While just about everyone dreams of working from home (and it is a wonderful experience) there are pitfalls, too. Herewith, tips for making a work-from-home scenario a success.
1. Remove Distractions: Turn off the television — it's nothing but a distraction. And while you're at it remind your loved ones that even though you are home, you are on the clock.
2. Get Dressed: One of the easiest ways I can switch from lazy Jason to professional Jason is by getting dressed in the morning. Changing from pajamas to jeans and a shirt and putting product in my hair makes me feel like I'm ready for the day. If I stayed in my pajamas, my day would probably never get started and I'd be tempted to nap with the cat all afternoon.
3. Carve Out Your Own Office Space: I've found that sitting at a desk, rather than on the sofa, helps put me in a working frame of mind. It also gives me a place where I can leave my work behind at the end of the day.
4. Set a Schedule/Goals: I don't have a strict schedule but some aspects of my job are time sensitive. Knowing that I have to complete those tasks by a certain time each day gives me the kick in the pants to buckle down and get to work.
5. Separate Your Personal Tasks: Use the time you'd normally use to commute to get your personal tasks out of the way. If I worked outside the home, I would spend up to an hour commuting each morning. Instead, I spend that time getting personal matters out of the way — making the bed, emptying the dishwasher, and so on.
6. Invite a Coworker Over: This isn't a practical solution if your coworkers are spread around the country, but if anyone is in your town, invite them over to work from your home for the day.
7. The Coffee Shop is Your Friend: Cabin fever has been one of my biggest obstacles to overcome since I started working from home. The local coffee shop to the rescue! Getting out of my apartment for a couple of hours can be totally refreshing, and I find that I can sometimes be even more productive there than at home.
8. Keep It Tidy: A clean and organized home helps me feel like I have a clean and organized brain. If clutter starts to pile up — especially around my desk — I find that I'm easily distracted (usually by the thought that I need to clean up the mess!).
9. Take a Lunch Break: If I was working in an office, I'd take 30 minutes to an hour every day to step away from my desk and enjoy lunch. Here at home it's easy to grab a snack from the cupboard and power through. Taking a lunch break, however, is crucial for giving your brain a break.
10. Step Away from the Computer: One of the challenges of working from home is knowing when to stop. At the end of the day, I often shut down my desktop computer — that's my official "I'm no longer in the office" move. Oh sure, I'll turn on the laptop a little later in the evening when I want to prep for the following day, but I do so at a more relaxed pace.
HOME OFFICE INSPIRATION ON APARTMENT THERAPY:
• The Evolution of One Man's Home Office
• Before & After: A Now-Functional Home Office
• Bright, Bold Home Office: Get the Look
• Petite Home Offices
• Killy & Oliver's Hidden Home Office
• Fitting a Home Office in Your Small Space
Image: Jason Loper