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The Art of Staying Disciplined While Working at Home

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Working from home is everyone’s dream, right? You can wake up when you want to, don’t have to worry about the morning commute since your “office” is only a few steps away. Your schedule is pretty much your own, and you can start and stop work when you choose, which gives you more time with your family.

But this ideal world is not all it’s cracked up to be if you lack the discipline to stay focused.

When you tell friends you work from home, their first image is probably of you goofing off at home and not getting much work done. They think that this is just another way of saying that you are on a “permanent vacation.”

To this day, my mother-in-law doesn’t think working at home is a “real” job. She likes to tell people that I just play around all day.

Obviously, she’s completely wrong because working at home is a real job, and in all honesty requires even more skill than a regular job because it’s so easy to blur the lines between home and work life.

You must practice self-discipline to ensure work doesn’t overrun your life leaving you no time for family and fun time. On the side of the coin, you don’t want to just slack off with free time and leave no room for actual work.

So let’s work together to practice restraint and take charge of your daily schedule so you can have a balanced and happy work-at-home life.

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work at home productivity

Know Your Personality

Do you have the type of personality that is organized and motivated? If you tend to procrastinate or get distracted, a more stringent schedule is going to help you keep on task. If you know you tend to get more done in the morning, schedule your most demanding tasks during that time. If you work better with white noise (like I do), avoid “Today’s Hits” on Pandora.

Designate Start & End Times

Leisurely walking over to your computer and sitting down at different times each day doesn’t seem like work at all. Get into the right frame of mind with a definite start and end time to train your brain to focus on completing tasks when you’re “clocked in.”

Separate Your Workspace

Even if it’s just half of a room where you have your home office, avoid filling your space with anything that is not work-related. When you come to this area, you are ready for business and nothing but. Maintain the separation to assist with focusing on the tasks at hand.

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Take Regular Breaks

In the office, employers are required to give employees 15-minute breaks and a lunch period. Practicing this at home can break up the day and also foster more discipline in your day. Use that time to attend to small chores, make personal phone calls, and rest your brain for a few minutes.

Create a Task List

When you are sitting at your desk is not the time to decide what you will do that day. The last task for each business day is to create a list of needed tasks for the following day. With a definite list of what needs to be accomplished, you are more likely to stay engaged and productive.

I’ve learned that I love a combination of paper planner and digital planners to help me keep track of to-dos. Having clear tasks ensures I don’t just plop in my chair wondering what needs to be accomplished. And it’s so satisfying to check off completed tasks.

Get Started

With the right strategies in place, working at home certainly can become a dream job. You’ll start to appreciate working at home, rather than resent it. Working at home is a real job, so start treating it like one.