4 Tips for Working from Home Successfully

Started your own home business? Telecommuting for the first time? Here are a few tips to help you maximize your time and more importantly your efficiency.

Tip 1

Work area – Your work area is your first port of call when attempting to change your work habits for the better. This area needs to be clean and organized, make sure you have a desk with drawers or somewhere you can put things that aren’t being used so they are out of the way. Many people who work at a computer need simply a pen and paper, for making notes about phone calls, or jotting down reminders if you don’t put them all on the computer. A clean work space helps stop your mind from becoming cluttered.

The location of the work area is just as important as the state of it. If possible make sure your desk isn’t in front of a window, as the backlight from the window can become very distracting causing you to lose focus on the current task more often. Try to have the desk so you can turn to your left or right and see the window, the natural light helps keep you awake and alert.
Tip 2

Distractions – This is the biggest timewaster in any office environment. It is also one of the hardest to eradicate and these tips won’t solve all your problems. Think about what distracts you in your current work area, here’s a list of a few you might come up with.

  • TV
  • Radio
  • Music
  • Phone Calls
  • Emails
  • Visitors
  • Shiny Metal Objects

Each of these distractions can be eliminated or controlled, with exception of the last one if you run a scrap metal yard.

It’s obvious how to eliminate TV, Music, Visitors from your workplace, but controlling emails and phone calls are another matter. Many businesses rely on phone calls and emails for generating income or maintaining contact with current or future clients.

A few guidelines for gaining control:

  • Give yourself set times to check emails. Stopping your current task responding to an email and returning to that task is very detrimental. If you are at the computer all day disable the automatic alerts and sounds that signify you have received an email. As the old saying goes out of sight out of mind.
  • Answer calls at certain periods of the day, you may need to have a number of times during the day depending on the volume of calls you receive. Let any calls that fall outside these selected periods go straight to your phone message service. Make calls and respond to calls during the times you have selected during the day.
  • Try to set these periods towards the end of the day as people work better for the first 3 – 5 hours of the day. Tap into this fact; schedule the tasks that require more brainpower during the earlier parts of the day. I for example am a website developer so I try to schedule my new programming projects at the start of the day, and do my maintenance and client relations towards the end of the day to help keep myself focused.

Tip 3

Work Faster – Sounds like something your boss might say (if you have one that is). Everyone can work faster they just need to find what motivates them.

If you are a goal orientated person:

  • Set yourself a goal for the day, week and month etc
  • Define the priority of these goals and work to your plan through out the day – Plan your work and work your plan
  • Cross off the goals as you achieve them
  • Make a point system so once you achieve a certain amount of points you get to give yourself a treat, get a masseuse for an hour, talk a walk along the beach, go get an ice cream, take a day off (you might want to give all these treats a certain number of points and you can redeem them for a reward, so you don’t take a day off after you achieve each goal :P)

If you are a task orientated person:

  • Define the tasks required for that day or week much the same as goals and give each task a time limit e.g. 45 minutes.
  • Get a stopwatch and when you begin a task start it, record the time on your list of tasks.
  • Revise this list and determine which tasks are taking you longer amounts of time to complete, schedule these tasks earlier in the day when your brain is in high gear.
  • Google’s Task Tracker on Google Desktop is a great FREE product. You simply double click a task and it starts the timer. You can make the tracker stay open all day so you can see how you are progressing.

If your job requires you to be inspired:

  • Devote a wall in your office area or if possible an entire room to be your inspiration area.
  • Put up pictures of your friends and family surround them with photos of the things you like, the beach, the forest, cars, Barbie dolls whatever it is that inspires you.
  • Start the day by walking into this room or staring at the wall. When you feel yourself laxing through the day go look at the wall again. Add to the wall, take away from the wall whenever you need.

Tip 4

Distinguish between work time and life time – Many people who run a small home based business or who start to telecommute begin to find they struggle to determine where their work ends and their life beings. Set yourself specific hours of work. In Australia the norm is 9am – 5pm. Stick to these hours, if you work later one day give yourself an early mark the next day. If you begin to put many of the other tips I’ve provided into action you will find you get more done in those same hours that you can begin to leave work early. Or even have an extra day off a week. If you get to this point, attempt to push yourself by adding another set of tasks into your daily routine. Or use that time to learn a new skill that you can use for your business. A rolling stone gathers no moss.

This is just a small set of tips to help you excel. It is not an exhaustive list but it covers many of the core parts that will help you become an effective worker, giving you more time to yourself and your work life will be more rewarding. I have found these to work really well for me, i just hope they work for you.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply