Working from home provides a variety of benefits over a traditional office job. From escaping stressful commutes to eliminating expensive wardrobe requirements, the perks of work-at-home positions are hard to beat. Like all things, however, home-based income opportunities can have their downside, the most common of which is falling into a funk and losing productivity. Use these five tips today to perk things back up:
1) Set a Schedule…and Stick to It
Perhaps the most alluring benefit of working from home is the ability to set your own schedule. This can also be the biggest drawback if you aren’t careful. Setting your own hours gives you a certain amount of flexibility, but taking too much advantage of this fact can become a trap that robs you of your time and sanity. Knowing what your work hours are every day will help you to get into and out of work mode more readily.
Figure out which hours of the day you need to have open for personal use, and then set up a work schedule around that. If that means dividing your working hours into two or three blocks, then, by all means, divide. The key is to determine what will work most of the time, and then stick to that on a consistent basis. There may be times that you need to adjust your hours, but make that a rare exception, not a habit.
2) Get Dressed
Yes, working in your pajamas is a nice perk of at-home employment, and it’s one that you certainly should enjoy from time to time. However, staying in your PJs ’round the clock for days on end is neither healthy, sanitary, nor prudent for productivity. If you have a habit of not dressing for work, then chances are good that you also have a habit of mindlessly surfing the internet while you’re supposed to be working.
The simple act of dressing for the day effectively tells your brain that it’s time to gear up and get busy. You don’t have to don full-on business attire, but do try to put on something that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to wear to an office. You’d be surprised how quickly this one simple act can take you from being completely uninspired to ready to take care of business.
3) Change the Scenery
While it is vitally important to set up a home office to do most of your work, sometimes the daily grind can just get to be too much. The beauty of working from home, though, is that you can switch things up fairly easily, and you don’t have to ask anyone’s permission to do it.
When you find you’re just not producing like you should be, trying changing locations for a while. Take your laptop to a different room, or set up a temporary outdoor office if the weather is nice. If you’re really bogged down, try moving your operation to a local park or coffee bar. A simple change of scenery can be incredibly refreshing and might be all you need to come out of your funk.
No, don’t quit your job altogether. Do, however, quit working each day. Many people who work from home find themselves seemingly unable to ever get away from it. While traditional jobs have a quitting time and subsequent commute home, ending an at-home workday can be surprisingly tricky. Unless you have a firmly set boundary, you may find yourself in a funk so deep that almost nothing can get you out of it.
As important as it is to actually work during your scheduled hours, it is equally important to stop working when it’s time. Working late occasionally is fine when it is necessary, but don’t just keep working indefinitely because you’re there and you can. Differentiate clearly between your work life and your personal life; failure to do so will result in your not enjoying either.
5) Take Some Time Off
When all else fails, schedule a vacation for yourself. This can be particularly tricky if you are self-employed since you don’t exactly have any paid vacation time stored up. Even so, never taking a vacation is not in your best interest. Everyone needs a little downtime every now and then. Be mindful of that fact and plan ahead.
Try to create a paid vacation/sick-day fund for yourself. This is not the same as a vacation fund to plan a trip; it is specifically and exclusively to cover your living expenses in the event that you need to take one or more days off. Figure out what you average making per day, and then set aside a portion of your income until you have enough stashed to cover 5-10 days. By doing so, you can take some time off when you need to without worrying about the money not coming in.Even with the occasional funk that comes with working at home, there’s not much that can beat the freedom that you gain. Use one or more of these tips when you feel yourself sliding into the doldrums, and you’ll find yourself falling in love with your employment situation all over again.