Recommendations and Proven Guidance for Work at Home Success

It’s no secret that one of the greatest things about working from home is flexibility. But can there be too much flexibility? Sure there can! It’s important to realize this so that you don’t fall into the “flexibility trap.” It’s easy when you work remotely to get lost amidst the chaos of kids, requests, domestic duties and errands.  These recommendations are a continuation of a previous article titled Working Efficiently from Home – What You Need to Have When Getting Started.

In order to prepare to be as efficient as possible, consider trying out the following:

  • Work during your “best” times.  This could be 5 AM or midnight.  Your “best times” are those that you are most likely not going to have any distractions.  This is usually when the kids are sleeping, playing independently, are at school or some sort of child care.
  • Stick to your schedule.  Use tools such as the Pomodoro Technique to keep you focused on the tasks you need to get done that day.
  • Pretend that you’re actually at a traditional office.  Hold off on endless coffee breaks and stay focused.  Get yourself dressed in the morning in something that you might wear out to help you feel like you are actually at an office.
  • Eliminate known distractions.  This could be such things as taking personal calls during work hours or checking email every 10 minutes.
  • Create boundaries against unknown distractions.  For example, if a family member or friend calls and wants you to watch her child for an hour, you must say no, if it is during your work hours.  Communicate to your friends and family your schedule. Some might confuse “work-at-home” with “stay-at-home.”
  • Enhance your communication skills.  When you work from home one of the main skills you need is verbal and written communication over email and phone.  Make sure to remind yourself of etiquette and how to deliver communication over those channels.
  • Keep your physical health in check.  Sitting down working on a computer can be draining.  Plan to get up and do a few jumping jacks or move around for 10 minutes.  Again, use a timer so you don’t spend more time than you need to on staying active while working.  Actually, my head is about to spin, so after I write this sentence I need to step away and move around for a few minutes.
  • Have a plan for when you might experience any social isolation.  You could plan on going to a bookstore or a coffee shop so you can hear the voices of other people.  You could schedule to be on a twitter chat or Facebook group chat.  Just having it on your schedule might help you feel better since you know you will be talking to other women in the near future.
  • Create a system and stay organized.  There is nothing worse than having your notebooks with all your ideas, files and papers lying around in a bunch of different places around the house, in your car and in your work bag.  Create a filing system by your workspace that will allow you to have easy access to everything and will motivate you to actually put things in its place in a timely fashion.  This also is true for your computer documents.  You can store them in places such as Dropbox or Mozy. The point is, stay organized.

Make a Plan for Personal Enjoyment

Just as easy as it is to get caught in the “flexibility trap,” it’s easy to get caught in the “work trap.” Sometimes, because working from home takes extra effort, you’ll find yourself questioning whether or not to clean the house, or go out for coffee with friends, or take your kids to the park.

To be honest, it’s still a struggle to find and maintain an appropriate balance. This is why you need to create a plan for personal enjoyment just as much as you need to create a work plan.

Preparation is the Key to Success

It can take months to prepare for the transition to work-at-home mom. Proper preparation will help eliminate the pitfalls that might accompany the transition. Don’t just jump into it thinking that it will make your life perfect, step into it slowly with the understanding that it will take some time to adjust to and a lot of effort and ambition to be successful at it.

What Tips or Recommendations Can You Add?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lisa Stein owns, is a college business professor and a mom to Gabriela and Elle. Lisa is dedicated to playing a part in helping women and moms run a business they love, help support themselves and their family and create a flexible lifestyle. You can find her online on Facebook and Twitter or at home burning something in the kitchen.