In my last post I asked my readers for tips to help me be more productive as an at home worker. They responded with a boatload of tips–thanks all! I also did quite a bit of online surfing and reading to see what I could turn up. I found some great stuff.
So, I thought it’d be a good idea to summarize what I’ve learned in the last few days.
h3. Tips for working from home
* Start out with something easy, fun or interesting. This helps you build momentum throughout the day.
* Stick to a schedule. Treat your days like a “regular” work day. Many people have found that a 9-5 or 10-6 schedule really helps keep them on track and productive.
* Separate your “work” area from your “living” area. This includes your phone and computer. If you’re a gamer, you should use a separate computer, or maybe a separate alias. Or hit up the Xbox like me!
* Get out and about as often as you can. Take a walk, go outside, meet people for lunch–that kind of thing.
* Work on networking. Since you probably don’t have coworkers, it’s good to get to know people who are doing the same things as you so you can socialize a bit, etc.
* Reward yourself when you’ve done something significant.
* Get dressed everyday. Don’t wear pajamas all day. It’ll make you feel less work-like.
* Set, and stick to, deadlines. Even when you don’t need them.
* Take breaks. Get away from the computer and don’t work through lunch. I’ve noticed this can be hard already. I’m beginning to force myself up and about every hour or so.
* Keep your weekends. Working from home shouldn’t change the work/life balance you’ve got. Well, unless it lets you do more “life”! ;0)
* Limit distractions. Keep your work area clear from things that might get you off track. Guess I need to move the PSP…
* Have a plan and goals for what you want to accomplish each week.
* Request feedback from clients and other folks you work with on a regular basis. This can help you identify shortcomings and keep you motivated to keep improving your skills, etc.
One thing I noticed is that using a system like David Allen’s Getting Things Done really prepares you to be productive in many situations, including working from home. For me, I’ve gotten so much accomplished this week–my first week working from home–it’s amazing. AND I’ve had more free time. I don’t think I’d have done half as much had I not had my systems in place and been able to adapt them.
Thanks again to everyone who sent me tips and who commented with their own lessons learned. While not all of it is helpful to me now, I expect that at some point I’ll be referring back to this post for guidance.