Lack of motivation: It’s a problem most encounter from time to time when working at a stay-at-home job. “I’ll admit it,” says Rachel Lascala, former sales executive who recently launched a promotional products business out of her home. “When you’re working at home, there are lots of distractions that can sap your productivity.” As an example, Lascala says, friends who don’t understand that she’s actually working often pop by “just to say hi” or offer up lunch invitations. Here are four tips to keep your motivation and productivity high while working from a home office:
Have a Separate Office Space.
When LaScala initially started her own business, she set up a desk right in her bedroom, and rolled out of bed in the morning to begin working. This is a big mistake, say workplace experts. “Having an organized office space in your home not only limits distractions, but it helps remind others that you’re at work and cannot be disturbed,” says Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half International.
Get Dressed for Work
Nicole Colito, owners of Nicole’s Promos in Orlando, starts off her work day at home every morning by dressing in business casual attire and pouring herself a mug of coffee before sitting down at her desk. Psychologists say that changing into business attire is another good way to create boundaries between home life and the work day. Colito agrees. “I switch into work mode as soon as I’m dressed,” she says.
Create a Routine
Most people who work in an office stick to a schedule—blocking off certain times of the day for meetings, breaks, phone calls and lunch. Those who work from home should do the same thing, McDonald says. “It’s okay to take 10 minutes for a coffee break or to walk around the block,” he says. “You take breaks at work and you should take them at home, too. But establishing a regular routine is key to staying motivated.”
One of the perks of working at home, of course, is that you can do certain things—like flip on the TV or have lunch with your spouse—that you can’t normally do during the work day. Experts say that using these types of activities as a perk (rather than a distraction) helps create a healthy balance. “Tell yourself that after you spend the morning hammering out that big proposal, you’ll treat yourself to an episode of Breaking Bad,” suggests Kerry Loughman, a workplace psychologist. “Little rewards like this help you feel accomplished and re-energized at the same time.”