the beauties of working from home is that you are free to work whenever you want. It’s also one of the biggest pitfalls though, because it becomes way too easy to skip “work” to watch that afternoon soap opera you’re guiltily addicted to that has a nagging way of turning into three solid hours of TV. Designate certain hours for certain work-related tasks and then schedule in time to do the things you want to do too.
- Say no to distractions.
Inevitably you will have people (even family members) who think that because you’re working from home you aren’t really working. Slowly but surely you find yourself saying yes to run more and more errands for people because you “have time.” This is when you have to put your foot down –you are working from home and you don’t have time to do everything for everyone else. Set ground rules and let everyone know that you can’t be disturbed during certain hours.
- Make to-do lists and make them visible.
It seems pretty obvious, but so many people neglect making an actual list and get overwhelmed. Buy a dry erase board and write out what you need to get done – and do so in order of importance. List out the things you have to get done, the things you’d like to get done, and then the smaller tasks that are optional. This way you’ll have a clear idea of what you need to really be sure to focus on.
- Know when to turn it off and get out.
One of the drawbacks of working from home is that at 11pm you can still be working. Know when is a good time to call it quits for the day and stick to it. It will be better for you and your significant other/family if you have a concrete time that you shut everything down and focus only on them and you. Get out of the house, mingle with people your age, and focus on maintaining relationships. It’s easy to get wrapped up in never leaving the house and working crazy hours – but getting out and shutting everything off will help you maintain a semblance of normalcy and a level-head.
Working from home is like everything – it can be a blessing and a curse. But with some organization and strategies for counteracting distractions, you can ensure that it falls into the former category and not the latter. Besides, no one wants to find you six months from now looking all crazy-like because you haven’t emerged from your house since you quit your office job. So stay sane and set some ground rules. It’ll make everything a little easier in the end.
Kate Croston is a freelance writer, holds a bachelors degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. She writes guest posts for different sites and loves contributing cheap internet service related topics. Questions or comments can be sent to: katecroston.croston09 AT gmail DOT com.
Interested in contributing a guest blog post of your own? Check out the guest blogger guidelines.
Image courtesy of Michal Marcol / FreeDigitalPhotos.net