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5 Must-Dos if You Work from Home

A work-from-home job — the holy grail of career situations. This type of set-up can be your best friend or your worst enemy, and there’s really no way to know until you’re in the situation.

If you’re looking for a work-from-home position, or if you have one already, here are a few ways to boost productivity and keep yourself on track:

  1. Discipline: Far and away, the most crucial element of work-from-home success is focus and discipline. Not only are you at home with all of the creature comforts, you’re outside the watchful eye of managers and peers. The opportunity for distraction is limitless. If you can’t stay on task and get work done, this set-up is doomed for failure.
  2. Organization: Another potential for derailment is clutter and disorganization. There are usually structures and systems set up in an office. When you work from home, you must set up and maintain these systems on your own. It’s an added task, but it is one that is necessary. It’s important to have a dedicated workstation with everything in neat and accessible order.
  3. Planning: Much like physical organization, mental organization is an essential component of productivity. In a self-management situation, it’s helpful to make a game plan at the beginning of every week and reassess at the beginning of every day. Keeping a detailed planner, desk calendar, or just a notepad with a list of things to do each day can be helpful.
  4. Stay connected: Working from home can bring a real sense of isolation. It’s nice at first, but you can go through entire days without human interaction of any sort. Some people working from home are entrepreneurs and freelancers, and some are a part of a larger company or organization. If you have co-workers and a boss, stay in touch with them throughout the day. If you’re working for yourself, stay connected with clients and other freelancers or entrepreneurs through professional networks. Not only will it help to keep you on track, it will cut down on the lonely-factor.
  5. Administration: Again, this will mean different things in different situations, but there are many administrative tasks usually handled behind the scenes that are left to you in a work-from-home situation. Freelancers and entrepreneurs especially need to pay strict attention to income for tax purposes, savings and retirement, and insurance.

Working from home can be a great fit for some, and a wake-up call for others. If you’re faced with what many consider to be a dream situation, make sure to have a plan to stay disciplined. Avoid distractions and stay task-oriented. It is a major change of pace from a typical job, but if handled well, it can truly be a positive experience.

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