Tips for Working at Home (Part I)

Many of us dream of the ability to work at home. We fantasize of working in our comfortable clothes, whenever we feel like it. We dream of long lunches and saving money on childcare. However, working from home has many challenges (and distractions).

 

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Here are some tips to working at home so that you are productive in your business:

  • Set goals and be sure to follow them. When you own your own business, you will have to figure out one of two things, how much money you need to make or how much you want to work.
  • Re-evaluate your goals to see if you need to work more (or less) to accomplish your goals. You might have set your goals too low that you are not making enough money. Maybe you set your goals too high and you can’t realistically follow them. There are also times when your goals will change and you need more income for an unexpected expense.
  • Set a schedule and work when you say that you are. Do not allow interruptions. You need to remember that this is your job and your schedule. Then, you need to stick to it.
  • Be organized. No one can be successful without being organized. You need to know all of the tasks that you need to do and when they need to be done. You need to know where your important papers are located. You can’t waste time looking for things that you need to complete projects. Instead, when you have time to work, you should be making money.

Nobody said that working at home would be easy. It can actually be even harder than working in an office. However, set goals (and re-evaluate them as needed). Set a schedule and stick to it. You should also try to be organized so that when you have time to work, you are ready to sit down and get some things done.

Contact The Sherwood Group for more ways to be productive in your business.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also want to check out these others:

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How to Make Social Media Marketing Work for Your Business
Is There Still Gold in Cold Calling?
5 Tools for Blogging on the Go
4 Tips for Entrepreneurs Looking to Grow Business
3 Ways to use LinkedIn Groups to Grow Your Professional Network

This article is published by The Sherwood Group, Creative Agency:
The Sherwood Group has over 30 years of experience working with all sorts of companies, small and large. Our clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 firms, in nearly every business sector, from across the street to around the world (and yes, even Europe, China, and South America). Our goal is to create advertising,  graphic design, website design, and marketing communication that still looks fresh and relevant 10-15 years later. Our mission is to stir your imagination and leave your competition shaken and wondering,  Now what do we do?”  We are located in Santa Clarita, California, just outside Los Angeles, California.

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10 Comments:


  • By Candiece Milford 03 Dec 2014

    I haven’t worked from home in years for my primary job, except for its spillover evenings and weekends. However, when I did, I found that all of the above points are certainly true, but my main challenge was “turning work off.” It was always “there,” within reach of taking care of some detail, and it consumed me on occasion. Thus, my discipline was to set work hours that I tried to honor so that I kept balance in my life.

  • By Peter Dorfman 09 Dec 2014

    Get a comfortable chair. They aren’t that expensive.

  • By Christopher Brenchley 09 Dec 2014

    Great topic, Will! Thanks much for kicking us off…

    I made the transition from working in an office to a virtual, remote office a little over 7 years ago, after 15 years of the dreaded commute. As a serious extrovert, I swore I could never, ever be happy in a remote setting and couldn’t wait to get my office back.

    In addition to all of the routine-based, digitally-connected suggestions we often hear – all of which I wholeheartedly agree with – there are two more simple things that have allowed me to maintain my sanity along the way:

    1. Go with the flow… I don’t fight feelings of less-than-optimal productivity or creativity. Unlike an office setting – where many feel like they have to be constantly “working” simply because they are at work and others are watching – the remote office affords me (us!) the opportunity to recharge, as needed.

    Rather than fight such a block, often times I step away from the desk for 10 or 15 minutes, walk around the neighborhood or sit with the dogs on the patio – doing absolutely nothing. These reboots ensure that I am always doing my best work at max productivity.

    (Besides, since remote workers don’t waste time commuting, going out to lunch every day, dealing with water-cooler down-time or meetings-just-to-meet, we need to embrace that our output on any given day beats that of our office-bound colleagues. Poor bastards…)

    2. I finish every work day by making a hit-list of the key things I intend to tackle the following day. Whether writing it in ink in a Black n’ Red book (old school! and my preference, ironically) or capturing digitally, this basic exercise allows me to “go home” and put the work day down for the evening so I can be present for family and friends.

    (And, should I ever end up – gasp – working in an office again, it is a discipline I would maintain for the same reasons…)

    Happy (not) commuting!

    Cheers – CB

  • By IshaEdwards.com 09 Dec 2014

    The template idea, is a true time-saver. I’m rarely without one!

    In addition to scheduling fitness activities like dance, volleyball, and aerobics during the week, I also plan social outings. The tip that has served me well is not changing my work routine. I still get up at 7:30 a.m. At times, I also plan my meals–or at least breakfast. I still go out for lunch or dinner to ensure that I take a break and get some fresh air. Lastly, I also schedule my assignments same as I schedule meetings and social engagement.

    Healthy. Happy. Balanced. Focused. And free….

    i.e.

  • By Amy Campbell 09 Dec 2014

    I have a mastermind group and we will hold Google Hangout calls and mute while we work then at the top of the hour, unmute to roll through a quick list of tasks or goals we hope to accomplish in the next hour. At this time, if there’s a question that is asked that one or two will just brainstorm on, it works and then they mute again.

    This same scenario also works for the managed subcontractors and the staff back at the office. Just because we aren’t physically there, doesn’t mean we can’t be present and transparent about our work. It demonstrates my commitment and leadership as well as work ethic and availability. I’m literally a text and an unmute away in some instances.

  • By Andy Thwaites 10 Dec 2014

    I have been working from home since 1998 when the corporate offices of the company I was with closed in favour of staff working remotely. The adjustment is significant and not for everyone, but it has worked for me. Tips : Create a good working environment where you can close the door on the home and “be” at work. This limits interruptions when the kids come home, the door bell rings etc and creates a healthy boundary between work and play. The dining room table is not an option 😉

  • By Renee Davis 10 Dec 2014

    I haven’t had trouble with the discipline part of working at home but the boundaries part. I find myself working much longer hours because its so convenient to do so. Setting an alarm for 6:30 pm to signal that its time to “go home” to start family time is helpful. Otherwise I find myself getting involved in something and losing track of time.

    Separate work space for me on my 3rd floor has also been very helpful. But I had to train my kids and husband that when they walk into my office, they have to a) quietly check to see if I’m on the phone before just launching into a conversation b) I don’t have time while working to hear all about their day…that can happen over dinner. Quick conversations like we’d have on the phone from an office is what is appropriate

    A good headset is a lifesaver.

    I keep my coffee pot in the kitchen on the 1st floor. With my office on the 3rd floor, my FitBit says I climb a lot of stairs! Good exercise.

    Don’t feel guilty when you do and can take advantage of your flexible schedule. If you want to pick your daughter up from school on a day it is pouring rain, do it. Working from home provides just this kind of benefit. We work hard every day whether in an office or from home. Enjoy the benefits of working from home!

  • By Mike 10 Dec 2014

    Working at home has changed a lot since I started 33 years ago. I started when VM and was just invented. For me there is not better way. I can go to a warm climate in winter and to the mountains in the heat of the summer. If I have my computer, cell phone and an internet connection, that is all I need. Here are my tips:
    1) Keep consistent hours. Whatever your hours are going to be.
    2) Get rid on paper. A scanner and a good PDF software will do wonders.
    3) Learn Skype, Google Hangout etc so you can still have the face to face meetings with you staff.
    4) Get an VOIP phone system so it can follow you around the world when you want.
    5) Use overnight mail services for the hard copy items when necessary.
    6) My assistant opens all my mail, scans it and emails it to me on a daily basis. If you are a small operation, there are services that will do this for you.
    7) Consider yourself blessed that you can work from not only home but from wherever.

  • By Scott Schmidt 10 Dec 2014

    In addition to the list that Ben attached above, and Mike’s list I would like to add the following.

    Make sure that you pick a location within your house that allows for some level of privacy. This is for you and for those that might also be in the house while you are working. Then be disciplined in your work, because for me it all comes down to discipline. I setup a schedule and then work my schedule.

    Its important to prioritize work around your “most effective time” of the day so that you are getting the maximum value for that time. I make calls in the morning when I am the most alert and then work on projects after lunch. Take a walk at lunch or do jumping jacks or some type of exercise as you don’t have an office to walk around in.

    Plan some social time in your calendar. A 10 minute coffee break in the morning and afternoon to stop by the electronic water cooler (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram) or pick up the phone and call someone or text them. It brings the social aspect of the workplace to you, at home.

    I take articles and PDF them and drop into Dropbox to read at breakfast, lunch or after dinner when I have a little more time. I check email and LinkedIn while on the treadmill or elliptical in the mornings and then check again throughout the day.

    I try to plan my errands around work meetings out of the home office. So when I go to visit a customer I stop at the UPS store, Office Max, and the Post Office.

    Plan breakfast meetings as I find them to be very energizing and gives me more energy to work past lunch on those days. Make sure to get out of the home office a minimum of one day a week.

    Find or start a home office support group in your area. It is good to have someone to talk to that understands some of the issues that we face with slow internet, fussy printers, and computer issues. It is also good to have a few people that you can bulk buy and split with on office suppliers such as printer paper, envelops and packs of staples and paperclips.

  • By Ben Jacobson 11 Dec 2014

    Here’s a list of what _not_ to do when working from home!
    http://blog.invoiceninja.com/home-office-lifestyle-mistakes/

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