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If you’re lucky enough to land a gig working from home, you’re living the dream; just make sure you spend your time actually working instead of dreaming. By putting these eight common habits into practice, you can make working from home a success.
1. Maintain a Strong Work Ethic
One of the best things about working from home: not having a supervisor looking over your shoulder 24/7. It doesn’t mean, though, that you can become a slacker.
Why are you working from home? Is it a hobby, something to just make a little extra money or will this be your primary source of income? Regardless of your reasons, it could become a great business opportunity. Approach it like it is business. Start each workday by making and reviewing a to-do list. Set goals to keep yourself on-track.
Picture yourself sitting on the couch, in your PJs and your bunny slippers. What could be more comfortable than that? While this is obviously the ideal set-up, you’re probably more likely to binge-watch your favorite shows instead of working. You would most likely accomplish more work by establishing a permanent work area, away from the TV and the noisiest part of the house.
Having your own workspace in your home reinforces the fact that this is a job. It also makes it easier to hear phone conversations, to participate and focus on video conferencing, and to maintain professionalism.
3. Organize Your Office Space
Before you start working, make sure you have everything you need at your work area. Create an inventory list of essential supplies for working at home. Keep your office supplies close by and separate from household items.
Pro tip: Don’t swipe office supplies for household use. They never return to their proper place. You don’t want to find yourself on that important conference call and without a pen nearby or
4. Get Dressed for Work
Just because you could work at home in your pajamas, doesn’t necessarily mean that you should. According to The Washington Post, what you wear to work may affect how you feel about yourself and the work itself. The more professional you look, the more professional you’ll feel.
5. Set a Realistic Schedule
While working from home usually allows for some flexibility in your work schedule, setting definite work times helps your mind change gears to work mode when you need to. When you work at a physical office building, you may go into work mode when your car pulls into the parking lot or when you sit at your desk and turn the computer on.
Your surroundings stay the same in your own home, so by setting a definite work schedule, you’re ready at that particular time to begin work. Print a work schedule to keep on your office door or refrigerator so that everyone in your home knows when you’ll be working.
6. Establish a Routine
Stick to the good habits that you already established before you started working from home. Have set times you get up in the morning and go to bed at night. Set a particular time for dinner every night. This will help you to be realistic about the time that you need to finish your work.
Arrange your work schedule and household schedule so that they don’t interfere with each other. As much as possible, take care of the non-work related chores so that while you are working, you aren’t thinking about what you need to get at the store for dinner or any chores that need to be done.
7. Take Breaks
You can burn yourself out if you work non-stop — even from the comfort of your own home — so build short breaks into your work schedule. Take the opportunity to get your mind off of work for a little while. Prepare your favorite snacks for your 5-10 minute breaks.
During your breaks, get some fresh air. Eat lunch outside, if the weather permits it. Take a short walk. Lunchtime and breaks may be the perfect opportunity to check your personal email or phone messages.
Be careful not to take extended lunches, and avoid doing household chores during your breaks or lunch. Schedule these for before or after your workday is finished.