By Guest Blogger, Christie Crowder
Some of us who are blessed to be able to work from home on a full-time or part-time basis can sometimes find it hard to work efficiently due to the many distractions that can present themselves during the day. The lure of household chores, needs of children, phone calls from friends and family who just don’t get that “work from home” concept. Working from home can be more challenging than working in an office. Getting into an efficient routine, establishing guidelines for yourself, and boundaries for your friends/family are essential to success.
1. Make sure you have “office space.” It doesn’t have to be an actual office, but a space where you can work without (or with very little) distraction. Preferably with a door that can close.
2. Clearly define your work habits. Are you a morning person or do you prefer to burn the midnight oil? What time of the day are you most productive? What time of day do you run out of steam? Do you need special lighting, a special chair or other creature comforts?
3. Once your work habits are defined, establish OFFICE HOURS to be communicated to your family, your friends, your gardener, whoever may possibly have a reason to interrupt your work flow. You may even post these on your office/pseudo office door. Make sure everyone understands that, just as if you were in an office outside the home, you ARE WORKING during these hours and do not wish to be disturbed unless there is an extreme emergency. You may want to list what those emergencies are to be on the safe side. You may also want to let your clients/colleagues know what your business hours are so they do not call you when you are “off duty.”
4. Create a schedule template that coincides with your work habits and office hours. Plan to only do activities related to your job during office hours. Schedule other activities (laundry, mowing the lawn, tag with your kids, manicure/pedicure) around these hours. No two days are the same so changes are inevitable, but the schedule template should be a document to work from.
5. Give yourself a lunch break! In fact take a couple of breaks throughout the day. All work and no eat can make for a cranky person by days end. But a break is just that… a break. Stretch, get something to eat, take a short walk, talk briefly to a friend. Don’t substitute work-work with house-work on your breaks… unless you really, really REALLY need to.
6. Stick to your working guns. You will be oh-so-tempted to throw a load of laundry in (or some other domestic activity) during work hours. I mean, you are right there, right? Try to resist the urge at least until lunch time.
7. Keep a daily work log. This runs alongside of your established appointments on your schedule. Keep track of everything you do all day…including personal/household items. If anyone has any doubt that you work hard all day long or you find yourself saying “What did I do all day?”, you have written proof. This work log also comes in handy if you have a profession in which you bill your clients for hourly services. Just in case you forgot how much time you spent on a given task, you have a written record.
List lovin’ mamma Christie Crowder is a Life Coach and Writer in Atlanta, GA. Read how she lives an imperfectly inspired life that excels within the chaos of the every day on her blog My Life – A Work in Progress. (http://www.christiecrowder.com/).
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