In today’s day and age, the prevalence of remote job opportunities is skyrocketing. Whether you’re a stay at home parent or a savvy tech entrepreneur, there are countless hours that you can use to work from home.
I own and operate a fitness studio, Pure Barre, in Colorado Springs, but I spend much of my time working from my apartment. We don’t have classes during certain hours of the day, and as the business owner, it’s my job to remain objective and focus on our long-term vision. Oftentimes, separating myself from the day to day is much easier to do out of the studio than in. So, I find myself sitting on my couch, at my desk, or at the kitchen table on a regular basis. Amidst countless spreadsheets, bank statements, and marketing plans, I know firsthand that it can be difficult to remain focused on work in your home.
And yet, it’s one of the greatest blessings of the age of technology. I have the opportunity to prioritize my work and take care of my dog, house, and future kids because of my ability to work from home. But, what’s the key to remaining productive without someone breathing down your neck and reminding you of your to-do list?
I believe it all comes down to designing your schedule to incorporate both periods of focus and free time. Accept it: you can’t ignore your house while at home.
Here are a few ways to set yourself up for success while working at home:
1. Pick a Spot, Camp Out
I find that I’m most efficient when I work from my desk. I have a window, a confined space, and a display full of meaningful pictures and quotes to keep me grounded. I designed my desk to be a refuge from the rest of the apartment that allows me to work and stay motivated. If I work from any other spot, I’m far more likely to daydream, turn on the TV in the background, or play catch with my dog. Design a place that inspires you, and you’ll be more likely to visit it.
2. Do Your Chores
Realize that working from home will draw your attention to the needs of your house, so block out a little time to do your chores, as well. That way, you will feel accomplished when it comes to household duties, but you won’t go on a cleaning spree when there is still work to be done.
3. Do First Things, First
Ultimately, having the freedom to work from home makes it easy to get caught up in brainstorming. Creativity plays a huge role in any job, but it can also be a huge distraction from tasks that are pressing. Use checklists to make sure that you get first things done first and save the brainstorming and ideation for later. If you have time to do both, that’s fantastic, but don’t sacrifice what must be done for what you’d like to do.
I use the app Wunderlist to categorize my to-do lists every day. I have four categories: Pure Barre, Special Events, Daily Life, and Writing. I have a running list of items in each category, and every day, I start my day by reviewing and adding to the list. I try to knock out the checklist for my work first and foremost. That’s my main priority and the best way to utilize my time.
The dog, dishes, and laundry can feel like distractions, but because I have a to-do list for the house, as well, I feel accomplished when I cross off those tasks, too. If I’m hitting a roadblock for something work-related, I can take a breather and do something around the house, make a fresh cup of coffee, and revisit the problem.
Working from home is a blessing, so learn how to use it to your advantage. What are your tips and tricks to staying focused in a non-traditional environment?