One of the great challenges of working at home is all the distractions. You sit down at your computer, and the whole internet is available to you. It’s all too easy to start off with something fun rather than something productive. But when you want to have a productive day working at home, you need to do your best to start off right.
Set Your Browser For Productivity
One thing that I have found works for me is to have my browser open up to pages that are productive for me to start on. Right now that’s my work at home job board administration page and a job search page. They aren’t what I need every time I open my browser, but what page is?
Those are the pages where I start my day. If I were to start my day out writing, I would start out in Google Drive, as I do most of my writing there.
The idea here is to make sure that you aren’t starting on a distracting page. Don’t start out on Facebook or any other social media unless you know you will start out working there.
Where’s the Caffeine?!?
If you need coffee to start your day, have your coffeemaker ready to go for the morning, or go get it as soon as possible if you prefer to buy it at Starbucks or some such. Don’t sit about delaying things over something you have every day – get moving.
The same goes for breakfast. Make sure you have the supplies on hand and easy to get together. You don’t have to eat breakfast right away if that’s not your routine – if you get up earlier than the rest of the family, you’re probably waiting for them – but make time for it in there somewhere, and make it convenient to prepare. Or teach the kids to do it once they’re old enough.
Plan for Distractions
You work at home. There are going to be distractions, that’s just the way it is. But you can decide which ones you will allow to distract you.
Kids are generally a distraction, especially when they’re babies. If your work can’t allow you that kind of distraction, have someone available to care for the baby.
As kids get older, you’ll probably need less help with the kids, at least if you don’t need a totally quiet environment in which to work. Teach them age appropriate ways to decide if they can interrupt you or not.
Try not to let basic household chores distract you beyond what you’ve planned for. I do laundry on certain days, and that’s when I know I will be getting up regularly to deal with it. I won’t touch it other days – if someone has an urgent need to get something washed, pretty much everyone here is old enough to handle it themselves. I only handle laundry at all on weekdays because I like our weekends free for family stuff, even when it’s just working around the house.
Sometimes you won’t be able to avoid interruptions. If something has to be repaired around the house you may not be able to decide what the best day is, or have your spouse home to deal with it. But when you have time, try to make sure such interruptions are planned for in your goals for the day.
Close the Door
This is one of the things I love about our new home – I can close my office door. We haven’t had a room that could also be a home office before.
Closing the door when you’re working is a good way to tell kids, spouses and pets to leave you alone as much as possible. Okay, maybe not the pets. At least, my cats consider a closed door more an invitation than a barrier. We’re working on that part with them.
Plan for the Next Day
Plan out your work day the day before. It’s a good way to wind down each work day. It helps you avoid indecision first thing in the morning.
If I have to stop in the middle of something and have a bunch of tabs open in my browser for it, I’ll bookmark the group to make it easier to continue the next day, or just leave the browser open. Bookmarked groups are dated so that I know when I did it if I don’t get back to it right away or forget to delete the group once I’m done.