For starters, being in your home means you are surrounded with a plethora of distractions. Aside from the usual TV, dog, kids, and other distractions you wouldn’t find in a “regular” corporate office, being isolated and cooped up can make you feel stir crazy!For many people, the idea of working from home is a dream come true. And you know what? They’re absolutely right! However, it’s not always as easy as one would think.
So how can you work from home and stay sane at the same time? Here are five valuable tips I’ve learned by running my own business (Credit Card Forum) from my home office for 3 years and counting.
Tip #1: Limit your distractions
First and foremost, you should get rid of as many distractions as possible. This means working in a room that has no TV. If your job involves a computer, it’s best to set ground rules for time-wasters like Facebook and news sites… don’t use them during your working hours! The same holds true for texting with friends – you wouldn’t be able to do that at a regular office, so why waste time doing it at your home office?
Tip #2: Have a comfortable chair
This may be the best investment you could make. Years ago when I was working for the man, I remember the cheap computer chair I had to sit in (it was the most entry-level model you could imagine). The surface was so hard, I would constantly have to re-adjust my body throughout the day to prevent my behind from going numb! So the first thing I did when I became self-employed was buy a comfortable chair – what a world of difference! I’m not saying you should go buy a Lazy Boy to sit in, but being comfortable and being productive usually go hand-in-hand.
Tip #3: Stick to a schedule
Without a boss around, you may find it difficult to stick to a schedule. To counter this problem, I’ve found it helpful to stick to a routine. I usually write mine out in advance. For example on Monday I will be writing personal finance news on my blog. On Tuesday I will be updating my airline credit card reviews. Wednesday will be an administrative day for accounting and paying bills. By having a schedule in place which I need to follow, I’m less likely to kick back and procrastinate.
Tip #4: Leave home for your break
It’s no fun to sit at home in front of your computer all day, alone. So what I try and do is schedule quick errands as my mid-day/lunch break. For example I may take off between 1-2 pm to hit up the grocery store, refill prescriptions, grab lunch with a friend, etc. Doing these in the middle of your work day can be a nice break, but just keep an eye on the clock and don’t be gone too long.
Tip #5: Eat healthier and regularly
In the corporate world, you don’t always have the opportunity to eat a healthy lunch. As a result, you may end up feeling lethargic throughout the afternoon. When you work out of your home office there’s no excuse for this to happen – you can prepare whatever food you want. I recommend choosing your at-home meals before the week begins, selecting healthy items which won’t spike your blood sugar or leave you feeling like you just ate a whale. Also, don’t forget to have a healthy snack in the afternoon, to keep you energized for the homestretch of your workday.
Do you ever work out of your home office? Any tips to share?
Mike Dolen operates CreditCardForum out of his home office in Los Angeles. It is a website for reviews of credit cards, contributed by forum members as well as himself. His most recent reviews are for the Capital One Journey and Chase Southwest card.