Working from home is a great way to avoid a commute, get a lot done regardless of the weather, and gain a tax break for part of your home. However, working from home is also a great way to waste away the hours while getting very little accomplished and not maximizing your working potential. The following are a few things you can do every day to make your home office into the most productive space possible.
Clean the Space
Clutter physically gets in your way. Every second you have to spend finding important documents or hunting around for your phone, you take time away from making important things happen. Even if you could, why spend the extra time in a cluttered environment? Worse than the physical interruption that clutter puts up, there’s also the mental strain of pushing through the many shapes in the background while you try to focus on the task at hand. Clean up and you’ll work more effectively.
Secure a Fast Internet Connection
Fast Internet is one of the keys to having a successful home office. Every moment spent waiting for a page to load is a wasted minute. If you often take or make Skype calls, your Internet speed is also crucial for keeping the connection strong. A fast Internet connection takes away a lot of problems, so you can focus on getting useful work done instead of waiting around for pages that seem to appear on turtle-driven wagons. Having a fast enough Internet connection doesn’t simply mean having one within the office, though.
The thought of purchasing a BlackBerry 10 may seem to merely be a luxury, but this kind of purchase extends to more than just having fun. When you have a BlackBerry in your pocket, you’re able to carry the basics of your office with you always. With a number of apps and plenty of mobile processing power that complements its large screen, this is an excellent example of technology that serves a number of purposes and is portable. You never know when you may need to meet with a client and still need to get access to files.
There’s no need to buy the most expensive office equipment possible. In most cases, all you need is a reasonably comfortable chair and a desk that works for your purposes. The purpose of making yourself comfortable is not hedonism but pragmatism. When you’re reasonably comfortable, your mind can focus on getting work done instead of getting distracted by feeling uncomfortable. The more comfortable your space is, the easier it is to get your work done correctly.
Keep a Focused Space
The ability to focus extends to more than just physical comfort and having a minimal number of extra things in the area. Your home office space also needs to have a focus with regard to the time you spend in it. How many hours a day do you spend in your office, and how much of that time are you actually accomplishing useful work? Checking your email and social media is not generally useful. Random surfing is also unfocused and unproductive.
Focus is important on both the inside and the outside. Focus means accomplishing as many of your daily goals as possible, which keeps your mind on the tasks at hand. When you focus your mind and body on what needs to get done, you get ahead.
Your private and business life needs separation from one another. With this in mind, you need to make sure that your pets are not making noise in the background during your calls or even during your quiet work. You need to make sure that your children respect that your office space is for work and nothing else.
You also need to make sure that everything in your office is secure enough that confidential information is not easy to get access to if one of your children brings over a friend or if a thief breaks into your home.
Make Productive Use of the Space
Every inch of your home office space needs should be used in a productive way, which is a problem if it’s too cramped. This means you need to carefully select your large enough office space to accomplish what you need to do with it. This also means that you need to not only remove clutter, but also not add so much equipment that a room starts to resemble a closet or a factory. Using the space efficiently doesn’t necessarily mean stuffing the space with everything it’ll hold.
Take Short Breaks
It’s very easy to take endless breaks, but taking breaks means that you’re not getting anything done. So when you take a break, keep it in perspective. A break is a reward for work accomplished and a chance to get your mind focused on the tasks at hand, not just a time to slack off. Also keep the time you spend working balanced with your break time. If you’re spending anywhere near half of your time “on break,” your day will turn into a waste with not much to show for it.
Plan for Hunger
Being physically hungry is antithetical to being productive, and taking care of this need proactively makes you that much more successful. Keeping a healthy snack on hand to stave off hunger during the day is a great way to keep your mind focused on the tasks at hand. Having to go downstairs or even out of the house for snacks is a great way to lose focus, unless you’re doing it during a short break.
There are many ways to make your home office conducive to productivity. As easy as it is to get distracted and lose focus on producing quality work, it’s important to take initiative and stay vigilant. Creating an office space that’ll help you work diligently is an important step in accomplishing what you need to get done. Make it happen!