Having a home office whether you are running a small business or working as a freelance or home-based employee is an excellent situation to hope for. You get the opportunity to avoid the typical daily commute by having your office down the hall. You get to be around your family and are able to take care of any home issues easily. You are available to pick up the kids from school easily most of the time. You get to have your dog around to keep your spirits high. Everything seems positive.
However what happens if all the home life is getting taken care of, but the home office is not leading to productive activity? Well, what happens is that your business is going to have to be reassessed because it is simply not going to be successful. Therefore, identifying the weaknesses to production in your home office is essential to supporting your small business or working-from-home lifestyle.
How to Deal with Home Office Distractions
Home office distractions can come from many sources in or outside of the house. When it comes to simply staying focused, there are many simple tools to use. Organization is a key factor in this which we will discuss later. A bit of calming music, lyric-less music often works better for many people to remain focused, perhaps some incense, or even some background noise like a desktop fountain. All of these can keep you marginally focused when you need to be, but they all do little for distractions.
When it comes to distractions that intrude upon your good attempts at focus, such as your pets, your children, noisy neighbors, and that car alarm going off at 1 o’clock in the morning for a half hour to stop you from sleeping, there are a few different options. Adding a lock to your home office door certainly should help, but remember to not use it in such a way as to alienate your family, and remember that they are more important than your business. Soundproofing your home office is also an excellent option, and it can be done to varying degrees of both effectiveness and expense. For more information on that particular subject, check out our article on soundproofing your home office. If all you think you need is a good pair of headphones to lock out the noise and distractions, check out our article on noise-cancelling headphones. If dealing with a full house of children is the primary concern of increasing productivity, then continue on to our dedicated article on how to set up your home office when you have children.
Keep your Home Office Organized
Organization goes a long way in keeping productivity high and focus clear. A cluttered desk, even a cluttered computer desktop, can be incredibly distracting as well as provide an air of claustrophobia that can be incredibly distracting. These things need to be organized well, and a bit of storage and filing can go a long way in keeping that organization up.
Besides regular organizational filing and storage, it is valuable to plan your home office for productivity. Keeping everything in a useful place is more than important. A cork-board, calendar, or other planner held up on the wall within easy view while you work is excellent. Instead of a traditional filing cabinet, consider a hanging file system on the wall. Using wall space can greatly cut down on the clogging up of your home office with claustrophobia-inducing clutter. For more information on how to organize your home office, check our extensive article on the subject.
Use Resting Time from your Productivity Well
What can destroy your home office productivity more than anything is how you use your resting and break times. This is not to say that you must be productive during your rest, and I am going in quite the opposite direction actually. More valuable is to rest well.
The first destruction to your rest time involves continuing to look at screens. If it is time to rest, it is not time to check emails. That is not rest. That is more work. If it is time to rest, put the phone down, and do not log onto social media to scroll through your friends’ posts and jokes. This will leave you feeling just as drained afterward, especially if you do not find that super good joke or wholesome post you may be hoping for to lift your spirits.
The second key to resting well is to make time in your day for your family and your social life. Doing laundry and dishes, preparing meals, and picking up the kids from school may all be necessary parts of your day. I would still not consider these restful activities until something is added to them. Do you take the time to have as wonderful of conversations with your family members as possible? Do you take the time to laugh with them, to be deeply serious and solemn with them about important subjects, to be loving to them in every way you can?
Another way to rest well is to make time for your artistic side. If you do not have one, you should really take the time to develop something. Learn an instrument and practice it every day for 15 minutes, or draw, or write, or do anything that could be considered any sort of artistic talent, preferably without a computer or phone screen. Do something that keeps your brain moving but that keeps it moving in a different way than it does when you are attempting to be productive at work. This is both restful and restorative.
The last and possibly most ignored yet necessary part of resting well is to to take time for your own well-being. This includes exercise, which while it may exhaust you, I could consider proper rest in the right context. This includes eating in the context of a healthy diet conducive to providing the nutrients you need to be productive when you begin to work again. This especially includes silence. Take the time for any religious activity such as prayer, and even secular folk can make excellent use of a meditation routine. Take the time to close out all distractions, all work, all play, and simply be. This is not sleep, even though that may be the only time you consistently attempt to do this. If you can take the time to be silent every day, and truly make that a necessary part of your schedule, you will find yourself far more rested and ready to take on the trials of the day.
Productivity in and out of your Home Office is the key to your Small Business or Career
Whether you are working or resting, keep everything in mind of what best serves your health, your family, and your business. Always remember that the business comes last in that trio however. A failure to recognize that necessary truth has destroyed many a family, many a person, and many a business as an ironic consequence. While it is important to take the time to set up your home office for productivity, to lock out distractions through whatever soundproofing you may need, and while organization may be a huge boon to your productivity, these things are trivial nearly. What matters most to your productivity while working is what you do when you are not working. You must take the time to take care of your personal life, your personal health, and your non-work endeavors. Taking care of these matters will lead to your own happiness, your family’s pride in you as both leader of the family and provider, and to the productivity and success of your small business or freelancing or working from home career.