Technology makes it possible for more workers to telecommute. It eliminates the daily commute for the employee, while it saves the company on office space and utility bills.
As a remote worker, you can do your job in shorts and slippers if you like, take a break whenever you want, or keep your beloved pet at your side for company.
However, there’s a tendency to do more relaxing than working. Your breaks might turn into afternoon naps. If friends or family know you’re working from home, they might start dropping by and become distractions.
But there are (more or less) simple ways to stay productive even when you’re working from the comfort of home.
It’s critical to remind yourself that you’re still on the job, not taking a day off. From the moment you get out of bed, remind yourself that you need to get things done. At times, you have deadlines or critical projects in the works, but if it’s just another routine day, it’s difficult to feel enthusiastic.
Shuffling around leisurely in your robe and slippers puts you in a too-comfortable frame of mind. Without energy and concentration, your productivity and focus will be off, and your work will suffer.
Good habits are important. Set your alarm clock, shower, and get dressed as if you were going to the office. Don’t let yourself sleep late, eat big breakfasts, or linger over your coffee to watch the morning news.
Set up a work space that helps you concentrate on your job, whether it’s a desk in the corner or a home office. Include items like office supplies, printers, reference books, or professional certificates that you associate with work.
Try to let in a little sunshine and fresh air, as these are important for clear thinking and well-being.
Keep Yourself Motivated
You want to put in a full day, but don’t be afraid to take a break when you need to. It helps to clear your mind and relieve stress. Try to take lunch at the same time every day to train your mind and body to your routine.
If you feel the need, get up to stretch and move around a little. Drink cold water throughout the afternoon. Set small but realistic goals (for example, “I’ll finish this report by lunchtime!”), and give yourself a reward. You can treat yourself to a piece of chocolate cake or go for a walk, or whatever you prefer.
You can even put up a picture of your goals next to the desk as a constant reminder. A photo of a beautiful beach in the Caribbean will remind you that you’ll get to enjoy it if you just work hard enough and save some money.
Learn to Ignore Distractions
Let callers leave a voicemail if it isn’t work-related. You can install Google Voice for free – the callers have to identify themselves before you decide if you’re going to answer or not.
Disable social media or personal email notices. If there are other people in the house, let them know you’re not to be disturbed. It can help to keep the radio on in the background to muffle outside noises. Put off doing chores like housework until after you’ve finished your work day.
Have a Sit-Down with Your Family
You need to be more assertive with family or friends who are interfering with your job. They’ll have to learn to respect your work habits.
It can be difficult to stay focused if you’re also watching the kids. Try to get more done when they’re taking a nap, or after your spouse gets home to help.
Keep them busy with toys and games where you can keep an eye on them. You should organize your work day so that your kids adjust to your daily routine, as well.
As children get older, they’ll understand and appreciate that you’re trying to make money. Teach them good financial habits at an early age: where money comes from, the value of hard work, and the importance of saving money for future needs. You’ll raise people who don’t spend their money in vain and you’ll have your peace and quiet while you’re working.
Play After Hours
If you’re a remote employee, you may have to work standard hours to be available. A freelancer or someone with more leeway can set their own working hours. You might find it more productive to work in the evening instead of the morning, especially if you have children at home.
When you’ve been working on your own for a while, you may discover that you’re more of a night owl. If necessary, block out a few hours of work here and there over the course of the day.
Learn better time management skills, such as taping TV shows, setting priorities, and planning shopping or errands more efficiently.
But a work-life balance is important, so you should also block out time to be with family or friends, or indulge in your favorite hobbies.
In order to reduce stress, you’ve got to make the most of your personal time, as well. If work ideas pop into your head while you’re dining out or playing with the kids, just make a note of it and continue enjoying yourself.
Turn off your work phone, don’t check your e-mails. After all, your family let you work while you had to, they deserved your full attention.
All Work and No Play…
Working from home is a great opportunity, but it’s important to stay focused and productive. Stay in the right mindset by setting up a workspace and minimizing distractions.
You’ll also have to develop a routine that fits your working habits and your family life. But playtime is just as important. Setting aside your pressures and simply enjoying life is important to relaxation and health. It also helps you to focus and be more productive when you do work.