Tips for Working in Your Home Office

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” ~ Paul J. Meyer

To become an entrepreneur: Be present. Be focused. Be very kind to yourself. And do whatever it takes.

To successfully work at home, and to become an entrepreneur, you may need to acquire some new habits or new ways of thinking. You may need to start new daily rituals to improve qualities like self-discipline, willpower, focus, and persistence. And new mind-sets such as working in a home office instead of a corporate office, and shifting from an employee  mind-set to an entrepreneur. Remember, you can acquire any skill, improve any quality, and introduce a new ritual to change your habits. If something is not working right for you, it just means you are missing a key piece of knowledge. It doesn’t matter what IT is; you can learn it. We are all leaders. Even if we don’t believe we are, perhaps a shift in our mind-set is needed.  Maybe we haven’t found our thing…our joy. Once we do what’s in our heart, we will be able to lead in that field. Okay, so this is a little bit deeper than some simple tips for working in your home office…

First, it is helpful to understand the meaning behind these special qualities and character traits, and online dictionary resources and blog sources are great references.  There’s so much great content out there, and you’ll find a couple of bonus urls to some more fabulous resources.

Self-Discipline
Wiki – Self-discipline can be defined as the ability to motivate oneself in spite of a negative emotional state. Qualities associated with self-discipline include willpower, hard work, and persistence.
Dictionary.reference.com – “discipline and training of oneself, usually for improvement: Acquiring the habit of promptness requires self-discipline.”
In Steve Pavlina’s blog he uses the acronym A WHIP to describe the five qualities needed to “whip yourself into shape’. These are: Acceptance, Willpower, Hard Work, Industry, and Persistence.

Some great ways to practice self-discipline techniques to concentrate and bring focus into your life are to do the following while you work:

  • do one major task before you turn your phone on or check your email
    These bring you into other people’s priorities, and you can easily be distracted from your important day’s work
  • set a timer (preferably a real timer, not your cell phone as the texts and email alerts may distract you). Use the timer to block out concentrated efforts on tasks. I use 60/60/30 I set the timer for 50 minutes and work; a 10 minute break; repeat; and then I have a 30 minute break. I leave my office and make tea, go for a walk, or read.  Some people find they work better in 30 minute blocks, so you’d work for 30 minutes, take a five minute break, and repeat until your 30 minute meal break.   Do whatever works for you, but it’s very productive, so give it a whirl.
  • turn off your phone, or put it on vibrate
  • close browser windows, including email
  • chunk your social media, email, phone calls together and give yourself an hour twice a day to do these tasks. 11:30-12:30 and 4:00-5:00 are good times for me. Everyone’s day flows differently, so find your flow
  • write out your actions/tasks you want to accomplish the night before, assign a point (1 point per hour it will take you).  When you start your day, you can jump right in, and then at the end of the day count up your points and celebrate!! (If you didn’t accomplish something it becomes a -1.) Say you have five items on your list, and you completed four of them +4-1=3
    Celebrate all that you did accomplish!! Physically pat on the back.

Willpower
Willpower is your ability to concentrate. Whether you are challenging your willpower to exercise your body or mind, it is through concentration that you succeed to strengthen those muscles. And when it comes to our spiritual growth, it is again through concentration and mediation that we exercise our will to raise our vibration.

Hard Work
What does it actually mean to work hard? The majority of us have worked “hard” all day but many accomplish little by the end of the day.  Perhaps a better term might be to work smart and learn to be more productive…to get more done in the least amount of time

Focus
Wiki – selectively concentrating on one aspect of the environment while ignoring other things
thefreedictionary.com – To focus one’s attention on a specific person, proposal, issue, or other matter; to aim at; to set one’s sights on. To concentrate attention or energy: a campaign that focused on economic issues.

Persistence
Dictionary.reference.com – “continued existence or occurrence: the persistence of smallpox.” and “the continuance of an effect after its cause is removed.”

Perseverance

Dictionary.reference.com – steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

Productive
Wiki – Productivity is a measure of the efficiency of production. It is a measure of the efficiency of production. The qualitative aspects of labor productivity such as creativity, innovation, teamwork, improved quality of work and the effects on other areas in a company are difficult to measure.
Dictionary.reference.com – “having the power of producing;  generative; creative: a productive effort.”

And, now, how to be productive in your home office:

I worked out of my home for nine years, and my job posting content on the corporate website was right out there for everyone to see. It was immediately evident if I wasn’t doing my job. I became very disciplined, dedicated, and loyal. My job was front end, in your face, out there in public…either my work was getting done or everyone knew it wasn’t. It kept me focused on the task at hand, working until the job was done. Along the way, I learned what works and what to avoid.

1. Ambience

Set yourself up to enjoy your space, and love being in the room.

You spend at least a quarter of your day here, (try not be make if half), and you should feel fabulous while in your office. The energy in the room should be light, bright, and you truly should feel good when you walk it. Your energy should match your office. Whatever your style, make it you. Add photos, pictures, books, whatever adds charm, but keep it simple, clean, and definitely uncluttered.

Clear off your desk at night in order to walk in to a clear, fresh space the next day. Seeing the clutter from the day before will immediately have you jumping in to a task that might not be your most important job first thing.  The same thing with your screen. If you’ve added files and screen shots to your desk top, file them away into folders. This keeps your screen uncluttered. One less distraction. I love Howard’s suggestion to keep your email inbox empty. Brilliant. (Okay, this is productivity knowledge, and it’s excellent. Thanks, Howard.)

Lighting is so important, particularly if you are regularly creating videos. Have a bright ceiling light, desk light, and for videos you need one bright one behind you on the floor. (If someone has the specific lighting set up, shoot me a message to share. Otherwise, I’ll research it later for you.)

Designate a room, with a door, in your home for your office. It is imperative that you create a space that is uniquely yours, absolutely your own, and a place you love being in.  The door comes in handy. First, you can close the door to alert others that you are working and should not be disturbed. Second, you can close the door behind you when you “leave” work at the end of your day.

Your office, your computer. Do not share your office or computer with another family member. This is your livelihood, and in order to be productive you need the office and your computer to be exclusively yours. Consider the hardware (computer, printer, phone, etc.) your companies exclusive property to be used expressly for company use. If anything was to happen to your computer, how would you run your business?

2. Be Present

As in anything you do, be present.

Dedicate your attention to that one thing you are doing. When you are working, work. When you are writing your blog, write your blog. When you are tweeting, tweet.  whatever you are doing to being the only thing you are doing. Establish a routine. “Arrive” at work at the same time every day, and close that door behind you at a time when you would physically leave your office if you worked outside the home.  “Leave” your work in your office at the end of the day. Take plenty of breaks and set a timer (I’ll cover this in next week’s tips about productivity).

Don’t Play During Work Hours.

I live in a destination spot, and remember the first time a friend called me on a Tuesday afternoon to go boating. It was hard to say no, but I knew I must or it would be so easy to slide the slippery slope into a fun summer off.

This may sound very zen-like but it’s vital, in all areas of your life. Work when you are working. Play when you are playing. Be with whomever you are with when you are with them. When you are speaking on the phone, be present with that person. Turn your computer off, or turn away from it unless you need to refer to something intrinsic to your conversation with the person on the phone.

3. Separate Your Office and Your Home

Keep your office contained. Do not bring your computer, papers, or reports out into the “home” area to do work. Social media, okay, as long as it’s not business SM. This way you won’t have your “work” spread throughout the house. This makes you unproductive, looking for papers later on. Besides, harmony is a beautiful thing, and a home

4 Responses to “Tips for Working in Your Home Office”

  • Jim:

    I’ve been using a variation on the 60/30/30 rule, but without enough of the 30/30. That helps explain why I sometimes feel burnt out and less than fully satisfied with my accomplishments. I’m still learning to celebrate (loudly!!) at the end of each block of work. Thanks for this article. Can’t wait to build in more of the 30/30 to go with my work. Cheers!Response: Thank you, Jim, for your message. I’m delighted you found value in this post. You may also like the article under Inspired Leaders from Michelle Schaeffer, which is another time utilizer. 10 Things You Can Do in 10 Minutes to Move Your Business Forward. I believe you will find it valuable, too.Cheers,
    Pamela

  • Pamela Lynch:

    Thank you so much. The first comment left by a reader inspired me to improve on it, and I’m glad you enjoyed it. I appreciate your commendation.

  • Pamela Lynch:

    Thank you for sharing your thought with me. Absolutely, I will take more time to flush out this article and offer more life and meat to this one. I appreciate you taking time to leave a comment. With gratitude, Pamela

  • Must Read Contribution…The post is greatly commended by me….

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