Working to the best of your ability from your own home requires a great deal of focus and self-control. Whilst some distractions just simply cannot be helped, there are however, some simple ways to increase your productivity. It can be a lonely experience at times, but think of all that money you're saving on fuel!
1. Maintain a structure to your day
When I first mentioned that we wanted to run our own business (to a professional advisor), their reaction was “Oh that would be great, think of all the lie ins”. Well there is no one to answer to if you do sleep-in, and when you wake up you are technically already in work, but personally whilst still being a night owl, I feel better getting up at a reasonable hour. Boil the kettle, go for a walk, do whatever you brings you round, then get into work mode. Keeping to your 3 meals a day is a good way to break down the hours and structure your productivity.
2. Actually get dressed
Yes you can take client calls in your pants, but you should feel more in work mode when you have some clothes on (ok, except for some professions) We're not talking suited and booted just something you can wear outside/answer the door in.
3. Designate a work space
If you are lucky enough to have a high quality office chair in your home, then this can really aid productivity and save your back. The couch is very comfy, but before long the slouch becomes a fully horizontal laptop balancing act. I personally didn't want to associate a room where I relax with work, so having a separate study area solved this.
4. Eliminate distractions
Be aware of how much time you are spending on the likes of social media sites; they are a massive drain of your precious time. If you have kids and they are of an age where they demand your constant attention (age up for debate), then needless to say if you can find someone who is good enough to watch them even for an afternoon, then this is a good thing. Also having a set time period, knowing “the kids are back at 4” will aid your focus and determination at getting a piece of work finished and out the way before that time comes. Being at home does allow you to have great flexibility with your partner in terms of responsibilities with the children though, and you are always in for the postman.
5. Get a dog
Not quite ready for kids? Then get a dog. Working from home can be a lonely and isolated experience, the dog will provide you with company and give you an excuse to talk out loud other than shouting at your computer, and it will get you outside.
6. Leave the house
Even if you don't have a dog, spend some time in the great outdoors to physically remove yourself away from work, get some fresh air and go meet a friend for lunch or a coffee if you can, but be strict with your time. Also, focus on objects that are further than 30cm away! It helps to relieve the sting and strain on your eyes. As sad as it is, I would deliberately not buy too much food and milk so I know I would have to leave the house and nip to the shops again soon. I know I'm not the only one.
7. Get a savings jar
At the end of each day/week, put the money that you would have spent on the fancy coffees, expensive sandwiches, tickets or fuel required for commuting and anything else you would normally buy en route to the office, and watch it all add up.