Studies have shown that home office workers can improve their productivity up to 13.5 percent over in-office workers. But it can certainly feel as though you can’t get anything done when you work from home. Working from home is often filled with distractions and this can ultimately lead to a loss of efficiency.
Working at Home Doesn’t Mean Being at Home
It’s easy for people to assume that because you’re “at home,” you aren’t working. Most spouses would never think of stopping by work to ask you to do the dishes, but they might not think twice about popping into your home office to ask you to mow the lawn. Because of this, it’s important to draw clear lines between your work life and your home life.
- Maintain your “business hours.” If you can’t keep when you’re working straight, neither will anyone else. Make sure you have set hours to work — you don’t always have to adhere to them (most small business owners can’t), but they will serve as guidelines for when you’re definitely working. Let your family and friends know: “between these hours of time, I’m not to be disturbed.“
- Keep your door closed. Having a physical barrier is often enough to send a signal: “I’m at work!” It’s not rude and it’s not just for you; most people want to know when you’re busy and can’t be interrupted.
- Try not to compromise. When things do come up during your “business day,” create a To Do list of things to do once you’re off work rather than immediately going off to do them. Remember, switching gears takes time; even if something seems simple to do, it can distract you.
Above all, getting everyone else on board is extremely important. For most people who run a business from home, the primary distractions are often friends and family members – even those who mean well.
Invest in the Technology You Need to Get the Job Done
Sometimes distractions also come from within.
When you’re at home, you’re surrounded by all the creature comforts – and that means it can easily become a distracting task finding the right work music, organizing your personal files, or simply reading your work email.
For these problems, there are technological solutions.
- Consider blocking problem sites. Certain productivity suites can block your browsing during work hours, so you won’t find yourself idly reading the news or catching up on entertainment magazines. When you’re sitting down at a computer, it can be too easy to “go into automatic” and start doing familiar tasks.
- Get a productivity tracker. Productivity trackers will give you a complete list of your tasks and make sure you’re meeting your deadlines. These timers can be set to time you at intervals, so you work a certain amount of time before taking a break – and they can also chart your time, to identify any potential gaps in your productivity.
- Separate your work life. Don’t forget to separate your work emails and your home emails, in addition to any other accounts you might have. Otherwise it’s too easy to get distracted with a personal task when you’re supposed to be working on a work-related one.
There are many advanced productivity suites available that give you dozens of tools designed to enhance your work. Some people work better with simple tools (even an egg timer); others want a complete, cloud-based suite. It all depends on your working style.
Take Control Over Your Working Space
Sometimes closing your door isn’t enough. You can also find yourself distracted by the things that are around you; this is especially true if your home office doubles as something else, such as your personal office or an entertainment room. It’s important to take some time to organize your space.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Place everything that you don’t need neatly in drawers or filing cabinets; your working space should be as free of clutter as possible. But also make sure you don’t put away anything that is necessary, as that could lead to becoming distracted and forgetting it.
Invest in a Filing System
If you have documents that do need to be filed, make sure they are organized and sorted. A filing system will make it faster and easier for you to find things — and that means that there will be less time to be distracted.
Create The Right Atmosphere
Don’t forget about relaxation. Stress is one of the major reasons people seek to distract themselves. Make sure your working space is relaxing, by filling it with natural light, getting some plants, and decorating it with pictures that are calming.
Less is more! Your work space should be clean, minimalist, and focused. The more things that are around you, the less likely you will be to be able to concentrate. You can even consider painting your room a bright or friendly color that will calm you down and inspire you.
Running a home business is a challenge for these reasons and more. That means you don’t need any additional distractions. Through a combination of habits, technology, and environment, you should be able to sit down and focus on your work day after day. But getting started isn’t always easy. If you want help organizing your home life and your work life join our 7 Days To An Organized Home Office Program. We’ll help you clear clutter and get more done!