Productivity can be a challenge for those working at home. After all, you don’t have a boss looking over your shoulder. In addition, it’s easy to confuse being busy with being productive. Just because you’re actively working doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting very much accomplished. To make sure that you get the most out of your work-at-home workday, consider the following:
1. Turn off the television
Television can be comforting background noise, but it can also be distracting. Do you really need to know what they’re talking about on “The View” or what the Kardashians are doing this week?
2. Set productivity goals
It’s difficult to know if you’re being productive if you don’t set goals. Avoid this trap by writing down quantitative goals for your workweek. This can be how many tasks you want to get done, how many sales you want to make or how much money you’d like to earn.
3. Limit social media
Social media is fun and fascinating, but it can be also be the ultimate time waster. Keep yourself focused on work by limiting your social media participation to set hours.
4. Check your email box once an hour
Email, while a vital communication tool for those who work at home, can also be a time waster. Rare is the message that can’t wait an hour. You don’t have to check your in-box every five minutes.
5. Turn off alerts
If you have audible alerts set to notify you of a new email, Skype message or social media message, turn them off. How can you get anything done with all of that racket in the background?
6. Set “office hours”
When you work at home, it’s sometimes difficult for family and friends to remember that you’re really working. Avoid getting dragged into taking nieces to school or helping your mother with a house project during the day by setting formal work hours and letting everyone know about your schedule.
7. Use two monitors
Using two monitors may sound like a luxury, but it’s not. Take a minute to think about how much time you waste toggling back and forth between web pages. Wouldn’t it be easier to be able to look at both at the same time?
8. Have a set office space
Hollywood may depict at-home workers as typing on a laptop in their beds, but who really does this? Having a set office helps you get in the “work” mind set.
9. Splurge on Internet access
If you’re limping along with a sub-standard DSL connection, you’re losing money with lost productivity. Instead, invest in the best and fastest Internet connection available. You’ll recoup the money you spend by not having connectivity problems.
10. Consider a back-up generator
Losing power can shut down your at-home business in an instant, leaving your with deadlines and no way to notify your clients. A back-up generator can help avoid those issues. If you live in a part of the country that has frequent electrical outages, this could very well be worth the investment.
11. Take regular breaks
This may sound counter-intuitive, but regular breaks can help you concentrate better when you return.
12. Make to-do lists
You don’t have to beat yourself up if you don’t complete every item every day, but having a list helps you to stay focused and to not forget any important tasks.
13. Get help
At-home workers often think that they have to do it all–work, housework, cooking, lawn care and child care. Instead of stretching yourself so thinly, ask for help from friends, family or professionals when you need it.
Michael Conley is a 27-year-old digital security specialist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and one of the finest writers here at 9to5alternatives.com. He’s been into computer programming since his late teen years, and is extremely happy that he’s succeeded in creating a career out of it. When he’s not coding or working on an article, Michael spends his free time playing with his cat or shooting pool with his former highschool classmates.