Oh, great tips! I'm just starting out working at home and find it very challenging to stay focused. Today was day 1. I literally had to force myself into a reality check when I had my coat on and keys in hand. Thanks a bundle!
Are You Productive In Your Home Office?
Going from the corporate cubicle life to working at home can be a gift or a disaster. Here are solid tips that will help you stay focused and become more productive.
Did you know...statistics show every interruption takes about 6-9 minutes. After, you need an additional 4-5 minutes to get your head back in the game. With only 10 interruptions you could lose over 2 hours a day. In an office these can range from email to unscheduled calls/conferences. Working from home, well that's a different matter. It can even be more costly.
No one told me these statistics when I left the corporate world to start my own business. As a cost effective measure, I decided to work from home. I had a spare bedroom that I could convert into an office. Perfect.
Secretly I'd longed for the "flexibility" of a home office. I saw myself at work in a calm tranquil environment. In my dreams I was productive, successful and less stressed. I blissfully entered my new venture unaware of the time wasters ahead of me.
Soon reality set in. Although I'd start the day with good intentions by 10am I found myself walking the dog, doing laundry, socializing with friends and not getting work done. By the end of the day, I'd look around and wonder why I hadn't finished what I started at 8:00am...I'd had all day to do it.
Can you relate? I had to set boundaries and quick. I realized that in the corporate world boundaries are already set for us. We show up at a particular time, take lunch and go home. When I looked at my home office life, well, let's just say anything went.
Here are a couple of tips that I've used to get back on track. Several of my clients have also used them with great success.
- Develop set working hours - set your start time, breaks and ending time, then stick to it. I'm a morning person so I start early. I try to work no more than 8 hours. Usually I work for 4 hours, then take a couple hours off and get back to it in the afternoon. This allows me to have the benefit of being at home while still being productive.
- Communicate your working hours - it is important to communicate these hours to those inside and outside your house. When I moved closer to my sister, I was tempted to extend my "break" time. I communicated my working hours so now we meet for lunch, and I'm back in the office on time.
- Have a door to your office - I also made sure that my office was located away from the other parts of the house. This way I have to "go to work." When things are busy around the house, I can close the door and stay focused. If you don't have a door, try anything that will separate your office from your house.
- Make your office inspirational - There is nothing worse than trying to be creative in a dull space. Make you office a personally inspirational place. Use pictures, plants, books, etc. to invite you to be your best.
I schedule my work time, just like I did in my previous life. I make appointments, have my task lists and set timeframes to work on projects. Now the difference is I work during my peak times rather than a generic 9-5. I have achieved my original dream. All it took were a few ground rules.
Learn more about the author, Jen Vondenbrink.
Comment on this article
Posted by Carrie Railton, Seattle, Washington |
Apr 24, 2008
Posted by Jen Vondenbrink, Foxboro, Massachusetts |
Apr 24, 2008
I'm glad I could help. It is an adjustment, but I can say from experience once you get a system down, it is worth it.
Posted by Amy Adler, Salt Lake City, Utah |
Feb 20, 2010
Thank you for this great article. It is so hard to work in a busy household. Like many professionals, I schedule my work hours around my family. I would love to learn how other home office workers track their time to ensure that bits and pieces of their days are not lost to interruptions.
Posted by Jason Womack, Ojai, California |
Nov 27, 2010
"Can you relate? I had to set boundaries and quick. I realized that in the corporate world boundaries are already set for us."
Here is the part of the article that jumped out to grab my focus. I CAN relate, and have found that even trying ONE of your tips could give me back some valuable time each day. Thanks!
- home office
- time management
- start up business
- working hours