Simple little tricks to stay productive and maintain balance

Working from home and setting your own hours means that your level of success is more dependent on your personal discipline and self-mastery. As much as we enjoy the autonomy, it can be a real challenge to reach your full potential without the external pressures of the office. Here are a few tips to maintain your independence, work when it’s time to work, and maintain your independence at home.

1. Carefully define your workday

Too many WAHMs never really clock in or clock out—which means they’re not fully invested in their work, but they also can’t escape the job at the end of the day. Create a habit that neatly partitions your work day and your off hours. If it helps, make plans with family or friends to occupy your evenings. If you stick with it, you’ll find that your work hours are more productive (because they have to be).

2. Change your scenery

Particularly if you’re in a creative line of work, staying chained to a desktop in one room of your house can make your work slow to a crawl. Every so often, move to a different room, or get things done at the park. If you use a tablet computer, you’ll be surprised what you can accomplish in the waiting room of the doctor’s office or riding public transit. A new environment will energize your mind, but it’ll also help you focus by separating you from the usual distractions.

3. Take ten minutes for planning every day

If you’re able to stick to a plan a week out, it’s an excellent idea—but if that doesn’t work for you, don’t give up. Instead, have a morning planning session before you begin each workday. Decide when you’ll have lunch, what your daily work goals are, and how long it will take to accomplish each one. Make your goals as small, specific, and quantifiable as possible, to minimize long periods of asking yourself “what next?”—because each of those moments is a temptation to slack.

4. Manage distractions

This is important: don’t try to push other things out while you work. First, it won’t work; and second, it’s not healthy for you or your family. Instead, cut your time into reasonable periods of work (30 or 40 minutes works for me), and then give your mind something else to do for 5 or 10 minutes. You’ll be able to come back to work clearer and happier.

5. Define your workspace

This can make a huge difference in your peace of mind; designate a certain part of your home as a workspace, and avoid it when you’re not working. The majority of your house should be for family time and relaxation.  Never work in bed. You’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to “come home from work” when your workspace is a place you can clearly leave at the end of the day.

Patricia Shuler is a writer from Oakland, California. She’s an admitted tech-junkie who’s quick to share her honest opinion on all things consumer electronic—including up-to-date news, user reviews, and “no holds barred” opinions on a variety of social media, tech, computer, and mobile accessories topics.

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