Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Working from home: tips for being super productive

The idea of working from the comfort of your own home is very attractive, but  too much freedom may also need some structure.

1. Keep your home life and your work life separated

You need an office. If you are going to work in the same place where to eat, sleep and have family it is important that you dedicate one room in your house or apartment to your work area. This is essential. Ideally it’s even better if your home office is located in a room furthest away from your bedroom, if possible isolated from most of the other rooms where your family spends their time.
Everything that you need to work with should be in this room and should remain in this room. The rest of your house is where you go to get away from the office. Having parts of your office sneak into the rest of your house or apartment does not allow you the opportunity to have that personal or family living space away from work. Trade magazines, journals, books, files, computer equipment and anything else related to your to your day job need to stay in their rightful place; the home office.
2. Be (more) social
Working from home can be very isolating at times and it’s easy to find yourself not leaving the comfort of your home for days, especially during the snowy cold winter months we have in Canada. It’s important to be social on a regular basis, whether it’s going to the gym, having dinner with friends, or going out to the dog park. Anything that gets your mind off work and out of the house a few times a week is key.

3. Take time to take care of yourself

When you work from home it’s very easy to start your day off in a pair of comfy pajamas with bed hair.. Everyone at the beginning boasts to their buddies about this “luxury” of freelancing. However after a while it can bring you down and slowly you’ll start to put less and less effort into taking care of yourself and that can affect your work life. Make sure you have a morning routine.
It’s important to start each day early, getting showered and dressed, ready to tackle a new day feeling refreshed and energized. It’s also important to include some exercise in your morning routine. Even if it’s only for 20 mins, exercise is not only good for you physically but mentally too. Editors Note: Some of us do tend to work better late at night, but that’s a topic for a future article :)

4. Be organized

When you decide to venture into the world of freelancing you’ll soon realize that you’ll be wearing a few more hats. Not only are you a designer or a developer, but you’re the boss, account manager, marketing guru, finance person, and office administrator to name just a few. It’s important that you have a clean and clutter free work environment. A messy office can leave you feeling disorganized, discouraged and overwhelmed. Invest in a good size filing cabinet.
More than often as time goes by you will soon find yourself drowning in paper whether it’s bills, invoices, tax receipts or business papers. Before you know it you’ll need to quickly locate that important letter from the tax man from 4 months back and you’ll spend a good hour searching through every paper pile in your office when you could of been doing something productive and creative instead.

5. Don’t forget to reward/recognize your hard work.

When I worked for an agency our team would provide recognition for all the late nights and effort we put in for a challenging and long project. However when you are your own boss you’ll soon notice that those fun team outings are a thing of the past now that you’re on your own. Its important to reward and recognize your hard work to keep yourself motivated and feeling good about being on your own.
Plan a weekend away with friends or a loved one to reward yourself after a challenging and large project. It gives you something to look forward to when working on a difficult project and helps reset your mind before you start your next major project. Source: