When you’re at the office, you constantly have the beady eyes of your boss and coworkers burning holes through your back, reminding you to be productive. When you work from home, however, you have nothing to keep your focused. Nobody. Zilch. Nada.
You are surrounded by distractions and will likely find it difficult to get anything accomplished. I have struggled with this, and so has every other entrepreneur. However, with a few hacks, you can become more productive than all of your old friends back at the office. Here’s how.
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1. Be honest with yourself.
Before you work from home, you need a reality check. Are you really cut out for this kind of freedom from responsibility? Can you really handle it? This is not a judgment. It is a genuine question.
Some people thrive in community environments and could not work from home if they wanted to. Other people need the hustle and bustle that is so common in an office to focus properly. If that is you, that's okay.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t start a business, freelance or work remotely. It just means you need to change things up a bit. So, get a coworking space, or go to the coffee shop and work with all of your employees or just go work at your favorite public space. It doesn’t matter what you do so long as it is the right thing for you.
2. Set up an 'office' space in your home.
The brain works through the power of association. So, if you can create a place in your home that is 100 percent for work, your brain will know this when you sit down and you will be far more productive.
The key here is that you cannot use this place for anything other than hustling on your work for the day. If you get distracted, immediately stand up and walk away.
The more frequently that you use this space for work, and work only, the more successfully you will be able to focus and stay productive when you sit down for the day.
3. Create hard edges in your schedule.
I known that you left the corporate world so that you would never have to show up and clock in at 9 a.m. every day. However, there is something to be said for having a set time to work each day. I know this may not be entirely applicable if you are just starting your business and are working 16-to-20 hours a day.
If you can get into some kind of routine, your brain will immediately focus in whenever it’s time to work. Your hours could be 9-to-5, or 6-to-12. You could even work 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. for all I care. It doesn’t matter when you work. It just matters that you work at the same time every day.
4. Dress your best.
There is something weird that happens to your physiology whenever you dress well. You feel better about yourself. You feel more confident, more certain, and generally, just more badass.
I know that you probably escaped the corporate world so that you could stop wearing a suit and tie or, if you're a woman, a skirt and stockings, but that doesn’t mean you can start dressing like a slob. At the very least, put on a nice shirt or blouse and pair of slacks each morning before you start work. You will feel better, look better and work better.
5. Eat that frog.
One of Brian Tracy’s most famous books is Eat That Frog! In the book, Tracy discusses the principle that you need to do your most important tasks first thing in the day. When you start your day off with a big win and prioritize your MVPs (most valuable projects), you'll find that the rest of your day will run easily and smoothly.
However, if you spend your morning working on administrative busy work, your willpower will be depleted come midday and you’ll lack the motivation to tackle bigger projects.
By accomplishing the most important tasks first thing in the morning, you'll see the quality of your work improve. You'll also be less stressed, and you will have more success.
6. Chill out.
If you are in startup mode, it can be easy to work from dusk till dawn, sleep for a few hours, order a pizza and go do it again. This is no way to live, and it is no way to grow your business. You need to take breaks and get out of the house on a regular basis.
Put a walk on your schedule every day, go to the gym, go sit at your favorite coffee shop or spend time with friends. Just because you are building a business does not mean that you should neglect the rest of your life.
Allow yourself to chill out and recharge and you will come back to work the next day, fresher and more ready to kickass than before.
Working from home is one of life’s great pleasures. Whenever you can make thousands of dollars without leaving your couch, life is good. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to work from home. If you do it the wrong way, you will all but guarantee certain failure for your business.
But, if you use the tips detailed above, you will be happier, more focused, more productive and more successful than you ever were in your 9-to-5.