Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Evita of Evolving Beings. In our first part of this series we considered the benefits of allowing employees to work from home and in the second part we talked about how to optimize a tele-commuting situation. Today we follow up with 7 Tips to Survive and Thrive When Working from a Home Office.
Working from a home office, especially for yourself can either be looked upon as a big blessing or big curse. Which it will be completely depends on how successfully you set up your home environment, as well as yourself in it.
(Karl’s note: Below is 5 minute video of Evita giving a detailed tour of her home office and how the layout affects her work.)
I have personally been working for myself, and in my own home office for just over 9 months now. In those 9 months, I have definitely seen what works and what doesn’t, as well as shared stories with other people in similar situations.
Many people fear that working from home may make them lazy. However, if you love what you do, the opposite is more likely to happen. Working from home, may actually make you work more and harder.
Thus in this article, let’s consider how to not just survive, but also thrive in a home office. We will first look at the best potential set-up, and secondly at some practical tips to apply to make the most out of your work at home environment.
1. Your Environment
To begin with, you need to make sure that you can actually have a place for a proper home office. Your spouse and/or kids may be home at the same time as you, and so you need to make sure that you have your own space, which others in the home respect as your working environment. Some people use a spare bedroom, some a part of the basement, and others yet may have a designated study from which to work.
Anyone who is at home with you, as well as other family and friends need to also respect that there are certain hours during which you work, just as you would in a typical workplace, during which you should not be disturbed.
Once you have the right spot, having the right furniture and accessories is next. The most important investment in your home office should be your chair and the technology you need.
2. Your Work Chair
A proper chair is crucial when working in any “desk” type of environment. A high quality chair, should have proper arm rests, upper and lower back support. It should also not be too high off the ground, so that both feet can be firmly planted on the floor when sitting in it.
Make sure your work space is clean and not cluttered. Some studies claim that cluttered desks spark creativity, however most people know that clutter makes us anything but creative. Therefore I normally advise people to simplify their work space. Clean work spaces give us space, and a feeling of lightness, not messy piles of stuff reminding us of how much we have to get done or take care of.
And on that note, let’s move into the practical side of things – organize, organize, organize!
I cannot emphasize this enough. This is not only valuable for your physical work environment, but also for your mental state as well.
Whether you use, alarm clocks, phones, your computer or plain old paper agenda books, organize your time. This means you should have a general start time (you do not need to wake up to an alarm clock necessarily), scheduled breaks, and general end time. Keeping track of course of what a client or customer expects and when is also a key to success.
Some people do really well in working 12 hours one day and only say 5 hours the next day. Everyone is different, and in truth most people need a few weeks to figure out what really works well for them, especially when working for oneself.
5. Motivation and Inspiration
I have personally found that if you love and even like what you do, getting to things and getting them done will normally not be an issue.
However, there will be days, and you have to expect these, or perhaps moments throughout the day where your mind may wonder, or you just plain and simple won’t feel like doing a thing.
In such cases you have two options. One is to just let it be and take a break for that moment or even day. As long as you don’t have any deadlines, this should work just fine and can actually be very beneficial for your mind.
The second option is to have something that motivates or inspires you. Perhaps you have a book of motivational quotes, perhaps an audio series from someone like Tony Robbins that you can listen to for a half hour or so. Perhaps you can talk to a spouse or friend, who you know and trust to be a good source of inspiration/motivation for you. Whatever you do, take action. If your body or mind need a 15 minute brisk walk to feel better, so be it. If you have several things to do, neither of which are more important than another generally speaking, choose the one that you will enjoy most. This will normally get you back into the swing of things, and you will be back in your flow before you know it.
Finally, there is one other thing that you need to take seriously when working from a home office: focus. This two sided aspect can become your best friend or worst nightmare.
Some people get too focused working in a home environment, where they actually neglect proper eating, drinking and movement. The solution for this is simple: organize some alerts using your favorite technology to alert you at well spaced time intervals and follow through of course when the alerts come.
Other people may find themselves on the opposite end, where they lack focus and distractions seem to be everywhere. Minimizing distractions and following through with some self-discipline are key here. Useful tips include: make sure your television is off while working, pick instrumental music over music with lyrics or from radio stations, close all social media and have set times for when it is okay to use those. Even making sure that your email is not on any alerts could be important (unless your job depends on emails) as many of us quickly lose our focus just to check our inbox numerous times a day.
7. Adjusting and Patience
In the end, working from a home office does take some getting used to and everyone will carve our their preferences for what works best for them over a few days, weeks or even in some cases months. So be patient with yourself, but at the same time be conscious that you are improving your efficiency and are satisfied with your results.
In some cases, you must also respect that if you tried everything, and nothing seems to work for you, it is most likely that you are performing tasks or are in a field where you should not be. Find work that you love, and you will truly never feel like you worked a day in your life.
What do you do to thrive in your home office?
Want to catch up on Part 1 and 2 of the series?
Evita Ochel, B.Sc., B.Ed., CHN – is the main author of EvolvingBeings.com where she writes about spiritual and personal development. She hopes to inspire people, to truly live out the life of their dreams and awaken the highest version of themselves. She is also the main author of EvolvingWellness.com where she writes about nutritional science and holistic health for optimal health and longevity. Learn more about Evita Ochel or Follow Evita Ochel on Twitter.
* It’s Spread-the-Love Day, when I encourage you to spread the word about Work Happy Now. You might:
> Forward the link to someone you think would be interested
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Thanks! I really appreciate any help. Word of mouth is the BEST.
* Derek of Social Triggers wrote a interesting post called 3 More Ways to Increase Customer Satisfaction. Very much worth your time if you are a small business owner.
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