Staying Productive in a Home Office

We all face challenges throughout the work day. Some challenges are just … there, like a difficult boss. But other challenges, like an inefficient work space, can be evaluated and fixed. This post began as a “what you can do to stay productive in your home office” piece, but we quickly realized that many of the challenges faced in a home office are also encountered in the workplace.

1. Stay on-task, even when no one is watching. Whether you’re working in an office or in your home office, your boss shouldn’t be breathing down your neck throughout the day. It’s up to you to make sure you stay on task throughout the day and charge through your to-do list.

2. When your nose is to the grindstone, remind people around you that you’re on deadline, working on an important project, etc. Sometimes a gentle reminder is all it takes to get the peace and quiet you need in order to finish your to-do list.

3. Separate work life from personal life. In today’s world, it’s getting tougher and tougher to separate the two, especially with work issued Blackberries and iPhones. BUT it’s important to step away from the mobile devices and have a life outside of work.  When you’re working from home, that separation is even more difficult to achieve. Consider shutting down your computer at a specific time each day or moving your laptop into a different part of the house to signify personal computing time.

4. Take a lunch hour – you deserve it.  So many times, when the day gets busy, we fail to break for lunch. When we skip lunch, we’re not being fair to our jobs or ourselves. And, for those who work from home, taking a traditional lunch hour is even tougher. Again, schedule lunches away from your desk and stay consistent with your midday break. They’ll make a difference in your productivity and creativity. Promise.

5. Keep in touch with colleagues, peers, networkers. Don’t wait until you’ve been laid off to start networking. Continuously build your address book and keep notes on those you meet. So Pat has a Chihuahua named Lloyd? Put it in the notes section of your address book. Next time you hang out with Pat, you’ll be reminded to ask about Lloyd and she’ll be charmed you remembered her fur kid’s name.