Everyone relishes the opportunity to work from home.
After all, what could be better than getting rid of overbearing bosses, nagging co-workers and the headaches of the daily commute?
Unfortunately, some people just can’t seem to cut it when it comes time to work on their own terms. Perhaps there’s a reason why the office environment, despite its dreary nature, somehow inspires productivity. Yet considering that the top three workplace distractions center around the habits of others, chances are you can be more productive if you set up the proper environment.
Don’t give up your dreams of being a solopreneur or work-from-home professional. Instead, strive to create the ideal environment that fosters productivity akin to a traditional office.
But where do you start?
Applying The Principles of Privacy
First and foremost, you need to associate your workspace with work and not play. Perhaps the easiest way to make this happen naturally is by establishing privacy.
In other words, your home office environment should foster a strong sense of “do not disturb.”
There are multiple ways to make this happen. For starters, make sure that you have a designated office space and aren’t trying to run your home office from the comfort of your bed. Similarly, cordless shades and other sun-blocking solutions can keep you from staring off into space and signal that it’s time to get your work done.
Perhaps the most important but subtle step to establishing privacy is setting expectations for your friends and family. That is, you’re off limits during work hours and just because you’re a solopreneur doesn’t mean you should be expected to run errands during the day.
Block Out Audible Distractions
Beyond visual distractions, noise can be a big-time deterrent for your productivity. Smart investments such as noise canceling headphones can quite literally drown out distractions, for example. That being said, some people are motivated by music and should likewise consider a high quality pair of headphones to keep them laser-focused on their tasks at hand.
Music can have a positive impact on productivity; however, don’t use jamming out as an excuse to sleep on your work. Simply experiment with no-noise versus music, or perhaps a combination of both techniques, to see what’s best for you. It’s often recommended that you listen to instrumental music without lyrics (such as Beethoven) to keep your brain from focusing on lyrical content.
Stick to a Strict Schedule
This rule is simple but powerful: establish your work hours and keep them separate from your leisurely activities and hobbies. This keeps you from working quite literally all day and establishes times that you really need to focus. Some of the benefits of a traditional office include set work hours: applying the same rules in the comfort of your own home ensures that you get down to business.
Similarly, don’t make the mistake of constantly checking your email and social profiles throughout the day, even if they are related to your job. Set aside specific times for these activities so they don’t constantly interrupt your work flow.
At the end of the day, it’s all about being comfortable yet productive in your workspace. Establish the principles of privacy and peace in order to make it happen: you may be surprised at how much more work you get done when you actually organize your time and space.