Work-from-home gigs have surged in popularity over the last 15 years, and currently more than 13 million Americans work at home at least once a week. Many people dream of skipping the daily commute and working in yoga pants, but an at-home job isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. There are numerous perks associated with setting up a makeshift office on your couch or at the local coffee shop, but you can’t enjoy these benefits unless you remain focused and productive.
Whether you’re applying for transcription jobs or bidding on graphic design projects, the tips below will help you master the art of working from home.
It’s difficult to finish a project if you don’t have a specific workspace. Your brain associates your work area with work, which makes it easier for you to get things done when you finally sit down at the computer. Limit your work area to actual work, even if you’re tempted to snack on potato chips or flip through magazines at your desk.
If you usually work at a library or restaurant, try sitting at the same table each time. Alternately, you can switch seats but set up your portable office in the same configuration every time.
You don’t have to work a traditional 8-to-5 shift (unless you want to), but sticking to some sort of schedule helps you meet deadlines and prevent burnout. Without a schedule, you may feel as if you work 24/7, yet never accomplish anything. That’s not a fun spot to be in, so be kind to yourself and set specific working hours.
You do not have to plan your schedule in advance, especially if you do a lot of freelance work or transcription jobs. Just make sure that you commit to a specific timeframe for your tasks, even if that schedule changes daily.
Distractions come in all forms, from the unexpected karaoke contest next door to the family members who can’t grasp that you have an actual career. You may also find that social networking sites and television shows are a major distraction during your workday.
Invest in some ear plugs, and consider using an app or browser extension that blocks fun websites during your scheduled shifts. Let friends and family know that you are only available to chat, babysit or play taxi driver after you finish working – and stick to your word.
Working from home is an excellent way to provide for your family as long as you minimize distractions and stay focused, but some at-home workers get off to a rocky start. Experiment with the aforementioned tips until you establish a routine that works well for you.