Eight Ways to Be More Productive in Your Home Office

Working from home offers many benefits; it’s a lifestyle that allows you to control your own schedule, set up shop wherever you please, and be free of noisy coworkers and associates. Still, working from your home office can also lead you down the path of unproductivity when your day is full of distractions and home chores that seem to seep into your working hours. When you can’t zone out into office mode because the kids are crying, the television’s blaring, or your laundry seems to be calling your name, you may be compromising your ability to get things done. Simplifying and separating your home life and work life is just one step towards making your work environment work for you; here are eight more ways to be more productive in your home office:

1. Work in an office with a door. Many people set up their office in a den or other open living area, but this strategy can compromise your productivity. Having a place where you can ‘shut out’ the rest of your life and focus is a simple way to help you become more productive.

2. Make a to-do list as soon as you sit down in your chair. Get into the habit of making a to-do list, checklist style to give yourself an outline for the day ahead. This can be as detailed or basic as you want, but the idea is to create some sort of ‘flow’ for your day ahead. This is especially valuable since you don’t have a boss or task master breathing down your neck.

3. Set a limit on guests visiting your home during your office hours. While a friendly ‘hello’ from the neighbors is all well and good, it’s an interruption when you’re trying to concentrate. Allow people to visit you or swing by at a specific time so you don’t have to deal with unanticipated guests in the middle of your work day.

4. Eat your meals on a schedule. It can be easy to get carried away with a gourmet breakfast when the kitchen is just a few steps way…which then leads to trying that new pizza recipe for lunch…and then you’re surfing the ‘net for dessert ideas. Pack a lunch just like you would for a ‘regular office’ day, and organize your meals at certain times of the day so you can focus on the task at hand, replenish your energy at the right time, and then get back to work. Putting together that gourmet dinner needs to wait until the weekend.

5. Turn off the cell phone or telephone ringer. When you need to get work done at your workstation, you can’t afford to waste time catching up with friends or family members during the workday. Unless you’re waiting for an important call, limit the amount of time you’re ‘connected’ to your phone; the extra peace and quiet can help you enjoy longer periods of focused time without stress.

6. Take a break from sitting every hour. Set an timer if you need to; taking a break to stretch, breathe, and simply look away from the computer for few brief minutes can help you be more productive overall. It’s easy to get lost into your own office space when you’re in the middle of a project, but breaks can provide some much-needed refreshment.

7. Make sure important tasks are within arm’s reach. Setup your office workspace and workstation so that tools you use everyday (printers, fax machine, radio) are within arm’s length. You can work much more efficiently and productively when everything is close by.

8. Schedule out-of-office time into your day. This might be for lunch, a hair appointment, or just a quick shopping excursion. Block off time in your calendar to get these tasks done so you can maximize your time and enjoy some fresh air at least once per day.

Maximize your day instead of being at the mercy of your house and neighbors with a few adjustments and ground rules. Productivity is possible when you work from home, but requires a little planning of its own.

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