Working from Home? Tips for Improving Your Productivity

Working from home does allow you a good amount of freedom and flexibility but if you’re not careful, you could be whittling away at your productive hours without knowing it.  If you don’t determine this early, you could already be wasting a lot of man hours in being non-productive.  This could cost you in terms of resources and income.  To work from home effectively, follow these tips to increase your productivity:

Work out a schedule

Having a set period of time with which to work may go against the very thing that attracts people to work-from-home opportunities.  So where does the chance to work with flexible time go?

Actually, the opportunity is still there.  You merely have to make sure that you keep a work schedule that will allow you to focus on the required tasks.  This is to ensure that you do give a particular project the attention due to it.  Otherwise, there’s no telling when you’ll finish a task.  Remember that you have clients waiting for your output.  If you can’t meet deadlines, you will be viewed as unreliable and you could lose clients easily that way.

Set a schedule that is best for you – it doesn’t matter what time you start as long as there is a set number of hours in which you can work.  This will help establish your working rhythm.  Once you get the hang of it, it shouldn’t be such a problem.

Respect your work area

Never allow other aspects of your home life to spill into your work area.  Your work area should be a clearly defined physical space and should be treated as such not only by you but also by other household members.

Keep all work-related stuff within this area and keep everything else out of it.  If you’ve just finished doing laundry, for example, don’t ever think that you could bring the clothes to your work space and fold them while you read your e-mails.

Don’t always wear a pajama to work

Sure, you’ll be working from home and there really is nothing wrong with wearing pajamas in front of your computer.  However, you could fall into a complacent phase.  If you get out of those pajamas and change your clothes, you will feel more obliged to honor the ‘work’ aspect of your work-from home job.

Document important stuff

You will have to be organized in order to run a successful work-from-home business or job.  Have a place for every document, file, paper, drawing or project that you encounter.  If you have multiple clients, for example, keep their files separate, regardless of whether they’re electronic files or physical files.  They’ll be easier to locate that way.

You should also keep records of every important transaction you have.  Documents such as receipts, agreements, sales invoices, approved drawings or copies and the like will be invaluable references later.

Respect your deadlines

Some deadlines are set by clients, the kind of deadlines that you better have a really good reason for missing.  If the deadlines are imposed within a reasonable period of time for you, then you shouldn’t have a lot of problems with it.  However, it might also be a good reason to set deadlines for yourself

Set weekly goals.  That way, they won’t seem too intimidating for you and they will be easier to check off once you’ve accomplished them.

Learn how to handle distractions

Unless you work from home in your own island, distractions will happen.  If you can’t handle them well, you could lose a lot of your productive time to efforts and tasks that will prove to be unimportant or completely useless later on.

If distractions cannot be avoided, learn to limit them instead so you don’t lose your focus or momentum.

Ask your clients for comments and feedback

This is a very effective way of determining whether you work productively or not.  Take the comments and feedback you receive from clients to determine your strengths and weaknesses.  If there’s room for improvement, then go ahead and make the necessary changes.

Allow yourself to let go once in a while

You could work your bones off but sooner or later, you’ll realize that much of the effort you put in were simply not worth it.  Take a break when necessary.  Small ones will do on a daily basis, such as taking about 15 minutes off to rest your hands and eyes, taking a break to refresh yourself or perform simple exercises or just simply to sit down and relax.  You’ll be surprised at the positive results these will produce.

Reward yourself

If you’ve done an exceptionally good job, by all means, give yourself a pat in the back.  Or give yourself a small token or gift for the effort.  When you work from home, you could sometimes get into a routine that could get boring for a while.  When you accomplish something that’s truly significant, why not break the monotony to remind yourself just how right you were for choosing that career path.

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