If you are currently working freelance at home, then you may know just how hard it can be to stay focussed and productive. Around your house, you may find constant distractions and things that keep you from getting as much work done as you’d like. But there are ways to battle through your workload and targets each day. Here are 10 top tips to stay more productive and away from distractions when working at home.
1. Avoid your phone
First off try and avoid your phone as much as possible. Such as messaging, social media (more below) and other things you may use your phone for. Of course if you use your phone to contact clients then that changes things a little; but try and avoid using it for anything that is none business related during your working day.
2. Limit your social media use
Social media is a huge distraction and can easily take your focus away from what you’re doing. For that reason limit yourself to when you can use it, such as in the morning, lunchtime and then in the evening. And then try and avoid going on it at other times throughout the day. On from this try and limit how many notifications you get on your phone from social media. As the more notifications you have, then the higher the chance you will get distracted.
3. Keep the television off
Television is one of the biggest distractions and I recommend keeping it turned off as much as possible. I myself love Netflix and I find that if I get into a show it can take my attention away from focussing on my paid work. Try and instead treat television and Netflix as a reward for a hard days work.
4. Take breaks
Breaks are super important. This may be a simple break such as going to make a cup of tea, or leaving the house for a walk. When I work at home often around midday I will go for a walk to the grocery store to get things for dinner. This breaks up my day and when I get back I feel refreshed, more focussed and more productive.
5. Write a daily to-do list
A daily to-do list is a great way to stay on top of your tasks and become more productive. I often set myself a weekly to-do list and then break it down into days. I then love to tick off items as I accomplish them. When compiling a to-do list it’s a good idea to mix up the activities, maybe a few tedious things you don’t enjoy, mixed with a few things that you do enjoy. This will make the work seem a lot easier to do and cope with.
6. Set personal deadlines
When working at home I often set myself personal deadlines, such as to complete certain blog posts, edit certain pictures, or to accomplish other tasks by a specific date. You could link this to your daily to-do list so that you have very precise targets.
7. Don’t feel you need to answers emails right away
This will depend on what your work is, but if you are constantly logged into emails and feel you need to reply to them as soon as they come in, then this will distract you from your other tasks. What I do is have my email closed and then check it every few hours. If I am in an email conversation about something important or urgent, then I may check it more frequently, but hopefully this gives you an idea.
8. Listen to music that helps you work
Almost whenever I work I am listening to music. I find it actually helps me stay focussed. This also makes my working day goes quick and then before I know it I have accomplished lots of my tasks on my to-do list. This may not work for everyone and it can really depend on the kind of music you like, most often relaxing music, or music without too many words would work best.
9. Avoid video games
This is especially important if you have an addictive personality or are a completionist like me. Ie someone that can’t own a game that they don’t complete. I used to have a Playstation when I first started being freelance and I would sometimes find myself being drawn to the console. I no longer have this and since then I find myself with much more time to focus on the tasks and things that matter.
10. Create a home-office
My last suggestion is that if you have the room, then set yourself up with an office workspace. By having such a space it will almost feel like you’ve left your home and gone to an office. A few suggestions to make this space good for work would be:
- Have a large spacious desk
- Buy yourself a very comfortable office chair
- Have a calendar and whiteboard to plan your tasks
- Have elements of your job around you. Ie if you are a photographer have a few of your photographs in the room, and have books related to your profession
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