It’s been a long time coming, and you’ve finally decided to leave your job and start a business at home. However, while launching your company is indeed exciting, you’re quickly finding out that it’s hard to maintain productivity when you work from home. I can attest to this. I’ve run two companies from home, and it’s challenging to avoid distractions like chatting with friends on Facebook, throwing in a load of laundry, or watching a television series finale that I missed last week.
So, how can you buckle down, get work done, and avoid a myriad of distractions? Besides a whole lot of self-discipline, here are my top five ways to stay productive when running a business from home:
5 Ways to Boost Productivity When Working from Home
To help organize my day and week, I live by Google Calendar and make sure that I input appointments, scheduled calls, and deadlines. Every morning, my calendar is the first thing I look at to give me a clear view of what I need to get accomplished during the day. If I find myself distracted, I call up my calendar from my computer or phone. Once I see how much I have to get done, this usually puts me back to work.
Take frequent breaks
By running a small business at home, you often gain back hours that you used to spend commuting to a job. The last thing you want to do is waste this added time. At the same time, 2+ extra hours of concentrated work each day can lead to burnout. What to do? Try scheduling walks and a lunch break. And by scheduling, I mean actually put these breaks into your calendar or you likely won’t make time for them. In fact, scheduling two 15-minute breaks a day can actually boost your productivity and help prevent burnout, according to an article published in the Harvard Business Review. To help break up my day, I usually take my dog for a walk in the late morning and run out for coffee in the afternoon.
Carve out a dedicated work space
The ideal situation is having a home office, but even if you don’t have an extra room in your house, you can carve out an area in your living room, dining room, or even bedroom if you have no other choice. The key is to keep your workspace separated from the rest of your living space. To accomplish this without an office, you can put up dividers or maybe use a bookcase as a partition. Regardless of how you create a defined work space, keeping it separate from your personal space will help cut down on daily distractions.
Invest in a standing desk or ergonomic office furniture
Even if you take breaks during your day, you will likely get achy sitting at your dining table or a desk without an ergonomic chair. This leads to less productivity—not to mention possible back injuries. In fact, using a standing desk may be the best bet when it comes to improving your health and productivity. To that end, a recent study by Texas A&M University showed that your productivity will increase by 46% if you stand up while working instead of sitting down.
Get up early
It’s easy to sleep in and wear your pajamas all day when you work from home and are both the boss and sole employee. However, I find that setting my alarm and getting up at 6:45 AM can set the tone for a much more productive day. For starters, most people, including myself, can concentrate better earlier in the day. Plus, without a morning commute to work, you can use extra morning time to organize your day, have a leisurely breakfast, or even go for a brisk walk.