Working from home has never been more accessible. For me it gives me the balance I need with juggling the children and it reduces the costs I’d incur from renting office space. But in the same breath when you work from home you do have to be a bit more disciplined and avoid distractions – which can come in the littlest for such as the washing, cleaning and general housework the stuff I normally hate suddenly becomes far more appealing when I have to “go to work”.
4 Reasons Why Working From Home Leaves You Unproductive.
What reasons might you find working from home leaves you unproductive? Distractions? Unorganised? Poor time management? Why not make a list of what stops you from being the most productive when working from home. I’m sure there are lots but I’m just going to concentrate on these 4 that make big difference to my day/week.
- Office Space
- No Structure To Your Day
- No Goal Setting
- No Networking
Working From Home Tips.
Proper Office Space:
You will always be at your most productive when you are in a working environment. That means sitting at a desk, not the sofa or your bed with a laptop tray! Your home office space needs to be functional but also cosy, a space where you want to spend time. Think about using modern home decor to create the right ambience, throws, cushions and candles can all help increase calm and productivity. Look at layering your lights, adding mirrors to reflect light around the room making it feel brighter which too helps to increase your productivity. As my home office is under the stairs and lacks natural light all my furniture is white which bounces light around the room making the space feel brighter and less like a dungeon!
I also have a standing desk, which is a complete game changer in productivity. This means I spend half the day sitting in my leather office chair and the other half standing. When selecting an office chair look for long lasting comfort, opt for a slightly sloping backrest that is well padded to take the pressure off your lumbar when sitting. I love mine from Lakeland Furniture the clean lines and chrome.
Sitting all day is a massive no-no, but so too is standing for long periods of time. Little and often, balance your time between both sitting and standing, this enables you to shift the weight on your joints, stretch your abdomen and open up your diaphragm which increases your breathing as you are able to completely fill your lungs with air. All helping you to work more productively.
No Structure To Your Day:
Having a structure to your day is paramount, even if it’s something basic like the time you start, the time you finish, a coffee break and lunch break. Sitting or standing for long hours at a desk is not very productive so by breaking up the day and getting up and being mobile you release endorphins, which help clear your mind.
I work really well off a to-do list. I set it on Sunday for the week and work my way through the activities – some (like networking events, meetings etc) are date specific but mostly it’s just a list.
If you need more structure you could spend some time doing a time audit of how long you spend doing jobs each day and make yourself a school style timetable.
What is a time audit?
Basically, you write down and block all the activities you do, to get a clear picture of how you spend your time you will need to track your time over several days. This way you can examine and analyze how you are actually spending your time versus how you really want to spend your time. This is where you find you spend a bazillion hours on social media instead of doing the tasks that earn you money!
You Don’t Set, Analyse Or Evaluate Your Goals:
Goal setting is really important in any small business but even more so when you are a solopreneur working from home.
If you don’t set regular goals;
- How do you know what you want to achieve in your business?
- How do you know what the end goal is and what steps you will take to get there?
- How do you know you have achieved this goal?
- How are you being held accountable to grow your business?
If you aren’t planning, analysing and evaluating goals on a regular basis then really what is the point? When setting goals make sure they are SMART. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-based.
- Specific: Make sure your target or goal is well defined.
- Measurable: Ensure there is a measurable metric. i.e. Grow my Instagram following is a bit wholly, choose a specific number but don’t make it unobtainable – for example my current following is 2500, my goal might be 3000 or even 4000. Using a specific number means I actually know when it’s been achieved.
- Achievable: Don’t make your goals too easy or too hard.
- Realistic: It’s great to have dreams but in the same breath you need to make each step realistic. You don’t want to get to the end of the year and feel deflated. If we go back to my earlier example of growing your Instagram following a target like 3000 is far more manageable and realistic than say 10,000 which is a massive leap and unless I go viral probably isn’t going to happen. I can wish but being realistic is better.
- Time-Based: Break your goals down into smaller monthly mini-goals so you aren’t overwhelmed. Using time-based deadlines also means you regularly reassess goals and your progress, make alterations and ensure you are moving forward. This way you don’t get to the end of the year and wonder why you didn’t achieve anything.
If you are more visual, think about creating a vision board too, these are the perfect tool for clarifying your goals.
You Don’t Take Time To Be A Networking Ninja:
Of all the working from home tips, making time to network is one that will increase your productivity no end. Whether that be getting out of your home office and meeting other people or taking the time to join a Twitter Hour or Zoom chat. There is a multitude of ways you can incorporate networking into your working week. Working from home is lonely, building a tribe, support network around you gives you people to talk to when you are struggling, or celebrating or just fancy some human contact. Networking has a great way of reigniting your enthusiasm, increasing endorphins that makes you happy and productive.
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