5 Tips for Home Office Productivity

productivity 2I recently read a great post, 14 Things I DON’T Miss From my Day Job, which made me start thinking about how much I enjoy working out of my home office. However, 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. And, you really need to instill some strong work habits to maintain productivity and reduce procrastination.

So how to stay productive and sane at the same time?  Here are a few tips to get (keep) you on the right track:

1. Define your work space.  Set aside some space, preferably a room (it doesn’t have to be big) to be your workspace. Thathome office way, when you enter it, your state of mind changes from home to work. You can set up your tools such as your laptop, desktop or computer equipped with hp p1102 toner.

2. Make yourself sit at your desk for the allotted time – There will be times when you haven’t got any ideas, or just don’t feel productive. Train yourself to do some work anyway. Often, the ideas will start and juices will flow. Have your list of tasks for the day and just jump in – usually getting started is the hardest part!

3. Use your flexiblity to your advantage. If possible, schedule around your natural energy level.  For instance, some people peak in the morning, while others hit their stride late in the afternoon. Utilize your peak times to capitalize on your prime work hours.  I do some of my best blog drafting at 6 am as the coffee is brewing.  Also, use your flexibility to your advantage. Break up your workday with exercise or coffee networking.

4. Set boundaries for those around you. Schedule your work time and make sure your spouse, friends, neighbors, or kids know that you are unavailable for chatting, playing, chores, etc. during this time.

5. Keep a notepad (old school style) or phone handy. Record ideas for blog posts, projects, anything that springs to mind.  I keep a running list of ideas in an email to myself  in my drafts folder. Pin your ideas on a bulletin board or remind yourself on your phone twice a week to see your ideas with fresh eyes. Some of the best work you’ll ever do will come from random bits of inspiration.

Most importantly, be grateful you are able to work from home and not in an office cubicle. That gratitude will do wonders for your motivation! What are some of your best tips for productivity in a home office?

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  1. Rani on August 22, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    Now that my kids are teenagers, I find I get a lot done while they do their homework in the evening. It’s quiet and I’m not interrupted!

  2. Mickey on August 22, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    I have a ton of digital tools to organize myself, but I keep a small legal pad right in front of me and use it more than any of them.

    That said, flexibility is certainly the key. Being able to work early, take time out to pick up the girls from school, then work late in the evening is a nice choice to be able to have sometimes.

    • Natalie Epperson (@NatalieEpperson) on August 22, 2013 at 8:44 pm

      I feel better about my spiral bound notebook, if my techie friend is still using a legal pad! You are right, the work flexibility is a great way to enjoy your girls while maintaining a career. Thanks Mickey!

  3. Emory Rowland (@emoryrowland) on August 22, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    “Most importantly, be grateful you are able to work from home and not in an office cubicle”

    That sentence made my day. Being able to work from home is a privilege. I agree with all those points, especially number 5. However, I think my coffee maker brews a little later in the morning than yours 🙂

    Thanks for mentioning my day job post!

  4. Ali Green on August 22, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    I thoroughly enjoy having my own space where I can be focused and productive. When designing I often benefit from having uninterrupted time, and a home office is curtail to finding that focus!

  5. chantelle on August 23, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Before I started working from home I had this “brilliant” idea that I would work whenever I wanted since I’m more of a night owl than a morning person. Luckily, I never started that schedule. I set my alarm every day and make sure I’m at my desk ready for whatever comes in during normal business hours for the most part. I’ve found having my “set” schedule makes me much more productive than I would have been if I had gone through with my loose business hours I once daydreamed about from my previous office job.

    • Natalie Epperson (@NatalieEpperson) on August 23, 2013 at 9:33 am

      Great point Chantelle. While it is nice to have the flexibility to schedule a doctor’s appointment or school conference, our clients need us during regular hours too. It is also much more productive to keep the discipline of regular hours when possible. Just not always in business attire! Thank you so much for your comment. PS- I liked the green too- wish it was my actual office 🙂

  6. successnotsabotage on August 24, 2013 at 8:40 am

    Natalie, love this and the part about boundaries. I find communicating with teenagers at home what it means when door is closed is helpful. (Unless house is burning down, don’t disturb). You really do have to treat your home space like an office or it will stay at hobby. Thanks for the reminders!

    • natalie on August 28, 2013 at 12:39 pm

      I agree about boundaries and I think you are also teaching a healthy respect for your job and yourself with your teens as well. Thanks so much Becky!

  7. Carol Amato on August 29, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    Hi Natalie,

    Great article! I do agree that the boundaries can be easily blurred…

    I thoroughly enjoy working from home and previously needed quiet in order to be productive.

    Ever since I found http://coffitivity.com/ and keep it on low in the background, I can seem to get a lot more done even when my house is noisy…

    Thanks for the inspiration – have lots of ideas for other things now. 🙂

    – Carol Amato

    • natalie on August 30, 2013 at 10:11 am

      Thanks for your tip Carol – I just clicked through and love the idea of coffee shop sounds! Thanks for your comment and link 🙂

  8. Tim Villegas (@think_inclusive) on September 8, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    I have always been better at writing things down on a notepad as opposed to trying to type everything in a document or other notekeeping app. Of course…I have been known to lose my paper notebooks so that does not always help me in the end. Thanks for the post.

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