Taking the ‘home’ out of the ‘home office’ can be quite an art form. Try these four tips to help you separate your business and personal priorities – even though they inhabit the same space.
Create a workday for yourself
Allocate set hours of the day as being strictly for work. Regardless of whether it’s the standard nine-to-five, between school runs or evenings, the important thing is to stick to it and make work your sole focus during those hours.
“Mostly, I try to treat my home office as I would an office job. I avoid the household chores between the hours of nine and five – no laundry, no dishes – and I’ll stop for a quick cup of morning or afternoon tea, but that’s it,” says Kasey Clark, a Sydney-based freelance writer, editor, strategist and founder of The Hungry Expat blog, who works from home.
Have a dedicated workspace
Whether it’s a study, a corner of the living room or the granny flat out back, having a defined space that is yours to ‘work at’ in your home is important. Keep everything work-related nearby, so it’s central, convenient and you can pick up where you left off when you next need to. It will also help you to separate your workspace from your living space, if everything is in an allocated ‘work’ area.
Have a daily to-do list
Generally, people don’t leave the office until they get through any essential jobs required of them. Adopt a similar approach – create a daily to-do list and don’t call your workday done until you complete it. Give yourself little rewards when you wrap big jobs.
Clark says: “I do try to give myself breaks and things to look forward to during the day – my morning tea ritual, a nice lunch in the neighbourhood ‘if I just get XYZ done’. I find being productive in getting to those milestones during the day is also motivating.”
It can be hard to get ahead with work if you’re constantly replying to emails, taking calls and responding to Facebook messages that are more social than professional in nature. That’s why it’s a good idea to make parts of your day 100 per cent distraction free.
Clark says: “I’ll also often put my phone and computer on silent during the mornings, so I’m not as tempted to check messages and email notifications all the time. And I generally keep a quiet work environment. I stick to listening to classical music – if I have any on at all; otherwise, I find myself distracted and singing along with my favourite songs!”
And, if all else fails, remind yourself that the time you are spending doing non-work related things at home is potentially impacting your business and your income. If that doesn’t motivate you, we’re not sure what will!