The number of employees working remotely is steadily increasing. For entrepreneurs who are trying to get a new business off the ground, usually home is the only place to work. But staying focused and avoiding distractions can be challenging, especially for people who don’t have much if any experience working from home.
Many people find once they settle into a rhythm, they are even more productive at home than they ever were in an office. To help you find your rhythm and stay focused on growing your business, here are a few tips entrepreneurs can use to work successfully from home.
1. Structure Your Workday
Entrepreneur recommends structuring your workday around the hours you are most productive. If you focus best in the morning, plan to knock out the more challenging tasks right when you wake up and save other stuff, like email, until later in the day. Conversely, if you are more of a night owl, plan to work on more challenging tasks in the evening.
However you decided to customize your structure, make sure it is one you can stick with. Those with children and spouses may find it impossible to work after 6 p.m., while singletons who spend a lot of nights out socializing might not be up and ready to work hard with the sunrise.
2. Keep Regular Hours
This piggy backs on a structured workday. When you are starting a new business, even if you are working out of your home, it is essential to keep regular hours, whether that is 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. or 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. This will help you stay focused, leave the “office” so you can relax and recharge the same as you would if you were leaving an office that was not in your home, and when you are working with clients or setting meetings, it gives you a framework to work within.
3. Have a Designated Work Area
Starting a business out of your home is challenging, there is no doubt about it. It is also crucial to stay organized as an entrepreneur and business owner. One of the easiest ways to do this is to have a designated workspace in your home. It does not need to be a separate office as that may not be realistic for everyone. It just has to be functional. You can put a desk up in any nook or cranny you have or you might find the kitchen table is the best work space if you don’t use it to eat. Wherever this space is, make it your own and decorate it with the things that inspire you.
4. Find a Partner Who Supports You
If you’re already in a committed relationship, hopefully it is with a partner who fully supports your vision and goals. If you are single, however, remember that the best partner for you will be someone who supports you through and through and understands your needs and wants as an entrepreneur but also as a partner. When it comes to working from home, this means someone who will not see that as a chance to spend more time with you.
Instead, he or she needs to understand that although you may be home, between certain hours you are 100 percent committed to working and growing your new business. It is also important for your partner to understand that just because you are home, does not mean you have extra time to do stuff like clean up the house or run errands.
5. Take Breaks to Interact With Others
It may surprise you to find that you take fewer breaks once you start working from home. When you are putting together a daily schedule for yourself, don’t forget to include breaks to get up, stretch, take a walk, eat lunch, etc. One of the perks of working from home is the flexibility you do have with your schedule. Use that to your advantage.
If you are hung up on an aspect of a project, go for a walk or hit the gym for a quick sweat session. If you feel like you have not been out of the house in a few days (and that will happen when you are starting a business from home), grab a bite to eat with a friend. Working from home you will lose the in-person interaction of working in an office, so make sure you get out from time to time, even if it’s just at the coffee shop around the corner.
6. Hang a “Do Not Disturb” Sign
Not literally. However, one problem people working from home often encounter is more interruptions from friends and family who think that because someone works from home they are automatically more available. Let those closest to you know that while you are in fact at home, it does not mean you are available all day every day to discuss who won last night’s football game or the latest episode of “The Bachelor.”
7. Make “To-Do” Lists
Even with an organized workspace, a structured daily schedule, and limited distractions, you might still find yourself overwhelmed with what you need to do and plagued by procrastination. Making a daily to-do list, prioritized by must-dos first, will help you get beat procrastination and stay focused on what you absolutely have to get done each day.