Working from home can be a liberating and rewarding experience, but can also be a challenge for many entrepreneurs and professionals. You may have your home office set up complete with all the essentials you need to get your head down and do some work, but working from home can also be a lonely experience at times if you do not respect some of the pitfalls.
Here are some tips provided by our own community of business owners to help you overcome these challenges when working from home.
Set achievable goals
Working from home and under your own initiative means you have to stay motivated. It can be easy to finish earlier and get up later than you would if you had traffic to beat so that’s why setting goals each day will keep you focused and consistently working to achieve the results you need. You won’t have a manager to report to who will keep you in line, so set yourself goals to monitor that you’re on the right track, both on a personal and professional level.
Keep a routine with meals
Another tip to bear in mind when working from home is to keep to a regular routine with your meals. Eating a healthy and wholesome breakfast before you begin any work is a good way to start the day. Don’t sit at your desk with your breakfast while checking your inbox first thing in the morning. If you are tempted to snack, ensure you have some healthy snacks to hand, such as fruit or nuts, instead of getting up to wander into the kitchen every 15 minutes on the hunt for biscuits, crisps or chocolate. Keep any snacks on your desk to snack on throughout the day just as if you were sat in an office away from home.
Make sure you stop for lunch for a reasonable amount of time when working from home too. When you begin to feel hungry, stop working and don’t eat at your desk. Turn the TV on while you eat, listen to the radio or read the newspaper – anything that can give you a break away from your work – before sitting back at your desk.
Avoid housework when working from home
As tempting as it may be when working from home to get up and tidy the kitchen, go and put your clothes away or put another load of washing on, these are the “quick” tasks that cause endless distractions and mean you’ll struggle to get very much done at all. If you know you can’t resist doing the little chores here or there, ensure at the end of each day everything is tidied away and that washing is done at weekends to avoid doing it during the week. You don’t want to be working amongst all your washing!
Take regular breaks
Working from home doesn’t always have to mean you’re always distracted (just ask our VAs!). If anything, you can start earlier than most people and finish a lot later than you realise, simply because you have nowhere to travel to or any meetings to attend. That’s why it’s especially important when working from home that you take regular breaks. Set aside time for breaks where you go and make yourself a coffee, read the news for 10 minutes or get up and walk round the garden or your neighbourhood for 10 minutes. Taking regular breaks when working from home can help boost your productivity and help you to focus.
Ensure you speak to people
It can be a lonely experience at times when working from home. You can become so overly focused and wrapped up in your work, that a day or two can pass without you having spoken a single word to anyone. Make sure you pick up the phone to colleagues and clients, or your family and friends in the evening. Why not try going to Meetup groups or networking events where you can meet people who are also working from home and are in a similar situation to you? You’ll find that other like-minded people also share the same difficulties you do when working from home. Sometimes it’s good to get a sanity check!
Value your time working from home. Find ways to overcome the challenges and difficulties, but also really embrace the freedom you have when working from home. Not everyone can enjoy the same luxury!