The Productivity Gamble – How To make Home-Working Work For You

Working from home. It seems like such a great idea at the time. Think of the time you’ll save not having to commute into the office every day, think of the extra work you’ll get done, the concentration you’ll have from the lack of annoying colleagues constantly interrupting you. Working from home sounds like it’s the perfect solution to the common problem of being more productive at work. What is often meant to reduce stress and increase productivity can very easily end up achieving exactly the opposite effect.

If you’ve ever worked from home yourself you may already know it isn’t always a glamorous and stress free as it sounds. Those dreams of extra productivity can be replaced with distraction, frustration, sometimes anger and resentment plus an increase in those supposedly reducing stress levels too. The pitfalls of home working are real but with some preparation and planning it can also be a great success, here’s how to make the productivity gamble worth the risk…
Home Office

Make the daily routine just like the office

Creating as similar an environment to the office is an awesome start to making the working day as productive as possible. It is essentially a way to trick the brain into thinking it is in a regular work place. Working at home can increase productivity when you use the following tips…

  • Get dressed as if you are actually going into the office – if your dressed in your sweat pants and favourite t-shirt you’ll go into relax mode not work mode
  • Take your lunch into the office with you – take a homemade lunch with you into your home office. Go in at the start of the day, close the door, stop for lunch and have it in your office rather than being tempted to go and catch up on some TV or that bit of gardening you didn’t quite get finished therefore falling into distraction. Leave the office only for comfort breaks and your daily routine is still in place
  • Share your routine with the family – if you are working at home and the family is in the house with you share your schedule with them and make sure they help you achieve your aims. Disturbing and distracting you can be easy if you’re behind the office door but they must realise that you are at work and they can see you and interact with you when the working day is finished.

The ‘working too many hours’ trap

A sometimes unforeseen danger of working at home can be the temptation to work extra hard, putting in more hours than you ever have before. When the office is a drive away, the switching off process normally takes place when you exit the building. Working at home leaves temptation much closer. The pull of just getting ahead for tomorrow or just finishing that final report can lead to stress of a different kind.

An example of how to deal with the temptation to work that little bit more came from a guy in Australia, who had a problem working too many hours. Once he realised the problem, he chose to find a solution to rectify it in a radical way. He decided he never wanted to be available to work more than 11 hours a day in his home office.

He worked in his garage, and so he always needed light to see the office and work in it – often his days stretched to 15 or 16 hours. He decided, therefore, to fit a timer on the lights and electricity in the garage, and screwed his desk to the wall. This meant that when the timer went off, his lights went out and he could do no more for the day – he couldn’t access the lights without unscrewing the desk from the wall. He also couldn’t start his working day until the lights went on at his chosen time in the morning!

Extreme, but effective

The key to ensuring success working at home is showing the right discipline. If you practice the correct attitude, set the right plans in place and stick to a firm structure then working at home can be everything you want it to be, when it comes to being more productive and reducing stress.

It is simple but not always that easy to achieve!

Cutting Down On Distractions

We each of us have at least eight hours a day which we can use to be highly productive, when we work from home. With no commuting time, nothing else to focus on, no distractions from peers of colleagues, and full choice over whether we answer the door or phone, or not, people who work from home must be the most productive, prolific and successful people on the planet.

Right?

So, why do we seem to be stressed, floundering or sometimes simply swamped with work? How come we can never seem to reach the end of the bottomless pit which is our list of things to do, and walk away from the end of the working day feeling smug, satisfied and relaxed?

Distractions. The one thing coming between each of us and reaching our goals for our business. The thing which prevents full productivity, and stops us from achieving everything which we dream of both on our blogs and throughout the rest of our lives.

When you take any given day, how is yours filled? What do you do, usually, which takes you away from your desk and plunges you in to the sphere of unproductivity? For me, it’s small things which you don’t even question – helping out around the house, popping out to the store, tinkering in the garden. All of these things, as valid activities, tend to work well to keep me from doing the actions which I have set out for the day to help my business, without making me feel guilty about wasting time.

The problem is, however, they are all time wasters. If I had the method and perseverance to stop getting sidetracked by activities which weren’t associated with my blog or business, imagine how much I could achieve? Imagine the potential if I could tap in to a full eight hours a day without getting carried away with a job in the house or garden, a phone call from a friend or that sudden desperate urge I have to go and check out the box set of ‘24’?

The reality is, not one person on the planet has the power, diligence or downright stubbornness to seat themselves at their desk and apply themselves to their business for a full eight hours. Basic needs such as the washroom or lunch time will come in to play. We will need a coffee. The dog will need walking. All of these activities can be undertaken in less than half an hour a day, perhaps. This still leaves a full seven and a half hours to get on with what needs to be done.

Breaks from work are positive – they leave us feeling refreshed and comfortable, ready to apply ourselves again. The trick is to know just how long a break you may need to leave you ready for work, without letting your break expand until it becomes your full day. If you go to the kitchen to fix a sandwich, don’t suddenly notice that the washing up needs doing, the shopping putting away, the refrigerator re-stocking. Do what needs to be done, and then go back to work.

Having a conscious battle against distractions is tough at first, but very soon it becomes a habit – a discipline which you can apply automatically without feeling an internal struggle. Give it a go – and see what you are capable of, if you set your mind to it.

Optimizing Your Home Office For Business Blogging

Most people who run an online blog as their primary source of income tend to be home workers, with a dedicated space in the house given over to their office. This is a dream for the majority of people, as it frees up time for focusing upon work, while staying close to the domestic side of life which is close to all of our hearts.

Continue reading Optimizing Your Home Office For Business Blogging