There are indeed important steps one should follow when working from home. Being successful in your work is crucial, especially when working from home.
You might think that it should be much easier working from home than working a 9-5 job, being watched by the “evil eye” of your boss.
Being successful with your work from home can have its pitfalls too, but when you implement these steps, I am writing about, you can avoid hair pulling and exhaustion on a much lower level.
However, my steps are not unique and many of them have been researched and written down.
One of the authors is Shawn Mason Spence, he has written the book “The work from home Bible“.
Important Steps you might follow upon
1) Find a good space
Find a good space where you can work without being interrupted all the time. Spence says, “…don’t put your home office near your bed or TV…”
I guess we all can agree on this without having a big discussion. Having a workspace near these locations can only mean trouble, and I mean “big” trouble.
2) Be as organized as you can.
Having a good filing system, online and physical, is crucial; also make a to-do list, it keeps you focused on your day’s task.
Make time for your important phone calls and conference calls. Schedule in appointments you have to keep outside of your work hours like doctor appointments, school visits etc.
Nothing can be more stressful than not having any oversight on all the important things.
3) You need to know your computer.
Being computer savvy is important, knowing how to save your documents correctly, or to down- and uploading files etc.
To know your software’s and programs is also very important. Don’t be afraid of computers and laptops when working from home. You might be doing everything, nowadays, with your smartphone and this is awesome.
However, there are certain things you might still need a desk computer or a Laptop.
Let’s face it, this is essential to your success and if you are none computer savvy, then it is time to take a computer course. Most municipalities do provide this kind of community education. Look in the newspapers.
4) Avoid distraction.
Distraction can come from varies places like a too-loud TV, pets, family members etc. you get the drift.
That’s why it so important to have a separate office space where you can be uninterrupted when working and will make this clear to any family member.
If you not doing it and to set some boundaries, you will always have to deal with none-emergency interruption.
5) Plan your day carefully.
When you have a to-do list and keep your schedule for the day, you will have fewer distractions and might even maximize your own productivity.
As I have set before by setting some boundaries you will not only achieve more, but you also will have more time to enjoy with your loved ones.
6) Stay away from checking your emails too often.
If you have to do your work mostly with emails it is then very important, just for that, to set up a business email account.
There, if you need to check your emails you only will do it for your business and not get sidetracked with your social emails.
Set a time for checking your personal emails like before starting your workday, or when you take a break, or after your workday has come to an end. It is really not that difficult to do.
7) Your communication skills.
Some businesses, nowadays, will use the phone/ smartphone, or even Skype to stay in touch and to communicate with each other. Nevertheless, some interaction is still done through email contact.
Being able to communicate with your customers clearly and concisely through the written word is also very crucial to your success. If you are not so good with grammar, or English is your second language, there are programs available which you can use to improve and enhance your “written” communication.
Grammarly, an extension through Google Chrome, has a free version which, in my opinion, is pretty good and might be already sufficient enough. Then, there is Ginger, which is more suitable, again, in my opinion, for British English correspondence.
Both programs do have a paid upgrade to Premium available.
8) Set your own work hours.
For example: if you have small children, pets, or being a caregiver can have some major interruptions for your work and your concentration/productivity.
Working through the nap hours of a child is a good decision, having extra help to take care of a sick person or taking the dog for a walk can help as well.
Always plan ahead to avoid conflict on both sides, business and personal.
9) Look after yourself and take a break.
With all your busyness don’t forget yourself. Set some break time aside to have a lunch or a small, healthy snack.
Stretch your whole body and even go outside for 5-10 minutes and have a walk, or walk the dog. It will help you not only physically, but also mentally to be refreshed again.
10) No home chores during your work hours.
Especially women have the tendency to combine, when working for their business, and doing some house chores on the side, like doing a load of laundry. This will get you sidetracked very quickly.
This further goes for unannounced visits or sudden social phone calls. When being open to the interrupter and saying NO, you are certainly not rude.
After all, it is your business.
11) Have all the work stuff you will need within reach.
Nothing can be more distracting and even embarrassing when you have certain tools or supplies not available. Being organized and well equipped is important to a professional business owner, even when working from home.
12) When you have to use Skype, make sure your workplace is clean.
Nothing can be more annoying by having clothes, junk etc. lying around behind your chair. Many people seem to be unaware of how their space behind them will actually look to someone else who can see behind them.
Next time when you Skype professionally make sure your place looks professionally too.
13) Have your business hours like traditional work hours.
Do your phone calls etc. and all your business contacts in the same way as you would do working from 9-5. Do all your administration work after the official work hours and, when there is time to be just with family and friends, make sure that work isn’t interfering.
Again, give everything its time to be, don’t mix them together.
14) Don’t multitask, stay focused.
That’s why having a to-do-list is crucial and will avoid the pitfall getting sidetracked and even lost. It can’t be said enough how important it is to be and to stay focused.
If you will keep up the multitasking at all time the chances are you will get burnt out.
15) Have the right (and good) equipment for your work.
Using a fast computer/laptop is important. Also have a scanner, copier, printer, and fax if applicable.
Many printers have all these functions as an ALL-IN-ONE, which will save lots of space too.
16) Stay connected.
When you work for a company and you have the opportunity by working from home (part-time or full-time), it is very important that you will stay in contact with your boss, manager and/or your team.
Have regular Skype calls or conference-call meetings, or meet in person once or twice a month for lunch/dinner. This will keep you and them in the loop and connected.
These steps are just a guideline for you. You will certainly find many similar suggestions online and this is fine. It should help you to find your balance with being committed to your business and to your personal life.
Some days it is easier to follow these steps, some days not so much. You will find in time what is the best way for you to make your work more productive and enjoyable by working from home. 🙂
If you are playing with the thought of starting your own business from home you might find this article helpful.
I would like to hear your success story in how you do manage your business and personal life by working from home. Leave a comment below if you like.
Wishing you always an outstanding day.