• Darin Vilano

5 Ways to Be More Productive in Your Home Office | The Small Business BIG IDEA Show

Everyone has fantasized about it at one time or another - the luxury of rolling out of bed, sitting in your underwear all day, and working from home.  And, to the uninitiated it can seem like all upside.  But, to the seasoned home-based entrepreneur or solopreneur, the reality isn’t quite so alluring.  Sure, there are tons of perks and advantages to working from home.  But, there are also challenges, obstacles, and interruptions that are unique to this setting.

Working from home calls for a different set of ground rules.  If you want to be at your best and get the most out of your day, you have to approach your environment differently.  Here are 5 ways to be more productive in your home office:

1.  Get ready in the morning as if you’re leaving to go to work.  I know, I  know.  This one flies right in the face of the freedom of working at home.  But, it’s important to create a ritual that separates “home time” from “work time,” and this is a great way to do it.  Not to mention that looking good translates to feeling good, which ultimately affects your productivity.

2.  Don’t do housework or run personal errands.  This is one of the biggest productivity killers when it comes to working from home.  It can be easy to justify this behavior, because we see it as work that needs to be done anyway.  We think we’re multi-tasking, but a simple 10 minute break can quickly turn into an hour lost to housework.  Save it until your workday is done.

3.  Occasionally, find time to work outside of the home.  Yes, in order to be more productive at home, sometimes we actually have to leave our cozy offices.  It can be easy to fall into the monotony of doing the same old thing everyday.  You can start to lose creativity and then your productivity suffers too.  Human beings crave interaction with other human beings.  You may be especially aware of this need if you’re a solopreneur or if your work doesn’t involve talking to others very often.  So, get out there and be among the people.

4.  Keep “office hours.”  Putting some structure into your workday will not only help you to be more productive, but it will also serve as an important communication tool to those you live with or who are important in your life.  Sharing your office hours helps others to know when you’re available and when you’re not.

5.  Have a defined end to the workday.  Although this one goes hand in hand with the last point, it’s important to call it out separately since ending the workday seems to be a challenge for almost everyone.  And, working from home only increases the risk that the lines between work and personal time can become blurred.  By defining the end to the workday, we give ourselves permission to shut it down.  This helps to avoid burnout, and it prevents family members from resenting our home offices.

Now, it’s time to hear from you:  What things have you done to adapt and improve your home office situation?

Remember, as small business owners and entrepreneurs, one of the best ways that we learn is from each other, so please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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