How to Stay on Task While Working from Home

Staying productive when you’re trying to get work done from home can be tricky. Here’s how to make it easier.

Working from home seems like the ideal solution to many stressed, overworked people. They have visions of working whatever schedule they want, doing work that they choose instead of work that is assigned by a boss, and having the freedom to get up and get away from the desk whenever they feel like it. Many people think that if they worked from home, they would work less and earn more. The reality is they may have to work more to earn what they make working for an employer to make up for the employer’s portion of taxes and benefits such as medical insurance if they are 1099 employees. That means staying productive is an important priority while working from home. In The Pajama Tycoon: Be Productive, Fit and Happy Working From Home Andrew Rondeau says one of the biggest challenges of working from home is avoiding distractions.

Set a Schedule

Author, web TV host and personal development trainer Marie Forleo recommends setting a schedule and sticking to it when you work from home. She advises women working from home to set their work schedule and tell everyone what it is and to let them know that if they try to interrupt during work hours for anything but the direst emergencies, they will be issued a “rude alert.” She says closing the door and using a “do not disturb” sign can also help you signal to housemates that you’re serious about your work schedule and will encourage them to help you stick to it. Using a monthly calendar, whether it’s paper or electronic, will help you plan for due dates and set your work schedule.

Dedicate a Space Just for Work

While one of the attractions of working from home is the flexibility it offers, you want to be productive and profitable, and that most often requires the right tools and equipment. Setting up a space just for work enables you to focus on the task at hand and avoid looking at the dishes in the kitchen sink or the unmade beds. Laura Vanderkam, writing for Fast Company, recommends setting up your home workspace so it’s comfortable and has everything you need to work right at hand. Giving your office space a different feel than the rest of your home is a great way to subtly separate the space. Simple fixes like installing roller shades that allow natural sunlight in help to create an oasis of privacy and productivity.

Common Distractions to Avoid

Could you get work done in a career position with a TV at your desk, or with a barking dog in your office? Working from home presents many distractions that just aren’t there when working on-site for an employer. Lyve Alexis Pleshette lists Top 10 Distractions When Working from Home including children and pets, watching TV, unnecessary tasks such as doing laundry, and drinking alcohol. As a rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t do it while working for an employer, it’s a good idea not to do it while working from home for yourself.

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