People who work from home suffer from several different problems including isolation and distractions. But here are 5 simple ways to become an effective at-home worker.
1. Switch into work mode. It’s hard to feel like a productive professional with flannel jammies, fuzzy slippers, and bed head. Get up, take a shower, and dress like you’re actually going to work (because, hey — you are).
2. Separate your workspace. If your computer is in the living room, you’re more likely to succumb to the Xbox, Oprah, or the bong. Section off an area of the house, preferably a room with a door, to be your home office. Learn to focus ; it’s a skill. Spend time there only when you’re working.
3. Firewall your attention. Let’s face it: You’re not going to get that presentation together when the kids want lunch, the dog needs a walk, and your sister-in-law keeps phoning about your nephew’s birthday party. Get a babysitter, turn off the ringer, and shut the door to signal you’re off-limits.
4. Create small deadlines. An entire day of working at home stretches before you, and it feels like you’ve got all the time in the world… why not watch a little M*A*S*H? Avoid procrastination by setting mini deadlines — for example, must finish revising this document by 10:30 am so I can be at the gym by 11 — to break up your day and instill urgency in your tasks.
5. Limit email to specific times. When you’re working by yourself, email starts to feel like your lifeline to the rest of humanity. As a result it can quickly take over your day and trash your productivity. To keep this from happening, only check your email at scheduled times, like when you start work, 10:30am, 2:30pm, and at the end of the day. In between, turn off your email program and get to work.