8 Ways to Simplify Your Work-From-Home Environment
1. Segregated Space
It is too easy to just work everywhere when you work from home. Okay, that is a great benefit of working at home. But in the long run, you need to keep your work and personal space separate in order to keep the chaos a minimum.
Believe it or not, order is what you need to be productive. If you spend your time looking for your work under the pile of laundry, you are wasting valuable time. You need to be able to have a work space and a personal space. It helps keep you organized and more efficient in the work you do in both areas.
Should the two never meet? I’m not really saying that. Sitting on your couch with the laptop can be a great way to work from home. I’ve worked while preparing dinner. That’s the great part about working from home—that you can mix the areas at times—but you still need that segregation so you can be organized and more efficient.
When you have your home organized to work from home, it is easy to be portable. That means you can work from nearly everywhere in your home. I love it!
Technology has helped us greatly. We can do so much from nearly anywhere. I can do my job at the kitchen table, sitting in my bed, or in the back yard. I can do it at the coffee shop or while I’m on vacation. You have to make sure this is easily done.
If possible, have more than one charger cord for your computer and cell phone available. That way, you aren’t wasting time running to get it or search for it. It helps you stay productive. Typically, I keep chargers in my bedroom, by the couch, in the car, and in my computer bags. That way I’m completely covered.
3. Tools Located Everywhere
I pointed out about having your charger cords everywhere you might find yourself working. That is very important, but you also need other tools you use to be in easy reach.
Imagine this. You are sitting on your couch, responding to emails. You read one and need to write down the information. Where’s something to write with? Now you end up spending wasted minutes trying to find a pen and then some paper to write on. Keep pens, pencils, and paper in all the locations you might end up working. If you need highlighters or anything else, make sure they are quickly accessible.
4. Keep Regular Work Hours
Yes, it is great to be flexible, but it can bite you if you aren’t careful. You can be too flexible. It is wise to keep regular work hours.
The reason I suggest this is because I’ve been there and it will be a big fail for you. I worked from home for several years. To keep me on track, I had work hours and semi-work hours. Work hours was when the TV was off, the social media was not open, and my phone was on silent. I was more productive that way.
Be strict with this time, especially in the beginning until you get a good handle on time management. Guard your time. Then when things come up to interfere, you’ll be able to adjust quickly.
5. Take Breaks
This is a very important part of working from home. You can get too involved in your work. It’s the same if you work in the office with all the other employees. You need to take regular breaks. Get up and move around. Get a drink. Walk around a bit. Stretch your neck muscles. Do something else that gets your mind off the work even for a minute.
Working from home, you get to do more than walk the halls or get water which is what I usually do at work in the office with everyone else. You can do a load of laundry, take the dog for a walk, or even work on an exercise video. I have even watched a TV show as a break before getting back to work.
You will notice that the frequent breaks will help you be more productive.
6. Make a List
Productivity sometimes comes with a list. When you create a list, you create a guideline to help you get the job done. It keeps you on task and on target.
I don’t know about you, but I have a million things going in my life at one time. There is my day job which has a few dozen things I have to do in the next few hours. Now add my online work, my school, my family, and life in general to see that I can’t possibly keep it all straight in my head. I need to make a list to ensure that I don’t forget anything important.
List what you have to get done today. Check off everything as you get them done. You’ll see the progress.
7. Dress for Work
You don’t realize how you dress and look can affect your success at working from home. Yes, you can do your work in PJs. I’ve done it, and no one was the wiser. But I found that my mind is more geared toward work if I dress the part. That includes makeup, hair, etc. Typically I keep the slippers, but I look professional. It works every time.
A friend of mine who has been working from home for over a year now found great clothes that were professional in looks but comfortable enough to lounge around the house anytime. She said it helps her feel professional but still feels good. The best of both worlds.
I don’t know if I can live my life without this. It keeps me on track. I can note important deadlines, holidays, when my customers or suppliers will be closed, and when co-workers will be out of the office traveling or on vacation. When you work from home, you aren’t in the mix with all the coming and goings. You need the calendar to keep you on track of your job at all locations.
It is also a great way to keep your life organized. You can see when you have a virtual meeting and when you can meet with your child’s teacher. Combine both worlds here and find fewer conflicts.