How to Work at Home Efficiently

Think you can work from home?  Here are a few things to keep in mind.

“You work from home? I bet that’s nice.”

It’s something I hear a lot.  And I’m not going to lie: it is nice. My commute (after taking the kids to the bus/school) is literally 15 seconds down our basement steps.  I can control my own thermostat and take breaks to walk around the house to pull weeds whenever I want.

That being said, I believe working from home isn’t for everyone.

My husband worked renovating an old house when he was between careers for a few months.  He worked from home with me (which was interesting within itself).  There would be days I’d come home from a meeting and he’d be on the couch.  “Resting” apparently.  Or “taking a break”.  Regardless, it ticked me off.  I always feel I can be working or doing something for my business to make it better, more efficient or to help it grow.  No time for naps (okay, I did one time when I was pregnant…I was growing a human being, people!  I was tired!)

Working from home for the past eight years, I’ve learned a lot.  So here is a few tips on how I’ve learned to work efficiently from home.

Turn off the TV

When I started working from home, I would have the TV on in the background just for noise.  I soon learned that at times, this noise would suck me in.  “What?  Rachael Ray has a low carb blueberry muffin recipe?  I better watch.”

I learned to just turn it off.  In fact, the TV never is turned on in our house in the morning.  I work streaming Pandora just about every day.  And at times, silence is welcome as well.

Dishwasher & chores are for lunch time only

I don’t do chores when I’m in “work time”.  My work time is when I get home from taking the kids to school until 4 p.m.  Chores such as unloading the dishwasher, picking up stuff around the house, gardening, getting the mail, etc is left for my “lunch hour”.  It’s easy to get sucked into those things and they can very easily take hours away from your week.

My only exception is laundry.  I do put clothes in and out of the washer & dryer during the day.  Folding is left until the evening though.

Get up early, get dressed and get to work

Just like I did before I worked from home, I get up early to workout, get home, shower and eat breakfast all before the kids are awake.  After that, I get them ready and off to school.  Just as if I were going to a “normal” office job (or job-job as I call it), I’m 100% ready for the day and for work early in the morning.

I believe this is very important for being efficient at work.  If you’re dressed in PJs and not showered, you’re going to act like you’re in PJs and not showered.  I remember my 7th grade math teacher pointing this out.  On a dress up day for Homecoming week, we all sat in math class wearing nice clothes…dresses, ties, etc  He made mention on how better behaved we were that day.  And it’s true.  “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”  That theory applies here as well.

Don’t leave the house every day

If I have meetings during the week, I try to block schedule myself.  Block scheduling means putting things like meetings and appointments outside of the house all on one day.  That way, you’re not constantly interrupting yourself on getting work done with travel to a meeting, the meeting and travel home.  Just an hour meeting can take two hours if you count in travel time, getting their early, etc.

Sometimes, this can be easier said than done depending on your clients, but it’s a good rule of thumb to keep in mind.

But do leave your computer every few hours

It’s easy to get sucked into a project.  There are time I wonder where the morning went (my stomach usually reminds me it’s lunch time). Make sure you’re walking away from your computer a few times during the day.  This is good for your body and mind (especially your creativity!). If you’re like me and this is hard to do, set an alarm on your phone to remind  you to MOVE.  Walk around your office, around your house or let the dog out for some fresh air.  The time away from a screen is  beneficial!

Do you think you can work from home?  Being a mom of three, the benefits of working from home and for myself outweigh not.  It’s just figuring out how to manage my time to make it work efficiently for me.


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