Working from home has many benefits: you don't have to commute, you don't have to "suit up" and you don't have co-worker "Joe" chewing the fat about things you couldn't care less about.
There are many distractions at the office which is why people say they get more done working from home. At least that's what they tell their bosses. The truth is that working from home has its own set of distractions.
Here are things you can do to be more productive working from home:
Have Your Own Work Space - This should be separate from the main living area of the house and exclusively for your work use. If family are home have a "closed door policy", otherwise it may be tempting for them to want to talk with you - after all you're just on the other side of that door. Help them understand that you're on the clock. If at all possible, work from the quietest space in the house.
Get in a "Work Mindset" - Yes, physically you're at home, but mentally you're at work.
Resist the temptation to step over the threshold from your work life to your home life. No watching your TiVo programs at lunchtime. TV during work hours can take you out of a work mindset. Also, steer clear of the 200 pound gorilla in the kitchen commonly known as the refrigerator. For some reason, being home causes people to snack throughout the day (you just finished a report and celebrate with leftover pizza). Mirror at home how you eat at work. And don't go through your personal mail until the end of the day. There could be a major distraction in the pile, especially if "O" Magazine has arrived.
Take Minimum Breaks - At work, you're more conscious of the passage of time because you get the visual cues of people going off to lunch and coming out of meetings. At home you don't get those, which can throw off your internal clock. There's less happening around you which may trick your brain into thinking that it's time for another break. So, keep the breaks to an absolute minimum.
Plan Your Day - This is especially important when you're working from home. It's key to plan your activities and assign specific times around them. That will keep you focused and on track. This goes for lunch too. Give yourself 30 minutes for lunch, after all, the food is close by and you shouldn't have to stand in line to get your sandwich.
No Housework, No Errands - Don't throw a load of laundry in thinking that you are multi-tasking. You're really not - you're doing laundry. When the buzzer goes off, it will pull you away from your project and the same thing will happen an hour later when the buzzer for the dryer goes off. As far as errands go, you may be very efficient doing errands when working from the office, but that doesn't usually apply when you're working from home. At the office, you have to be efficient because people notice if you're gone for an extended period of time - that's why you get so much done. Without that pressure at home, you're apt to take a 15 minute errand and turn it into a mini shopping spree.
Working from home is a great benefit. Leverage it for all the good it can bring you while avoiding those time killing pitfalls that can affect your productivity.
Fred & Gladys
Executive Search and Coaching
Authors of GOAL! Your 30 Day Career Plan for Business & Career Success