I started working from home 6 years ago, I had been working for 11 years at the same place with the same people before that so I felt really comfortable. I really wasn’t prepared for the challenge that keeping myself productive while working from home was going to be.
When I decided to go out on my own I had been married for about 9 months, and really had nothing BIG to worry about if things didn’t work out with my new job situation. The timing was perfect for me in that sense: I am by nature a planner and a worrier, if I had been pregnant or had a baby I would’ve delayed even more the decision to go out on my own.
Today six years later, two kids and one more on the way I still work from home, and feel completely fulfilled that I’m able to give my kids the best I can give them: being present and also I’m able to contribute to our family’s income.
I won’t lie and tell you it’s perfect because it’s not: there are days when I have a longer work day than if I worked at an office, some days my kids simply won’t let me get any work done when they get home from school, other days between their extracurricular activities and my work and house errands I feel I’m barely home, other times I find myself working until late at night. In the end I know I made the right decision for my family and I’m able to give my kids the best of me.
Here are 5 tips that I can give you to staying productive while working from home, gained through my experience:
- Find your space
- I work from my dining room; I know this isn’t ideal but it’s the space that works for me. I began working in a fold out table in our den area but a desktop computer in a fold out table didn’t last long. Then I moved into a niche we have between out rooms but I was just too close to the kids’ room and really find it hard to concentrate. Now I’m in the dining room, I have been back and forth between the niche and dining room but I know that I work better here, there’s more light I have more space and I’m still in the center of the house without feeling like I’m in my kids’ bedroom.
- Make lists and schedule things
- I write everything down! There is nothing like the satisfaction of checking off items from my lists. I even wrote down tasks I’ve completed if I hadn’t written them down because I feel good. Writing my tasks down not only helps me keep organized and on top of things, it keeps me accountable, like I need to answer to someone about what I’m doing even if that someone is me.
- Take breaks
- When you work in an office environment you have the breaks even without noticing them: the phone call, the co-worker that needs some advice, going to the cafeteria to get some water. When you work from home it’s very easy not only to get distracted but to also find yourself going to long without breaks which tires you down faster and also brings down your productivity levels. We all need those small distractions.
- Get a routine in place
- Get up at the same time every day and get into a routine as if you were in an office. I find that I’m most productive in the mornings not only because my brain is more awake I also have a window of time distraction free. I need to make the most of it, so I plan accordingly.
- Stay flexible
- One of the best parts of working from home is the flexibility it gives you and your time so remember to stay flexible. Try things out, until you figure out what works best for you. I feel there are tons of work from home posts but none of them tells you this. Work it out, change it out, you will find your rhythm and what fits you.
Let me know if you have some tips of your own that you want to share in the comments.