Working from home and/or for yourself certainly has its perks, but it can also be a struggle to keep yourself focused and organised. If that sounds familiar, we’ve ten top tips to help keep you on track:
1. Make lists. A to do list is like a readymade action plan – and there’s no better feeling than crossing things off!
2. Prioritise. If your list is a long one, break it up into smaller chunks and deal with the important stuff first.
3. Have a dedicated work place. Whether you’re lucky enough to have a home office, or just a desk in a corner, make it your work space – and only work when you are there. Doing ‘bits and pieces’ here there and everywhere is an easy trap to fall into – set a dedicated work space and stick to it!
4. Set your work hours. Again, that ‘just a quick five minute job’ trap is everywhere – don’t fall for it! You’ll manage your time much more effectively if you set yourself predetermined working hours.
5. Take a break! We’re not designed to work non-stop for long periods of time, and your brain actually works better after a short breather, so be sure to break your working hours into small chunks with time for a cuppa, or a quick breath of fresh air in between.
6. Delegate. If you’re running yourself ragged managing conference calls and school runs, enlist some help to ease the strain. See if a friend can do an odd pick up, perhaps you can come up with a rota to help one another out?
7. Find a calendar system that works for you. Deadlines are inevitable, stressing about them isn’t! Whether you use an online planner, a smartphone app, or just a good old paper diary, have one central place to keep track of what needs to be done and when by.
8. Communicate. With your partner, your kids, your friends... Sometimes, working from home can be very lonely – the chit-chat of a busy office helps the day go by, so make your own – pick up the phone and speak to a friend who works from home too, or just call your other half to say hello. A little human interaction can go a long way to increase your productivity levels!
9. Get out! In the same line as talking to people – sometimes staring at the same four walls all day can totally stunt your productivity, so a change of scenery can do the world of good! Think you’re too busy? Take your tablet to a local coffee shop and answer emails while you indulge in a latte!
10. Switch off. When the working day is done, it’s done. Don’t even think about what needs to be done the next day – it will still be there in the morning and giving yourself time to chill out and relax will make you much more ready and prepared to deal with it!
What are your own top tips for staying on track?