4 proven ways to boost your productivity from your home office

After working from a home office for most of the past fifteen years, it would be extremely hard for me to go back to a traditional office environment. But it wasn’t always that way. For the uninitiated, a home office can be full of distractions. It can also make it hard to turn it on/off and set boundaries between your work and personal life.

I’ve learned through trial and error how to maximize the productivity of my home office. Here are four tried-and-true lessons I’ve learned: Continue reading “4 proven ways to boost your productivity from your home office”

How to Create a Productive Home Work Space

home office productivity

Not everyone has the option to work from home. But if you’re an entrepreneur or work remotely, you are able to every once in awhile or all the time. Many people envy those who work from home. They’re able to set their own hours and create their own work environment. It’s true that working from home allows you much flexibility but it can also be more challenging at the same time.

Creating the right work environment conducive to maximum productivity can be challenging. Since you’re not in an office setting, there aren’t any rules. You make your own. You have to create your own structure – and it starts with your workspace. Many people don’t realize the importance of creating the right workspace. If you’re working in a pile a clutter, you probably won’t be able to focus or get much done.

If you want to create the perfect workspace in your home office, consider these tips:

Find the right chair.

Surprisingly, the one thing that can make or break your work environment (literally) is your chair. Since you sit in your chair all day long, you want to make sure you find the right one. Otherwise, you can be faced with uncomfortable back pain that can even lead to longer term problems. Find a chair that gives your back and body enough support. You want to feel like you’re sitting on a cloud, not a rock. You may also want to consider the health benefits of a standing desk.

Isolate yourself from the rest of the house.

The most common issue people have when working from home is being distracted. It can be tough to find a space all your own in your home but even if it’s just a corner, try to isolate yourself when working. If you have kids or roommates around when you are working, it’s hard to really focus when there are other things going on around you.

Keep your desk clear.

Things, not only people, can cause distractions too. Our desk can become overrun with papers, files, and random knick knacks. If we try to look for something, it takes twice as long and you end up wasting time. Make it a priority to keep your desk organized at all times. Keep only the things you need and put away the rest.

Differentiate workspace from personal space.

Whenever possible, try to differentiate your workspace from your personal space. For instance, it’s not always the best idea to set up your desk in your bedroom, since you can get easily distracted and want to take a nap. Your home office is still an office and separating yourself from your own personal space will help you keep your productivity up.

Set the ground rules.

Lastly, be sure to set some ground rules – for both yourself and those living in your home. The hardest part of working from home is the distractions. Limit those as much as possible.

Why Entrepreneurs Should Get Office Space and Quit Working from Home

working from home

I’ve come to the conclusion that there are two types of entrepreneurs: Those who shouldn’t work from home  … and those who shouldn’t work from home.

This epiphany has only dawned on me recently — after seven years of working from my home office and working with business partners and colleagues who do the same.

I’ve known people who simply couldn’t concentrate or focus or discipline themselves to do the work when they were at their house.  And, until recently, I thought those were the only types of people who shouldn’t work from home.

So why the change of heart?

For the past seven years, I’ve had a sweet home office set up:  An office on it’s own floor with its own bathroom, a couch and doors that close me off from the screaming kids temptations of goofing-off on the first floor.

Now, however, we are in the process of moving to Charleston, SC, where I have separate office space about 25 minutes from our home.  I thought it would be a culture shock to have to drive to an actual office each day — but the truth is that I absolutely love it.

Why? Simple: I’ve come to the realization that I’m the type of person who has trouble “turning off the work” when my office and home-life are so closely mixed.

Even though I’ve thought, for all these years, that my office was separate enough from the living space of our home — the truth is that my mind conditioned me to feel like I was waking up in my office, eating dinner at the office, and sleeping at my office.

Over the past year, I’ve developed a productivity schedule in which I don’t check email until 10 am., and hammer our 2-3 priority to-dos between 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. — but I would still feel enormously anxious that I wasn’t checking my email or writing memos when I woke up at 7 a.m.

However, when we’re in Charleston, I wake up with no temptation to check my email.  I focus on my family, eating breakfast with them and engaging in my morning ritual of working out on the beach.

My mind is conditioned that work starts when I arrive at my office at 9 a.m., and so it takes away the anxiety that comes from rolling out of bed into my workplace. Rather than try to get ahead of work in the morning, I schedule my work for when I”m physically in my office.

This also helps me to “turn off the switch” when I come home from the office.

I’ve found out that I’m not alone. Since I’ve had this epiphany, I’ve spoken with several other colleagues who feel exactly the same way.  They find it hard to turn it “on and off” when working from home; too easy to give into the temptation of running up to the office to check a few emails after dinner; drinking their morning coffee at their desk while they plow through emails.

Hence, my new belief that people either shouldn’t work from home because they can’t focus and get work done — and those who shouldn’t work from home because they try to get too much work done.

I’m sure there are probably some folks out there who are able to find that middle ground and make it work (or at least they think they’re making it work).

I thought I was one of those people.  But seeing the how the other half lives has made me realize that working from home seems great, but it’s actually more stressful than having a separate office.