Published March 06, 2012
Perhaps you tried working from home because it was your dream to cozy up on your couch and do your work without changing out of your pajamas. But if you’ve found that you get distracted by household chores, or you find yourself doing laundry instead of completing your assignment for the day, here are some tips to make working from home more effective:
Remain professional. It's hard to be taken seriously by co-workers or a potential client if they can hear your dog barking or a baby crying in the background.
Avoid using your house phone for business purposes and stick to your cell phone or a separate business line instead--you don’t want your toddler to beat you to the phone when an important call comes in. Make sure your answering machine is clear and without background noise.
Even if you stay at home all day, dress as if you are going to the office to help remind you that it is time for working, not napping.
Minimize distractions. Lisa Kanarek, home office expert and book author, says one of the biggest mistakes home workers make is that they don’t make it clear to others that they are actually working.
“Family and friends assume that if you’re working from home, you have time to wait for the FedEx delivery person or the washer repair person,” she says.
If your family happens to be home before you finish work, make sure they understand that you are still punched in. Do your best to prevent distractions. Close your Facebook tab. Turn off the TV. Limit your kitchen trips. If you do decide a change of scenery is in order, take your work to a quiet location so you don’t continue to get sidetracked.
Set a schedule and make goals for yourself. ApartmentTherapy.com suggests using that chunk of time that you would have spent commuting to the office to get things done.
Designate your office as a work-only space. Get off the couch and try to work at a desk.
Make sure your office is clutter-free and comfortable, but not so comfortable that you find yourself dozing off in your computer chair. Keep it clean so you can stay more focused and organized.
Do your best to actually take a lunch break and step away from your desk. This will give your brain a much-needed break and get you away from your computer screen.
Balance. One of the perks of working from home is that you don’t have to miss your child’s soccer games because you are tied up at the office. On the flip side, working from home may also encourage your workaholic tendencies. Stop for the day so you can spend time with your family. Because you do have some flexibility, schedule lunch dates or outings with your family during the standard 9-to-5 work day.