I write today’s post because if like me you are working from home or at least are planning to you will need all the tips and advice you can get. I know most of the bizzebee team work from home if not all of the day they do quite a bit at home when they are not in their offices.
Working from home has a very romanticised sound to it. It sounds like we are free to do things as and when we choose to and that we can pop off here and there as we please and this can be true but there are some serious downfalls to working from home and they need to be managed.
If left unchecked and unmanaged it can be very easy to become distracted and if that happens nothing gets done. If nothing gets done your business will not grow and the worst case scenario is you do not get paid.
Working from home can be a lot harder than you think especially if you need to regularly earn money to maintain that lifestyle.
If you are a writer for example who is paid to write for a few websites and you do not finish off your articles on time you will not get paid it is simple as that. We all want and need money, without it we cannot live the life we want and if the life you want is to work from home let me tell you this…
…Working from home can be the very thing that destroys that dream and makes it impossible to continue.
I apologise if that sounds bleak but you must realise that you will be surrounded by the people and things you love and that means temptation to slack off and have fun is all around you all day!
When you work for a company in an office with a boss you wouldn’t dream of sitting around playing on the games console for four hours shooting Zombies would you? Change the office for your home and being self-employed then the story is very different, when you have yourself as your boss and manager it is easy to fall into the trap of doing the things you ‘enjoy’ and not the things that need to be done.
When working from home you still need to work, and for many of us, we need to work a lot harder and be more disciplined than ever before. Normally when working for other people we fear being sacked, when we work for ourselves we are not going to sack ourselves and can often bury our heads in the sands of pleasure and distraction.
Here are my 5 tips for working from home successfully
1) Find a quiet corner or area that you can set up as an office away from everyone else in the house if possible. If you have a spare room then fantastic, turn it into an office and work in it away from everyone.
You might not have a spare room and are forced into working in the lounge where people will be mulling around and watching T.V. This is not ideal but if that is the hand you are dealt try and create space in a corner where you can hide away a bit.
You have to decide what noise you can deal with best; I can handle T.V. better than people working in the kitchen. T.V. has a certain level and if the sound is not on too high I can block it out but if I am sat in a kitchen with people cooking, washing posts, putting pots away or having washing machines whirring away with different cycles I can easily be distracted and in many cases made to jump out of my skin. That really makes me lose my train of thought.
If you are forced into working in the main family room where everyone gathers then it can be a nightmare of a place to work in. It also isn’t fair on them, they want to play, chat and basically live a normal life without worrying about disturbing you all of the time.
2) If noise is an issue invest in some inner ear plugs to take away the sting of any distracting sounds there are in the room. These can be picked up cheap from chemists; I have a set in my drawer just in case. I don’t use them often as I generally work with music on, in silence when the better half is out at work or with the T.V. on low which doesn’t really affect me too much
If you are like me and able to work with music on then bury your head in headphones listening to some mellow music like instrumental chill out which doesn’t need your mental focus. Radio is not good because of the continual chatter that many D.J.s do throughout their shows which simply draws your attention to what they are saying which can be very distracting.
3) If you do not have a private office and are having to work in a room used by many people then plan your time and tasks around what other people in your house are doing that week. I often need to create videos and so I plan to do them when the better half is out at work or at friends. Sometimes she will tell me that she is popping out to a friend’s one evening and I will take a note of that in my weekly planner and schedule to use that time for tasks that require a quiet room.
Because we work from home and for ourselves it doesn’t matter what time we get work done as long as it gets done. Doing a few hours in an evening when I am alone can often give me that freedom to not rush to my computer the next morning when I can enjoy a relaxing cuppa with the family. But remember, I plan that time and I get the work done. It must be done.
4) Have a daily, weekly and monthly planner to hand and plan what you need to get done and want done for each day of the week and the month ahead. As I said in the 3rd tip about planning tasks when people are out you can have those times and tasks written down so you know exactly when to do them.
Having a schedule means that when you sit down at your computer at the start of the day or when you begin your work you know exactly what you are doing and you are not sat trying to remember or figure out what it is you need to do. Trying to figure out what you need to do can soon rob you of a lot of time and that time will add up.
I also recommend that you schedule in music time or enjoyment time. Yes seriously!, if you cannot last the day without playing games, watching T.V. or listening to music then set time aside to enjoy some ‘you’ time and be strong, stick to that time!
I am terrible for distractions, I can soon lose time trawling YouTube for music and so I decided to schedule time for ‘play’ around simple tasks. Fortunately I can work listening to some music but some styles can take away my focus. Taking regular breaks is good for positivity anyway and clears the mind so if you are prone to distractions it just makes sense to schedule them into regular breaks.
We bizzebee’s have a collective schedule of when we publish posts and when to get projects done for. We also have a flexibility clause so that if one of us is struggling someone else can jump in to help out etc but we all follow a plan. We all write our own daily plans and schedules to include our monthly bizzebee plans and commitments. If we didn’t there would be chaos and believe me, we need it. It works well.
5) This one is often the most controversial tip as it could be taken the wrong way. It shouldn’t but sometimes people are sensitive to comments. When you work from home in the presence of your loved ones it is very easy for them to forget that you should be working.
When you work for a company whether it is in a factory, in a shop, in an office or on a building site you are expected to do a set period of time like 8 hours without a lot of family interaction and distraction. Many companies ask you to lock mobile phones away and maintain that you are only connected to the outside world via the receptionist at the front office.
When you are home and ‘about’ it is very easy for people to come chatting. There is nothing wrong with this and having a flexible approach to work is good, I mean after all we do work from home because we enjoy being at home but it can soon become a habit that robs you of productivity.
You could be in the middle of some deep focus and in the zone when in walks someone with ‘oh I forgot to say…’ so it has to be understood by your family that you are at work and you have work hours like you would if you were working for anyone else.
As I said earlier a certain amount of flexibility is great but if you worked for someone else you wouldn’t get so much contact and it is unfair and in many cases disrespectful for people to think that they can take your time up because you are at home.
If you have your own office then it isn’t so bad but people can still come in. All parties must need to understand and agree that you should be left to get on for a set amount of time with as little disturbance as possible.
At the end of the day, you are working from home so you must get the work done and to do that you need to be very disciplined and plan your tasks well if not you are just making it harder for yourself. If you are not disciplined working from home will not become the relaxed pleasurable experience you were looking for but instead could turn into a terrible financial nightmare of your own making.
To help you plan your working times and tasks please download our free bizzebee planners below, open up the PDFs and print them off so you have them close at hand.