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How To Be Productive When Working From Home

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Starting up and running a business from home can be beneficial for many people, allowing people more job satisfaction, flexibility and choice over how they organize their professional life. Most of the benefits for choosing your home over an office or other workspace are financial – you don’t have to spend money on commuting, premises and all the associated costs, such as insurance and utility bills. However, there are some downsides to running a business from home, many of which are to do with staying productive and being motivated. In this article, we look at how you can work from home efficiently.

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Create a workspace

It can be more than a little tempting to sit in your pajamas and sit on the sofa in front of the TV while you work. While this can be nice at times, and one of the benefits of working from home it isn’t necessarily the most productive way of doing it. Carve out space, even if it is in the corner of your bedroom where you can work comfortably with no distractions. If you don’t have space, look at converting an attic, shed or even a summer or garden house. You don’t need a lot; just a good chair, a desk, some storage, and good lighting. Of course, you can always add a few little touches such as prints, plants, and pots to make it more aesthetically pleasing.

If your business involves food preparation – maybe you are a caterer or a baker – make sure that your workspace meets any hygiene regulations.

Starting up and running a business from home can be beneficial for many people, allowing people more job satisfaction, flexibility and choice over how they organize their professional life

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Inform the relevant people

Making sure that you have registered and informed all of the relevant people that you are working from home as soon as possible can take away a lot of stress and worry. One of the most important people to tell is the tax man so that you do not unwittingly commit any sort of tax fraud or evasion. Depending on your business, you may have to register with certain regulatory bodies. Your mortgage company and/or landlord may need informing as well, as they may need to take out extra insurance.

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Stay on task

As we mentioned in one of the points above, it is really easy to get caught up watching TV, or doing the laundry, or making the beds or some other task other than the one that you are supposed to be doing. Before you know it, half of your working time has gone, and you’ve achieved nothing. Start off the day writing a list of tasks you need to complete by the end of the day, and prioritize them.

Take a break

When you’re caught up thinking about how much you can make working from home, it can be easy to get completely lost in your work and let it run into your spare time or family time. This isn’t good for anyone and is often counterproductive, as when you are tired you aren’t working at your best. Use some sort of timer or a technique such as the Pomodoro technique, which involves you working for twenty-five minutes, having a five-minute break and then working for another twenty-five minutes to help you take short, regular breaks. If you can, move away from your desk and stretch your legs or get outside for a few deep breaths of fresh air.

Stay hydrated

When you’re sitting at a desk, hammering away at a computer, staying hydrated can be something we all forget to do. Drinking gallons of coffee might seem like it’s helping, but it isn’t. Instead, keep a big bottle or jug of water at your desk and aim to drink it all before the end of your working day.

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Switch off at the end of the day

It can be tempting to check your emails before you go to bed quickly or to take that phone call just before you watch that show you’ve been waiting all day for, and before you know it, you’ve done another few hours of (often unpaid!) work. Set yourself working hours – and stick to them! Turn on an automatic out of office reply for your emails and switch the messaging service on your phone and deal with them in the morning when you are back at your desk.

“At some point in their career, many people consider taking their career in a freelance direction. There are pros and cons to doing so, but it’s the freedom of doing the work you want that attracts so many. If you’re thinking about launching a freelance career, you likely already know that it’s not going to be easy. It takes a lot of hard work to build an independent career, where it’s up to you to find the work you need to keep going.” – Invaluable Advice for Launching a Freelance Career

Outsource tasks

To try and save some money, you might want to try and keep all the tasks ‘in-house’ and do them all yourself. However, this can often end up costing you time (and therefore money!), especially if it is a task that someone else can do better. Many people can offer services such as photography, marketing, accountancy, design, and virtual administration on a remote, freelance basis. Give someone these tasks and focus on growing and developing your business.

Get out of the house.

Working from home can be incredibly lonely, especially if you are used to working in a busy and bustling office. Make sure you take time to meet up with family and friends to socialize and get out of the house for a walk or some exercise when you can.

Stay organized

If you have worked in an office before, you might be used to someone organizing a calendar or diary for you, so that you know where you should be or when things need to be done. When you are working from home, unless you have employed a virtual assistant, this is now your responsibility. Have a big planner on the wall in front of you, or a desk diary open next to you as you’re working, so you can be sure not to miss anything. You may also want to add things to a digital calendar, such as on Google, which you can access when you’re out and about.

It is also a good idea to devise some sort of filing system so that your desk or workspace isn’t covered in bits of paper and receipts. By filing away accounts, bills, customer orders and other important documents, you will know where everything is when you need it.

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