After the hectic holidays, it’s good to get back to working at home effectively. It’s also a good time to look at your old habits and decide which need to be changed or improved. An honest assessment of how you’re working will be a big help in making the new year better than the one before.
1. Know Your Personal Roadblocks
We all have personal roadblocks that limit our work hours, the chances we’re willing to take, the changes we haven’t yet made. Take a close look at what’s keeping you from getting the things done you haven’t managed to do yet. Commit to making it happen, whether it’s working more hours, promoting your website or home business in a new ways, or starting something entirely new.
2. Talk to Your Family
Solid communication with your family about what you need from them to successfully work from home makes a big difference. Remind them about when they’re allowed to interrupt you and deal with new problems that have come up. Family can be both your greatest obstacle and the greatest help in your ability to work at home.
Do the same with any friends who have made working at home more difficult for you in the past.
3. Update Your Goals
Are you accomplishing everything you would like to in your work life? Do your current goals really reflect where you want or need to go?
Take a look at your goals and decide if they’re still right for you. You may want to update some, drop others, and break still others into smaller steps.
4. Review Your Schedule
How well does your schedule work for you? Are you productive at the times you need to be productive?
Consider changing things up if your schedule isn’t working for you and if your type of work gives you that kind of flexibility. Make the most of whatever flexibility you have to improve your productivity.
Your schedule should also include some clear time off. Have times of the day when, short of a crisis, you do not work. You need time to be with your family, friends and to do your own thing. Make sure you get it.
5. Organize Your Home Office or Work Space
How does your home office or work space look? It it messy or disorganized? Now is a good time to get it back into shape. Remove distractions, make sure the things you need are easy to find or reach.
If possible, make your work space more clearly defined, even if you don’t have the space for a home office. Certainly a room with a door you can close is a huge help – my oldest daughter found that out recently when she did some catch up work for school in my office. She was impressed by how much easier it was to work in a dedicated space with the door closed.
6. Work on Your Communication
Many people find communication with employers, coworkers, clients and so forth difficult when they work at home. There are many ways to handle this. You might schedule online or in person meetings. You might text updates regularly. However you need to communicate with anyone you work with, make sure it’s effective.
7. Review and Update Your Tools
Take a look at the tools and supplies you need to do your job. Are they as current as they should be? Is there a more effective option within your budget?
This can include your computer, the software you use, and any other equipment. You may also want to take a look at your internet connection, making sure it’s the right choice for your work and personal needs, and that you’re on the right plan.
8. Update Your Skills
How current are your skills? Is there something you would like to learn that would make you more effective or help you progress in your career or business? Pick something you would like to learn and make time in your schedule to learn that new skill or update an old one.
9. Promise to Take Breaks
Make a promise to yourself that you will take breaks throughout your work day, just as you would in an outside the home job. You don’t have to limit yourself to 15 minutes as you would at other jobs unless your employer requires that strict a schedule, as some do. Take the time you need to refresh yourself. Go for a walk, get some exercise, do something not associated with work. You’ll come back better able to focus and generally more productive
10. Don’t Neglect Your Social Needs
Isolate is a major problem for people who work at home. You don’t have coworkers right there to chat with. If you want a social life, you have to make it happen.
If it works for you, try working at a coffee shop or other place with wifi. Make time to do something fun with other people during your off hours. Chat with friends on social media when you aren’t working.
Don’t let your social time interfere with your work time, of course. Socializing when you should be working is a major problem for a lot of people who work at home. Don’t let it be a problem for you.
I hope these steps will help you plan for a productive New Year working at home.