Working From Home Effectively

For several years, I had hoped to earn the title “Work at Home” anything.  But the field in which I worked simply didn’t allow it.  When my time finally came to take that leap from working in an office to actually running a business from the comfort of my own home, I quickly realized that I had a lot to learn about being organized enough to stay on top of the many tasks I faced every day while still maintaining a home life.  For a long time, I felt as though I could quite get that balance of work and family to a place where I wasn’t teetering from one extreme to the other.

I have realized that I am a workaholic.  Once I was given the freedom from spending 8 hours a day in an office, I found I was working 12+ hours in the home office on most days!  This certainly doesn’t leave much time for any other activities that are necessary for a happy, healthy life.

It’s important for anyone who works remotely to take measures that will keep them from becoming a prisoner of their work.  Remember, you wanted to work from home in order to have freedom, not confinement.  It is actually beneficial for those who work away from the office to schedule breaks throughout their day.  I know that sitting at the desk from dawn until dusk can be a hard habit to break for many dedicated freelancers and entrepreneurs; but if you understand that getting away from work for just a few minutes can actually make you more productive, you may be more open to stepping away from that desk.

Those who have kids may have built in breaks throughout their day, such as transporting to and from school.  This is ideal because all you need is just a few minutes away from the task at hand in order to rejuvenate.  However, if you don’t have built in breaks, perhaps the following ideas can help you create some for yourself.

  • Make sure to start the day off right with a nice breakfast.  If the weather is nice, I like to sit on the porch.
  • Taking a mid-morning walk in nice weather can be super refreshing and increase your productivity until lunch.
  • Schedule lunch with co-workers or a friend at least once a week.  Taking this break with co-workers can allow you time to discuss updates and roundtable ideas while still getting you out of the house.  On days when you don’t have a lunch date scheduled, still take that 30 minute break and eat something!
  • If the weather doesn’t permit you to get outside, take a break in a room away from your work.
  • Allow yourself to make a non-work related phone call during the day.
  • Set up a work schedule that will keep you on track.  I have to give myself a stop time or I will work until well into the night.
  • I actually enjoy doing my household chores.  It gives me a sense of accomplishment.  I also focus much better in a clean environment.  So sometimes I will start a load of laundry before I begin a work task.  Then I take a short break to change the clothes over to the dryer.  May not be the most exciting break, but when I sit back down I find I have renewed clarity and focus towards the task at hand.

Those of us who work from a home office can easily be drawn into disorganization with our time.  We either work too much or too little.  Working too much essentially takes away from not only your productivity, but also your zest for life in general!  Take a break every single day.  Read a book; do something for yourself.  Doing so will benefit both you and your business.

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