Designate your workspace. And you should do the same. Your workspace needs to be just that: YOUR workspace. Your desk and computer are yours and should be treated the same way that they were treated when you worked for someone else. Were your co-workers allowed to sit at your desk, use your computer and rearrange things? Then your children and spouse should be expected to follow the same rules. Others will follow your lead on this. If your workspace is cluttered and sometimes used as a play station, it will be expected that this is the standard. Set boundaries. Your computer should not be the household computer. No games get played here. No recipes are stored here. As a matter of fact unless it’s work related you probably shouldn’t access the Internet from your work computer. Again, treat your office the same way you treated your away from home office.
Give yourself business hours. In other words, actually GO TO WORK. I think that we all know that when you work from home it’s easy to get distracted by things in the home. For example you may want to just vacuum the floors really quick or quickly water the plants. All this does is lead to you doing other non-work related stuff. Which leads to you getting to the end of your day with no work getting done. Only work gets done during business hours. No telephones get answered. Do not answer the door. Do not schedule lunch dates or errands during this time. When you actually set aside a block of hours where nothing gets done but business, your productivity will shoot through the roof. When you set this standard for your day, others will eventually get used to it and they will stop calling and inviting during that time. And believe me that does not mean that they will stop calling and inviting all together, they will just respect you and your time more.
Start your day with a to-do list. It’s no use getting all dressed up and heading to “the office” with nothing to do and no plans on where to start when you get there. Without any idea for what you need to get done, you leave yourself wide open to opening the door, inviting your girlfriend in for a quick coffee and being talked into a mid-day shopping trip. NOT GOOD!
Yes, working from home is challenging, but with the right tools and mind set it can be rewarding in so many ways. If you are tossing around the prospect of working from home or happen to be working from home but just not as fruitfully as you thought you would be don’t be discouraged. Just give yourself time and a little work from home makeover and you will be on your way.