Tips To Make Your Home Office Productive and Efficient

Do you work out of your home? I’ve done it for years.

And while working from home sounds like a dream position to many people, it does have its challenges. Its easy to make work your number one priority, working all day and night long. And its just as easy to run of doing a million other things – everything except your work.

Here are a few tips to create a work environment that helps you get more done.

1. Separate your office from your main living space

Whether it’s a plush office, an extra bedroom, a room in the basement, or even a small desk in the corner of your kitchen, its important to set up an environment that you consider your office.

A few months ago we downsized into a condo. Which meant we no longer have our big office with the window overlooking our gardens. In our condo, we have a main area with a living room, dining room, kitchen condo, and two master suites. So we’ve both carved out our little niches within the dining/living areas, and you’ll find us in the same place most days. We also put up a large wall unit and filled it with boxes (yep, I love Ikea). Now we each have several boxes we can keep client files, office supplies and even “to-do” boxes filled with things we work on every day. At the end of the day, everything goes into a box, keeping our home looking like a home. (If you need some office ideas, head over to Pinterest. You’ll find amazing ideas to help organize everything within your office and home.)

However you choose to do it, make sure you separate the two and keep that in mind every day as you “check in” to your office.

2. Set up a family schedule and a privacy policy

With the computer always sitting near by, its easy to be at work all the time. In order to avoid that situation, establish a family schedule that works for you. Make sure you go over your ideas with every member of the family, and stick to your schedule when family members try and “sneak” in to your work day. If they knock on the door, you can listen and respond. Yet make sure you always include a message like “this is my office time, can I help you?” A lot of it comes down to habit. Your family will quickly learn it and respect your time.

3. What activities can be done outside of the home

Working from home can be fun. Until you discover that you are spending seven days a week within the same area. Stir crazy doesn’t even begin to describe how you’ll feel.

In order to avoid this feeling, take a look at what you do during the week. While somethings may be easier to do from home, if you have a laptop, you can probably work just about anywhere.

I like to have an “out” day where I head to a café or coffee shop and work in an entirely new environment. You can meet clients there, but its not a necessity. Just working in a new environment will help clear your mind and give you a new perspective.

And if you want to advertise your business while you work, Give Gelaskins a try. You can customize a cover for just about any type of technology, from your phone, to your tablet and laptop. If you work at the same locations again and again, you can even begin developing networking relationships with the other home office workers who are also spending the day at the coffee shop.

4. Maximize inspiration and minimize distractions

I write all day long, so I could never have on my favorite pop radio station. I would sing too much!

But I also can’t handle the quiet. So I turn on a variety of jazz stations on my Pandora account and listen to music all day long. It works for me.

What works for you? Do you need the quiet? Can you listen to your favorite music – it might be perfect while editing a shoot.

The idea is to give you a peaceful environment, one that can inspire you to do more.

Don’t listen to talk radio or turn on the television. Talk moves your mind into the wrong direction, not giving you the space you need to create new ideas.

Also separate your mind into two areas: work and home life. If you are constantly running for the laundry or something baking in the kitchen, you won’t get the most out of your work time.

And use your caller ID. If its your best friend calling for weekend plans or your Mom calling to share the local gossip, let it go to voicemail. Stick with your privacy policy no matter what.

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