How to Create a Great Work-from-Home

"Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of." - Benjamin Franklin

Those of you who know the joys of working from home, whether you’re self-employed or freelancing or telecommuting, know also the joys of procrastination and the lures of laying on the couch.

On the other hand, working from home tends to blur the boundaries between work and personal life — if you work too hard, you will have no personal life left. So how do we stay productive, and at the same time stay sane? Here are some tips:

  1. Define your spaces; separate work from home. Have a room dedicated to working. If you're lucky enough to have an extra room lying around, you can set that up as your home office. Otherwise, look at the spaces around your home to determine where it would be best to set up shop.
  2. Set regular hours, and stick to the schedule.
  3. Don’t stay unshaved in pajamas. Instead, have breakfast, have a shower, get dressed. Then make a list of sensible tasks for the day and get started.
  4. Close the door. If the door is open, that represents something to you, and to your family. To you, it represents the idea that if it’s a bit tough, or you don’t feel like working today, you don’t have to.
  5. Keep your desk and general work area tidy. A tidy workspace helps keep a tidy mind, which helps make your day more productive.
  6. Turn off the telephone when you need to work without distraction. 
  7. Don’t stop working if it’s a hard day. There’ll be times when you haven’t got any ideas, or just don’t feel productive. Train yourself to do some work anyway.
  8. Keep three lists of three. The first list has three things you will do today. The second is three things you’d like to get done, but aren’t essential. The third is three things that need to be done at some point. That way, when you’ve trogged through your days work.
  9. Start the day properly. Have a good breakfast, spend some time alone to just sit and do whatever. Relax, let your mind wander. Pray. Just make sure that your mind isn’t in the “I hate working” frame of mind.
  10. Have a good chair. Mesh backed ones, or good comfy leather perhaps. It’s worth spending some money on.

If your company has granted you permission to work virtually, congrats. You can get a surprising amount done without the distractions of the office. But now you've got your work cut out for you: you've got to first create an environment that will help you be productive and focused while you work. Follow the tips and do it!
Image courtesy of Ambro /

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