There are plenty of people working from home these days- parents with small children, freelancers, digital nomads working remotely while they travel, or even people working from home for a day or two while they’re under the weather. But whatever your reason might be for creating a home office, it needs to be a place to get work done efficiently.
1. Make Sure You Have the Tools You Need for Success
For most people, having the tools you need means a bare minimum of a desk, a chair, and a computer. But depending on your profession, you may need much more than that- and this will have a huge impact on how much space you need to plan for.
While a freelance writer may only need a small corner of a room to successfully ply their craft, an architect may require much more space for a drafting table. Or an artist with an Etsy shop might need lots of shelving to organize and store hundreds of skeins of yarn.
Another consideration with space is making sure everything is accessible, not just present. When you’re sitting at your desk, can you easily reach the items you use the most? Even if all of your tools and supplies fit within your office, it won’t mean much if you have to work hard to get to them every time you need to.
2. Organize Like Your Paycheck Depends on It (It Kind of Does)
There are few things as subtly distracting as clutter. If you want your home office space to be as conducive to productivity as possible, it’s important to make sure that each item has a place and a purpose.
Knowing where each object is will make each task you tackle quicker and more efficient, and as any freelancer knows, time is money. And as tempting as it can be to cover your area with cute knickknacks and photos, a clutter-free space will help you keep your focus on your work.
3. Limit Your Distractions
This is arguably the hardest part of working from home. There are some factors that you won’t be able to control- for example, if you’re working from home while also taking care of young children. You may also have chores to handle throughout the day. However, if you know that these distractions are going to be a factor, you can usually plan your work day around them (nap time, for example).
There are other distractions that are 100% avoidable. These include TV’s, social media notifications, and snack attacks. Sometimes the hardest thing is simply practicing self-control and shutting off or putting away the things that are vying for your precious attention.
If you must have noise in the background, like many of us do, swapping TV shows for podcasts or music (which don’t require your visual attention) can be helpful. For music, try creating a work playlist or listening to your favorite radio station so you aren’t constantly tempted to change the songs. Nature soundtracks, like audio of birds chirping or waves at the beach may also be soothing.
When it comes to snack attacks, it can be easy to just wander into the kitchen whenever you please- it is your house, after all. However, it can be helpful to approach your workday as though you are going into an actual office. Eat breakfast before beginning, dinner when you’re finished, and set aside lunch and a snack. You can even set the snack on a corner of your desk, to reward yourself with when you finish a task.
Working from home can be tricky, but if you set up your office well, you’re setting yourself up for success in the long run. Just remember- give yourself the tools you need, stay organized, and don’t let distractions steer you off course.
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