I’ve found that there are only a few activities I can successfully get done from my home office: answering simple short emails that take less than 3 minutes, conference calls, and reTweeting others’ material on Twitter. That’s it. Pretty pathetic, huh?
Why is it that my tea cupboard tempts me, the pile of laundry on my closet floor annoys me and that pile of leaves in the yard beckons me to go out and rake it up?
At home sometimes my creativity is so zapped by distractions, that I can hardly write a Tweet, much less create a semi-intelligent blog post or edit my company’s sales process outline. Why does this happen to us?
Q: How does working from home zap our creativity?
A: We don’t eliminate the wrong distractions parts of our day by creating boundaries.
Lets examine the big distractions and challenges and how we can overcome them.
The ‘No Nos’ of Working from Home
1) Assume that Work Will Happen on Its Own
You probably don’t have a boss looking over your shoulder, nor do you have a detailed schedule that others are imposing on you. You must schedule times for tasks on your own and stick to it. Working from home requires an immense amount of discipline and one should be prepared to ‘be your own boss’. Schedule times to blog, make sales calls, catch up on personal emails, etc. Honor your schedule.
2) “I Work Alone” Mentality
You are fiercely independent, which is maybe why you are working for yourself or from a remote location. however, we don’t operate effectively in a vacuum. Seek an accountability partner who also works from home. Chat once a week to talk about your schedule, how well you are honoring your scheduled tasks and what your goals are for next week.
3) Bringing Work into your Personal Spaces
It sounds like common sense, but I have been guilty of this many times. When a 6am conference call is required to chat with colleagues in a different time zone, sometimes it feels good to snuggle under your bed covers and prop your computer up on a pillow . Don’t do it! Get up, make some tea. Find another warm chair in your house and get comfy there. This is one reason why your office should be comfy-see next point) under “Must Dos”.
Must Dos for Working at Home
1) Make your Workspace Enjoyable
Get a comfortable chair and a desk that you enjoy working at. Decorate your office (or designated work space) with pictures, a nice color of paint and a nice ambiance. You should look forward to sitting in your office. If your office is uncomfortable and staunch you’ll probably end up sitting on the couch and eating Fritos instead. This hurts your personal productivity. Enjoy your office space.
2) Find Creative ways t0 Multitask
Eating and working at the same time is not the only way to save time (nor is it the cleanest). Podcasts and audiobooks are my personal favorite to personal productivity! I can listen to business podcasts or audiobooks at any moment and you can do many other things simultaneously.
Here are some of my favorite ways to use audiobooks or podcasts:
- while loading the dishwasher or cooking lunch
- while exercising
- while riding your bike to a meeting (or driving)
- while getting ready or putting on makeup
- while doing mundane tasks like data entry
- while doing yard work
3) See Other People…Daily!
I can’t stress this enough. Schedule time to see people face to face every day! Even if this means going to visit your 90 year old next door neighbor for 20 minutes in the middle of your work day, do it. I find that being alone all day actually hurts my personal productivity. I need of social interaction I spend too much time on social media browsing my friend’s pictures, but the fact of the matter is- we need to talk to people face to face! I learned this the hard way when I looked at how many hours I was spending on different tasks per day. I was taking way too long to get even simple tasks done. I was bored. My advice is to get out! See people. I promise it will help your productivity.
Working from home can be one of the most challenging and rewarding endeavors. Be sure to set yourself up with the right circumstances to be productive.