Working from home either full- or part-time has its advantages -- from working in your jammies to listening to your favorite music in the background -- but some of the advantages of work-at-home jobs can also be pitfalls in disguise.
When I started my first company, I didn't have the income to be able to afford my own office. But very soon, I realized that having the flexibility to build my agency, writing for my blog, and building my companies from my home is where I found the most flexibility.
It is really tough to stay motivated and productive if there is a lot of activity going on inside your home (kids, pets, phone calls), and it's just as easy to be distracted by the computer you're working on, and everyday life. There are a few ways to stay motivated and productive, ensuring your at-home work is always on task.
Work when you are most able to do so.
If you have children of school age and you're trying to do important work at 5 p.m., chances are you're not going to very productive. Ensure that you work when it makes the most sense -- when your children are in school, when your significant other is asleep, when you're at your best.
If your job allows completely flexible work hours, choose the best time. If your job is tight on flexibility, try to at least find a quiet corner of the home where you are able to work undisturbed. It may also be a good idea to explain to your boss why flexible hours might work better for you. Here are a few ways I remain productive working remotely.
Leave the house.
It may sound counterproductive to leave the house when you're working from home, but it is an absolute necessity. Staying connected with people beyond a computer or smartphone is imperative. A hack that I love to use is to get a hot desk at my local WeWork. This gives me the ability at an inexpensive rate to quickly leave my home if I have an important meeting.
Anyone can become a little burned-out while feeling out of touch if they've been in front of a computer too long. If you're not feeling incredibly social, go to the park, go grocery shopping, or go for a run -- but make sure you get out of the house for at least a few hours each day.
Use the right equipment.
It's incredibly hard to get any work done if you're crouched on your sofa with a laptop all of time. That might be comfortable occasionally, but you need to have a dedicated workspace with the right equipment that makes your home office feel like a real office.
Have a large-screen monitor to properly look at spreadsheets and documents. Utilize a filing cabinet, printer, and scanner. If a lot of your business is conducted over the phone, try a great phone service such as Ooma Business VOIP. The more you make your home office feel like a workstation, it's a guarantee that you'll get more accomplished.
Leechblock and other applications.
Anyone can become a little distracted with social media. If it's the go-to tab on your browser, however, and not your work platform, there's a problem. Apps, add-ons, and extensions like Leechblock allow you to set certain times that sites such as Facebook and Twitter are blocked.
It may sound like a silly idea, but once you set the parameters, there's no way to access these sites short of deleting the app. It's a really good idea to get you into the habit of focusing on work and not Facebook games. These apps give you the ability to choose any site with any time constraints. So, if looking up information on Wikipedia is your bad habit instead, you are able to block that as well.
If you're working on an extremely tough task or group of tasks, reward yourself in between. Get up and stretch your legs. Have that great piece of chocolate. Watch SportsCenter for 15 minutes, then go back to work.
Whatever it is that helps you unwind to get back to work, do it. Sitting at the computer nonstop for hours on end will only make your work suffer. Everyone needs a break, and better yet, they need a self-reward when they know they've done a good job.
Staying connected with the outside world and giving yourself a breather are both key to staying motivated when you work from home. It's important to keep in mind that overwork can sometimes derail your progress.
Take things easy, but not too easy, and when you are in work mode, keep your space organized and your equipment professional. Your work will reflect your motivation behind the scenes.