Working at home sounds great in theory: get up, walk to your desk in your PJ’s, and start work. But this is not necessarily a productive way to start your day. Try something like this routine instead:
Set a time that you want to start work, and work backwards to figure out when your alarm needs to sound. Getting up at a regular time each day encourages discipline – and the expectation that you are actually going to do some work, regardless of where the work environment is located.
Just because you are ten feet from your kitchen there is no excuse to skip breakfast! Your mom always taught you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and she was right. You need to fuel up to start getting your body and mind in motion.
Sure you can grab a snack if you are hungry, or if you don’t like to eat a big meal first thing in the morning. Just don’t run on an empty tank during that working time when you are fresh, relaxed, and crisp.
Shower, shave, brush your teeth, make your hair, and do whatever you would do as if you were about to head out and visit a client. Looking sloppy reflects in sloppy work. You will also look respectable if you need to duck out for a little while, or even just open the door to a delivery guy.
OK we admit, a suit is overdoing it for the home office. But you can still wear a nice pair of jeans, a clean t-shirt, socks and shoes. No flip-flops, shoes. Your office probably isn’t on the beach so don’t dress like you are! Again for the same reason as Cleaning Up, if you need to present yourself to the outside world you can do so immediately, without delay.
Sit at your desk properly, in a comfortable office chair, and start work. And do some work, please! No tv, no surfing the web, and try (as hard as it sounds) to avoid email for the first hour or two until you get some of your priorities done. You are at work now, not at home, despite what the surroundings might suggest!
Here is the secret to work-life balance: when the day is complete, save out your files, turn off your computer, tidy your desk, and leave the workplace. Spend time with your family and friends.
In essence what we are proposing is that you treat your home office as you would an external, commercial office. There are many perks to working in your home, and many temptations to be sloppy. It might feel uncomfortable at first to try and set some of these routines but we reckon you will be more productive if you take a little bit of time in the morning to get yourself together.
And if you are just starting out in your home office, you might also want to check out our tips on How To Set Up A Home Office. You will find tips for getting your workspace organised and the kinds of furniture and equipment you might require.