Staying in the Zone When You Work from Home

Posted on Dec 19th, 2016 | Entrepreneurship

Imagine trading in your daily bus ride or drive for the option of rolling straight out of bed and over to your home office. For some people, this setup is a sweet reality.

Whether you’re self-employed or are employed by a company that allows you to work remotely, the opportunity to do your job from the comfort of your own home is a definite perk. For one thing, you’ll save money on commuting costs, and you won’t have to waste time getting to and from an office. Additionally, working from home gives you more flexibility. After all, you can be home to sign for deliveries or throw in a load of laundry on your lunch break. And speaking of lunch, there’s something to be said about having all-day access to your kitchen and fridge, as opposed to having to deal with packing or buying food.

But while working from home most certainly has its benefits, it also has one major drawback: distractions. From household chores to TV to your oh-so-comfortable couch that beckons you to sneak in a quick mid-day nap, it can be really difficult to stay focused while working from home. Why is this a bad thing? For starters, if you work for an outside company and don’t pull your weight, you could easily go from being gainfully employed to suddenly terminated. And if you’re freelance or self-employed, less productivity means lower earnings.

Clearly, it’s in your best interest to do a bang-up job from the confines of home. Here are a few tips on how to pull it off:

Designate a Work Space
Having an office-like setup will make you feel like you’re at work. If you don’t have a spare room to use as an office, designate a corner or area somewhere and fill it with the tools you’ll need to be productive, such as a laptop, printer and phone. Make sure you have a comfortable table or desk and chair as well, as this will help you stay put when you’re supposed to be plugging away.

Get Dressed
While the idea of working in your pajamas may sound enticing, putting on actual clothes will trick your brain into thinking you’re at a real office, where other people will see you and mock you for donning sleepwear. Besides, if your work involves video conferences or Skype, you’ll need to look the part anyway.

Set a Schedule
One of the best ways to stay focused while working from home is creating a set of deadlines, even if they’re self-imposed and won’t actually be enforced by anyone other than yourself. If you commit to accomplishing specific tasks within a certain timeframe, you’re more likely to push yourself to power through those afternoons when laziness might otherwise take over.

Arrange for Childcare if You Have Kids
If you have children, don’t even think about working from home without making some sort of steady, reliable childcare arrangement. There’s nothing more distracting than a restless child in the background demanding food or attention.

Remember, working from home is a privilege, and if you abuse it, you could face serious career-related consequences. Even if you’re self-employed, you have much to lose (like money and the ability to pay your bills) if you spend your days goofing off. Before you decide to work from home, ask yourself whether you think you’ve got the discipline to pull it off. Working from home can be wonderful, but it isn’t for everyone, and if you need to haul yourself into an office on a daily basis to keep yourself on track, so be it.

Photo by David Mulder via cc.