Working from home can be a fantastic way to spend more time doing the things you love as your time is less tied up in busy commutes, pointless meetings, idle chit chat and busy work. There are many benefits to working from home, but it can be a challenge, particularly if you struggle with discipline or concentration.
It’s essential to set up a good space to work in that will allow you to feel comfortable and relaxed yet focused and productive. You’ll want a distraction free environment that allows you to focus on the task at hand, and ideally, a feeling that differentiates your ‘home’ from your ‘home office’.
This space should be your private area where you won’t be disturbed. It should feel almost like an annex to your home rather than part of it, as this way, you’ll feel less distracted by having to juggle your family and business obligations.
SETTING UP THE SPACE
The first step, in setting up your office is to declutter the space. You’ll want to create a distraction free environment that allows you to focus on work without distraction, therefore decluttering the space that will become your office will ensure a minimalist environment that assists concentration.
There’s a strong chance you’ll need a desk, even if you are working from a laptop, as you’ll want to spread out and be able to focus on your work. The most basic office furniture checklist comprises a desk, a supportive chair, a bright lamp, and some type of file storage system.
What you sit in is extremely important, as you’ll likely be sitting in this chair upwards of eight hours a day. For this reason you’ll want a chair with decent ergonomic support and plenty of padding as you don’t want to be suffering with a bad back due to your desk and chair set-up.
HAVE A ROUTINE
Working from home can be both a blessing and a curse; on the one hand your commute is now limited to going from your bedroom to your home office, which has huge benefits in terms of convenience, but it can create a less focused emotional state if you’re used to a morning ritual of getting dressed in business attire (rather than sweatpants or your dressing gown) and being around colleagues in a similar state of ‘working’.
The most important thing in terms of having a routine, is that it provides structure and keeps you focused – set yourself a lunch hour between a set time each day, or adopt the approach that many successful people take which is to get dressed for work, as if you were going to the office, rather than sitting around in your underwear.
FOCUS ON THE END RESULT
It’s vitally important you focus on the end result you are seeking to create from your business and take action to achieve those results. As an example, you might want to consider the 20 best exit interview questions to improve your business as this can elicit very rich insight into what is and what is not working in your business.
It’s good to focus on the end result, but at the same time this must be balanced with taking action in the immediate term, as entrepreneur’s have great capacity to dream and envision the future it’s important they stay grounded in the here and now.
On that note, Brian Tracy, in his book “Eat That Frog” encourages us to write a list of all the things that need to be done that day then tackle the most challenging and uncomfortable task first. This way, we feel a tremendous sense of achievement and relief that catapults us forward throughout the day.
WORK WHEN YOU’RE WORKING
It’s all too tempting for your attention to drift anywhere other than on work; particularly with the advent of social media notifications, YouTube and Netflix. You might have to parent yourself and set up your own ‘parental controls’ that allow you to restrict the content you’re able to access in order to remain focused. There’s a great app called Freedom that offers this functionality.
The majority of small business owners are used to multi-tasking, and whilst this can be a great skill, it can also hamper your productivity and effectiveness. The opposite of multi-tasking then is batch-tasking. The premise being that you can decrease distraction and increase concentration by focusing on a single task at a time. Then, when you batch tasks, meaning you group similar tasks together your effectiveness increases per tasks, meaning your efficiency sky rockets.