Many of you recently learned that working from home isn’t as blissfully easy as you expected.
Most people do not have the discipline necessary to focus amongst the chaos and distractions at home.
The trick is: remove the chaos.
Sounds simple right? Then why do so many of you insert your “home office” right in the middle of the mess??
At the office, you would be answering the door, making the beds, straightening up the kitchen. Most of you wouldn’t have the TV or music blasting. You’d be tucked away in your office or cubicle hyper-focused and ready to slay the day. So why should your home office be any different??
Stop treating your home office like your home.
Many of you skipped this step and just set up shop in the main hub of your house like on a kitchen island or living room. This approach is a big misstep and will only lead to an unproductive day of snacking and taking breaks to do other menial tasks around the house. And if it’s just you and your laptop, you are behind the 8-ball. What about everything else you need to succeed?
A pop-up “office” in a common area of your home, consisting of just you and your computer, lacks the structure and tools necessary for a productive day. Create the space you need to stay productive. Treat your day like you are in your actual business office. Mimic the office layout by creating a work area that is strictly dedicated to you. Make sure everything you need is accessible and at your fingertips.
This space should be permanent and not something you have to set up each day.
As simple as it may sound, make sure you put everything you need in one place so that it feels organized and easily accessible. This includes your calendar, your phone charger, your files, etc. Anything you can think of that will make your day easier.
The mission is to not have to exit the space very often. Each time you leave, you risk getting distracted by an outside source: a child, a spouse, the doorbell, the sunrise, neighborhood shenanigans, something interesting out the window, a pet, etc. Each time you get distracted, it will take another 20 minutes to get back into your work groove. That is why focus is paramount.
It might sound a little dreary, but to limit your distractions, I suggest setting up in room where you cannot hear the TV, the doorbell, or the pitter patter of little footsteps running around. In my case, I set up in my basement, which I renovated into a family room. It has tiny windows that I put shades on so that I can’t see how beautiful it is outside and get tempted to go sit out there. It is also out of earshot of the doorbell.
If you don’t have a room like this, I suggest getting dark shades so that you can’t daydream and stare out the window looking at the weather or getting caught up in other “interesting” stuff that can pull you away from your focus.
You should also start the day by putting lots of water and healthy snacks within reach, so you don’t have to venture to the kitchen. The more times you leave your desk, the more opportunity for slacking. And slacking means inefficiency. Remember, your goal is to work efficiently so that you control the day, rather than being controlled by the day.
Once you have an actual office in place, it’s time to hold yourself accountable.
You have businesses to run & money to make.