Studies have shown that the amount of people who work from home – whether it’s professional blogging, telecommuting, or some other job – has increased and will continue to increase. The prospect of working from the comfort of your own home is tempting, but success isn’t guaranteed if you choose this path. Don’t be deceived into thinking it’ll be as easy as waking up and sitting in front of your computer; it takes a lot of practice and personal drive.
You may find hundreds of articles or tip lists online with advice. Here are some of the suggestions many of them have in common.
1. Get dressed.
Photo from Flickr user Noodles and Beef.
Don’t just spend the day working in your pajamas. When you wake up in the morning, take some time to shower and get yourself ready like you would on a normal day. This doesn't necessarily mean putting on business attire, however. Aim for an outfit that’s both presentable and comfortable.
2. Create a work space.
Photo by Flickr user Maegan Tintari.
Whether it’s an office in a separate room, a workstation, or simply a desk, set aside a specific place that is strictly for work. This lets your brain know that it’s time to concentrate and get serious. Attempting to get work done in front of the TV or some other potentially distracting environment is not a good idea.
3. Set your hours.
Photo by Flickr user Simon Shek.
While working from home does offer a lot of flexibility, it’s good to create a schedule for yourself to work within, like you would have if you were going to a conventional office every day.
4. Develop a routine.
Photo by Flickr user makelessnoise.
Let this schedule flow into a daily routine. This should include work hours, meal times, breaks, time with friends or family, and plenty of time to sleep at night.
5. Keep to-do lists.
Photo by Flickr user ~ezs.
Write out daily and weekly priorities so you have goals to work toward. This will encourage productivity.
6. Don’t forget to take a break.
Photo by Flickr user Caitlin Regan.
For some people, it’s tempting to take frequent breaks. Others are more prone to get completely engrossed in a project and lose track of time. Don’t let your work consume you; step away for a little while.
7. Maintain a good work-life balance.
Photo by Flickr user Lisa @ Sierra Tierra.
Just as some people are bad at remembering to take breaks, some will let work dominate most of their waking hours or continue working late into the night. Once your set hours are over, put your work down and don’t pick it back up until the next day.
Communicate your hours to your family and friends, then make sure they know that you are not to be disturbed during that time unless it’s important.
10. Keep healthy.
Photo by Flickr user Roger Braunstein.
Because you are working from home, you won’t be as active. Try to make time each week to exercise. Eating healthy is also important. Many experts have recommended only eating in the kitchen, not at your work space, and keeping water on hand when you’re working.
11. Network electronically.
Photo by StockMonkeys.com.
Join forums, social networking groups, or other online communities and participate often. Important business connections can be made through these platforms.
12. Change your environment.
Photo by Flickr user Charleston's The Digitel.
Sometimes being cooped up in your house for too long can leave you restless and easily distracted. Get out of your house and bring your work with you; sometimes a change of scenery can be refreshing.
13. Consider investing in noise-cancelling headphones.
Photo by Flickr user Digitpedia Com.
If you really need help focusing, using noise-cancelling headphones could prove to be beneficial.
Do you have any tips of your own to add to this list? Share your thoughts in the comments below!