We all dream of working from home. Well, maybe not everyone but I like to think most people do. What’s not appealing about starting your day at 10:00am in your pjs @ your home desk, taking a walk when you feel like it, firing up the Xbox to kill a few zombies around 2:30pm, catching up on Dexter at 6:12pm and so on. Yes, I know. It sounds like vacation right? Nooootttttttt!
Working from home effectively can be very difficult if you don’t have a good amount of self discipline. It took me about 1-2 weeks to get it right and I assume it will vary for others. We all have our temptations and some people have more self control and discipline than others. Here are a few things that should help you get started with your journey to an effective home office.
Know your value vs time
Unless you are a millionaire or expect a rain fall of cash from your parent, working from home needs to translate into revenue or something of value. Figure out what that value is so you know what you are loosing when you are not really working. An easier way to figure out the monetary value of your time is to ask yourself what you are worth in the corporate world. If your rate is $48/ h, then that’s your value per hour. Anytime you find yourself doing something not considered work, remind yourself you are loosing that value which should give you the motivation you need to get back on track.
Get in a daily routine
Having a productivity routine increases your disciplinary bar. Productive routines are different for everyone so you will need to discover yours. Figure our what time slots within a day you are most productive and make sure your routine has you working during those slots. Make sure you also get the rest your body needs to be fully productive when you are awake. Lets sprinkle a “couple” of short rewarding time slots that takes your mind of work but keeps you in a “go-to” productive mode like brewing coffee in the morning, reading the new papers or your favorite blogs, checking your email/mailbox, taking a short walk/30 min workout etc. Put all these time slots together to form your routine and stick with it. You will be amazed how well having a routine works.
Dress the part
Working in your pj’s is fun but it also sets your mental mode to relaxed, which is not what you want when you are working. Yes, you want to be comfortable but you also don’t want to be too relaxed to the point of wanting to take a 2-3 hrs nap or sitting on the couch with your favorite bag of chips. In the name of productive routine, dress the part. Dress like you are going to work and your mind will stay in that mode till you are ready to mentally go home. That will help separate your work persona from your home persona and increase your productivity.
Inform potential external forces about your work routine
Having a productive routine is not enough if you have external forces try to blow it away. Identify those external forces and let them know of your routine so they don’t distract you. If you have kids, try to communicate that you need to get work done so you can have time to play with them when you don’t have to work. If you have friends that tend to call on you during your productive time slots to go hang out, let them know about your routine so they don’t distract you.
With the above steps and some luck, you should be able to work successfully from home and over come the urge to slack off. I’m also a member of a co-working space so when I want to work away from home, I have somewhere to go. That allows me to fulfill my office mate requirement. You don’t need it to successfully work from home but I find it very effective to connect with peers of the same mindset.
Credit: Featured image by Shogo at Odosketch.com.