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How to Work from Home and Get Things Done

September 17th, 2007 by shawn · 12 Comments

Do you work from your home? If you do – good for you. It’s great to have the freedom and the latitude to go get a beer from your own fridge while you take a break from staring at the computer screen, isn’t it?

Yeah, working from your own home office is an awesome privilege that not everyone has. So consider yourself lucky.

But the home office carries with it a curse. It is not unlike a two-edged sword. On one hand, it offers freedom. On the other hand, it can bring pitfalls and distractions.

To help you avoid the pitfalls, I’ve made a nice list of things to do and not to do. If you follow my suggestions, you’ll get more done working from home.

  1. Don’t work in your underwear. You’ve heard people talk about this before. They say that if you work at home you can stay in your pajamas or underwear. I say: don’t. Get dressed, and put on shoes. Act like you’re going to work – because you are. Not only will it put you in the right frame of mind and allow you to get more work done, but staying in your underwear all day in kind of disgusting.
  2. Have a regular routine. Don’t allow yourself to sleep late some days and get up early other days. Just decide on a schedule and work according to that schedule. Remember – working at home allows you to pretty much set your own schedule, so you don’t have to give up any of your freedom. Just stick to a schedule of some kind to give yourself a rhythm and a routine for the sake of productivity.
  3. Write lists. You don’t have a boss when you’re at home, so make sure you have something to tell you what to do. I suggest two things: a notebook that you write lists on, and cross out items on the list.
  4. Take breaks. Yeah, the extreme of not getting ANYTHING done is overworking yourself to the point that you can’t get anything worthwhile done. So remember to take breaks. You need reminders? Here’s a nice program to help you do that.
  5. Eat meals. It might seem like an obvious piece of advice to most of you, but some people don’t eat breakfast. Well, you should. Your brain will work better. Same thing for lunch – you probably need to eat something even if you don’t feel hungry.
  6. Have a comfortable chair. It makes a ton of difference! I worked for about five days on a terrible kitchen chair. It’s a great chair for sitting down and eating my Cheerios, but an awful chair for doing 8-10 hours of computer work. Now I have a pretty nice office chair. No more aching back.
  7. Have a nice desk. My desk is awesome; it has two slide-out flat things so I can work on those if I need to, it has a drawer in the center and three drawers on each side, and it’s huge and flat. I set my monitor on top and it’s perfect. I don’t know what I’d do without this exact desk – I love it because it allows me to work better. That’s my point: have a desk that actually assists you in working. Make sure you have enough room and it functions well for you.
  8. Don’t allow others to disturb you. How you implement this may be hard if you don’t have a separate office with a door, but you have simply got to enforce the rule of “STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM ME” if you expect to get things done. Do not allow wives, husbands, or children in the room during work hours or you may find your time being taken up with everyday stuff. Remember – you are at work.

How’s that for a list of essentials? I think those eight items take care of almost anything you can think of as far as working at home is concerned, but if you think of anything else please add it in the comments!

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    Comment by CrashLab
    2007-09-19 23:31:15

    I think is very difficult to make money… Or… is difficult to be rich with a blog or a website.

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    Comment by shawn
    2007-09-20 12:07:49

    Yes it CAN be difficult. But remember a few things: 1) It takes some time at first before you see any income 2) You MUST stick with it and 3) You must always be producing content, websites, and links to those sites.

    2007-09-20 05:51:08

    i agree with your first point especially, if you are working from home dress for work, it puts you in a working frame of mind, although i dont like to wear shoes though!

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    2007-09-20 07:37:18

    I agree with the author. Its like when you are studying, you must create a good environment, must know what’s the right position when reading your notes or else you’ll fall to sleep when lying in bed. That is if you want to fail your exams!

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    Comment by Lucio
    2007-09-20 14:44:41

    #1 is so important. When I first started working from home, I started working as soon as I woke up. What a big mistake. It’s hard to get in the right frame of mind. I found getting up, getting a shower, getting dressed in decent clothes and eating a breakfast made in the right mood to accomplish things.

    #6 I kind of agree with it, but my chair is a bit uncomfortable and I keep it like that. It forces me to get up and walk around and take a break every 2 1/2 to 3 hours. A good break helps me focus.

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    2007-09-20 21:53:51

    Dressing for success is serious business. When I was in sales, even though I worked from home, they told me to dress up with a tie before doing my sales phones calls.

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    Comment by Sonya
    2007-09-22 05:06:18

    Good point about having a routine. When I first started working from home, I was inspired to get my work done early so that I could go outside and enjoy the brief Vancouver summer. And I did just that! I started a habit of getting up at the break of dawn and completing all my work before 10am. Good habit. Sometimes when I come home in the evening I feel energized with fresh ideas so I have another productive session. Not every day, but this way of scheduling my time works the best for me. :)

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    2007-09-27 03:00:20

    Excellent advice. Staying productive when working from home can very difficult with so many distractions and temptations. It’s crucial to create a to-do list on a daily basis, prioritize it well, and not allow others to constantly interrupt you.

    - Liz

    For more productivity tips, check out 13 Secrets to Increasing Your Productivity

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    Comment by mlankton
    2007-10-14 00:12:54

    On the flipside, don’t miss everything because you work at home. Take 30 minutes to watch Nick Jr with your two year old, and let yourself be distracted enough that your family knows you’re around. Sometimes I get so focused on what I’m doing that everything else fades away. At the end of those days I’m sad for the moments missed with my kids.

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    Comment by Tom - Home Business
    2009-01-28 13:24:21

    Working at home is lonely and it´s easy to get distracted.I follow a simple marketing schedule with marketing tasks for every day.Simple and easy.

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    Comment by gables estates
    2011-09-24 15:03:09

    One best thing about working from home is the convenient timing since one can work at one’s own time, what matters is to deliver the work in time. It is also best to set up a separate home so that one can work without distractions. I think working from home is one of the best solutions to curb unemployment.

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    Comment by David Cornick
    2011-10-01 05:12:09

    Working from home requires some disipline,it is too easy to be distracted by things outside of the work you are supposed to be doing.If you can master the disipline then working at home can be fulfilling and rewarding.Good article

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