This is a guest post by Emma Jowett. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guest post guidelines here.
As a freelance writer, I’ve worked from home for a number of years. In the comfort of familiar, homely surroundings, motivation and focus can occasionally prove difficult.
Remaining productive whilst working from home can be quite a skill. Here are a few pointers that have worked for me in the past.
- Get dressed. When you stay in your pyjamas, you won’t ever truly feel in work mode. Get up, washed and fully clothed before starting work. Also, try to retain a relatively smart dress code even though you’re at home all day. In the same way a school uniform helps kids to feel ready for the school day, a smart shirt could do wonders for your motivation.
- Set a start time. When completely in charge of your own schedule, I know how easy it is to let the morning slip by without even opening a laptop. Try to be strict with yourself and keep a morning routine as if you’re heading off to an external workplace. Be true to your alarm clock and be ready to actually start work at your chosen time.
- Keep hydrated. Start the day with a large bottle of water on your desk/workstation. Aim to finish the bottle by the time you finish work. Staying well-hydrated can help keep you focused and help improve concentration. Having the water there in front of you will encourage you to drink more throughout the day.
- Eat lunch. It can be quite easy to snack your way through the day when working at home – distracted by the pull of your fridge or kitchen cupboards. Equally, without a designated lunch hour, you could find that you skip eating altogether. I’d suggest stopping work for a full hour and having a decent meal. It will help refresh you and give you a more sustained focus for the afternoon session.
- Stretch and stroll. With everything you need at your fingertips, there may be no need to leave the house at all. However, I find a quick stretch of the legs and a blast of fresh air does wonders for my creativity. Getting outside, even if it’s just a walk around the block or to a local park, can clear your head and help you find fresh perspectives on your task.
- Pick your corner. Whether it’s a purpose built garden office or simply a corner of your spare room, make sure you designate an area that’s just for your work. Sometimes it can feel as though your work life is encroaching on your personal space, so you need to be able to enjoy your home as your home. Shutting the door on your work at the end of the day can help make a clear distinction between work time and leisure/home time.
- Treat yourself. When working alone in your house, you may occasionally miss the interaction with colleagues. It can sometimes be quite a lonely existence having no-one to share the small achievements or successes of the day with. Perhaps this is a personal one, but giving myself little rewards for completing tasks often helps to keep me motivated. Celebrating completed tasks throughout the day, even if it’s just with a cup of tea and a biscuit or 10 mins in the garden – can certainly spur you on.
- Turn off to switch on. The internet, for all its benefits, can be a massive distraction. With Google, Facebook, Twitter and You tube all but a click away, you can find yourself continually drawn away from your work. Try switching off the Wifi or unplugging the cable for a few consecutive hours in your day. It will probably result in a good few hours of solid, uninterrupted work.
- Unplug the TV. Similarly, having the TV on in the background can be very distracting. Before you know it, you’ve been sucked into an interesting programme and an hour has flown by. I suggest unplugging the TV before you start work. It will stop you from flicking the remote just to have a quick look at what’s on. Works for me.
- Be strict about stopping. As with the designated start time, it’s equally helpful to stick to a set finish time. When working from home, it’s easy to let your work drag on well into the evening. Even when you’ve officially stopped for day, it’s tempting to check emails, answer business calls or do additional bits of work. Give yourself an end time and stick to it. It will help give you a much healthier work/life balance.
This post was written by Emma Jowett. After freelancing for several years, Emma is now
resident writer at Policy Expert, specialising in writing insurance content on topics such as home insurance, landlord insurance and business insurance.
Photo by striatic