I recently began renting an office, which has truly changed the way I focus and complete tasks on a daily basis. That being said, I still complete many work tasks and projects at home. While it is a challenge – it can be done. There are many ways to stay balanced while working at home. It takes diligence, patience, and a little extra focus, but in the end working at home can be productive and can even FEEL good.
- It’s not just about working in your pajamas. In fact, I don’t recommend it. One of the many misconceptions of working at home is that you can, “work in your pjs all day.” People ask me about this all the time. The truth is, working at home is a battle of wills between your focus and the inherent distractions throughout your house. By getting dressed and sitting at your desk every day, you will drastically improve your focus.
- Turn of your phone. No seriously, turn off your phone. One of the best nuggets of wisdom I’ve ever read pertained to the fact that friends and family know you work at home, so they constantly bend the rules about when it’s appropriate to call you. Yes, working at home gives you greater flexibility. On the other hand – you’re still working! Turn off your phone while you’re working to tune out unnecessary distractions.
Along those lines….
- Set boundaries. As I’ve stated, many friends and family members know you’re at home, and may find it tempting to bend the rules. Sure, they can call you at 11AM – because you’re home! My cell phone acts like kryptonite to my concentration, and if it rings, it’s hard to let the call go. Explain to your friends and family that you are unavailable between the hours of ___ and ____ – and be sure to stick to it!
- Set unusual hours. This is my biggest challenge. My focus has always been best in the morning, so I strive to complete my daily tasks then, before the afternoon lull rolls in. That way, if the dog park is calling my name, or a friend wants to have a late lunch, it’s easy to pull away because I’ve completed my work in advance. Analyze your work habits, and find the best times for YOU to focus. Even if this means working at 11pm – if it works for you, it’s working for your business.
Working at home is a challenge that few realize until they begin. It may feel like you’re setting rules because there’s something wrong with you, or because you need a mental babysitter to rein in your ADHD. It’s important to be flexible, and to avoid overanalyzing your work habits. Don’t feel guilty if you finish your work before noon, and don’t feel bad about leaving emails unanswered for a few hours. Working at home requires a greater degree of balance in order to make work life and home life coexist in perfect harmony.