When you own your own business, or otherwise work from home, it is sometimes difficult to stay on task. There’s always something in the house to do, someone to feed or a television to watch. I am certainly good at procrastination and distraction. You can just look at my blog title (Flighty and Creative) and know that. But I have some tricks that help me concentrate and focus on my list of tasks.
Work from home tips to improve focus
We have owned a business for almost ten years, but were working at other jobs until about six years ago. Now we run our businesses (there are now three) from home as well as attend graduate school full time, and take care of our menagerie of crazy animals.
Get ready for work.
Get up in the morning and get ready like you’re going to work. This is actually one I don’t always follow, but I get a lot more done when I do. You don’t have to dress up, but at least look presentable. It helps put you in the right mindset for work. Plus, if you do have to go somewhere unexpectedly, you’re ready and don’t have to get ready to go.
Set small goals for each day.
Make a list of things you need to accomplish the next day, and then check them off as you complete them. When there are a million things to do, it’s easier to remember the most important or urgent ones you must do first. It also breaks up the overwhelmingly large list into small bite-sized pieces.
I’ve found that if I leave the television off in the morning, it doesn’t distract me at all. But if I turn it on in the morning, forget the day. Something will distract me and I’ll sit down for just a few minutes (which never only lasts a few minutes). But the television is not the only distraction.
I don’t have kids, so I can’t tell you how to minimize that particular distraction. However, I do have a husband who likes to pop in and say, “Hey do you want to go to (insert fun work-avoiding place here) with me right quick?” Again, right quick is never right quick. It’s a day wasted. I also have three dogs and two cats who seem to want to go out and come back in or be fed right when I am on a roll or knee deep in a project. I try to let them out or feed them and get them settled before I start a task.
Music helps me concentrate.
This may not work for everyone, but if I put my headphones in and listen to music, I tend to zone out from the rest of the world and am completely focused on what I’m working on. For some reason it doesn’t work to turn on the stereo. It only works with headphones. I guess I’m weird like that.
Schedule time for work and for fun.
Set a time that you will go to work, and one that work will end. Schedule time to do things with your family. When you work from home it’s tempting to just keep working past normal working hours, especially when you own your own business. There’s always so much to do, and you may be the only one who will do it. But you can’t do it all without taking some time for yourself and scheduling some time for your family. You won’t be good to you, to the family or to the business.
Contact me with your favorite work from home tips or just leave them in the comments.
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