As a contractor your office could be anywhere from at home to on the road, however you still need to be productive, especially when working from home where often family members can distract you, so here are a few tips to keep you motivated and productive.
1. Create a clean and organised working space
The space in which you work should be a clean and organised room, with no distractions from outside sources that would otherwise be normal in your home, i.e. family members, TVs and so on. You want this space to be a room where you feel like you are at work, but without all the office politics. You could put a sign on the door when you are working, so not to disturb you.
2. Get into a routine
Being at home usually means relaxation time, time spent with family, friends and pyjama days, however you may need to kick-start your day like you would on a normal working day. Get up a reasonable time, shower and get dressed into clothes that would probably be considered smart casual, so you are in the right frame of mind for the working day.
3. Get organised
Make sure that you have everything you need for a working day, whether that be notepads, pens, printer ink, paper, as you don’t really want to be disrupting your working day to run and get supplies.
4. Set boundaries
Once you have set up your working space you need to establish boundaries. Having children and family members interrupting your working day will surely decrease your productivity and motivation; so you need to make it clear that you are not to be disturbed when in your home office.
5. Make sure you get out
Whilst there are benefits to working from home, staring at the computer screen all day constantly won’t do you any good. Make sure you leave for a set period of time once a day, an example would be a lunch break – take a walk and clear your head so you can be refreshed for the second half of your day.
If you feel some days will be busier than others, another option is to set up face to face meetings with your clients at a suitable location away from home such as having a meeting over lunch.
6. Back up your files
When you work from home, there isn’t a company server there to save the day when things go wrong. Always, always, always make sure you have at least one back up of all your files. External hard drives are a good option, as well as cloud-based services, such as Dropbox.
7. Be consistent and set working hours
There is nothing more distracting than not having a routine, once that is out of whack it can be very hard to get anything done and be productive. Having a routine when you work from home is probably one of the most important elements of being productive and not getting distracted.
8. Know when to stop
It might be tempting, but don’t burn the midnight oil. Learn when to stop working, even if you have an idea, instead of rushing to get it done, write it down and address it the next day.
This goes hand in hand with the previous point, however if you’re working from home it is essential to make sure you get the right work / life balance.