One of the challenges entrepreneurs that I've worked with struggle with is how to maximize productivity when working from a home office. As a Virtual Assistant based out of my home office, I can relate to it sometimes being difficult to psychologically separate work from play. While having a home office offers an opportunity to have a comfortable space suited to your own style out of which to work, if the workspace becomes too casual productivity can be lost.
Do you work from home, even if part-time, to run your business? If so, how can you boost productivity when working from your home office? Here are 5 tips I have found that help to create a productive home office space.
1. Clear the distractions
It's important that you separate yourself from household distractions and set limits when you are working. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is with actual physical boundaries. The ideal situation is to be in a closed off room or area where you are not exposed to the noise and distracting issues of the household. When you go into your office, close your door, put up a "Do Not Disturb" or "Pretend I'm not home" sign.
What if you don't have the luxury of a closed off space? A solution is to simply ask for cooperation in the home by setting up a time with your family or roommates to discuss the importance of respecting your workspace and worktime and ask for their help. Another idea is to try to work when others are not around. In my personal case, I like to work mostly when my daughter is in school and my husband is working and many times when others in my home are sleeping or out of the house. Figure out what works best for you to avoid constant interruptions and distractions. And while you're at it, clear out things from the office space that distract you as well such as television, etc.
2. Get rid of the clutter
Clutter weighs you down mentally, emotionally and physically. It's impossible to work at maximum efficiency rate in clutter. Even if you think you thrive on it, you don't. Take some time to clear off your desk, file things away, organize your drawers and even get rid of the electronic clutter on your computer.
Think you don't have the time? When you are so busy with work that you can't even think straight, that's when you most need to make the time to de-clutter. Have such a mess in your office that you don't know where to start? Then tackle it in mini-sessions, addressing particular areas at a time. Once you've actually cleared out the clutter you'll be much more mentally inclined to get work done and knowing exactly where everything is will be a major time saver which will boost your productivity.
3. Arrange for Comfort
One of the biggest investments you should make for your home office space is your chair. Think about all the hours you spend sitting in your chair. An uncomfortable chair will affect your levels of productivity as you will need to take more frequent breaks from it to avoid backaches, etc. Get a chair that swivels so that you can easily maneuver for maximum comfort. Play around with how high or inclined your seat settings are to find the best position to remain alert and comfortable.
Set your room temperature so you're comfortable. Too cold and you can't focus, too warm and you will tire easily. Find a middle ground that works for you.
For ultimate productivity put within easy reach things that you use daily. Keep at arm's length things such as a calculator, stapler, notepad, pens, and anything else that you use all the time. Set up your home office so that you don't waste valuable time digging for things you use often or for example, getting up just to throw something away.
4. Set the mood
If possible make sure that your area has fresh paint in a color that inspires you. Personalizing your space with paint, art, and accessories is part of the fun of being able to work from a home office. If the room is to your liking you will likely increase the time you spend in it which can lead to greater productivity. Consider adding plants, not only for aesthetics but also to increase oxygen levels.
You will also need proper lighting to be comfortable. Lighting will not only affect your mood but also your physical well-being as having to force your eyesight due to improper lighting can lead to headaches and eventual health problems. When at all possible, try to pick an area in your home that gets some natural light. Make sure your lighting is not too dim or too bright to affect your comfort level.
Invest some time in cleaning up the office space and making it smell nice. A dirty, cluttered, and bad smelling area will feel unpleasant. Make sure it's clean and smells great so that you don't absolutely dread having to go into your work area.
Play appropriate background music. Music is a great way to filter out some of the unwanted noise that surrounds you. Some people find that they are just happier and work better with music on. Have different playlists for your various concentration levels. Take advantage of apps such as Pandora or set YouTube to play tracks for you. Whatever you choose just make sure that it makes you feel great while you work.
5. Get proper equipment
To maximize productivity you must have the proper equipment. Don't throw away your precious time on waiting for slow equipment to keep up. Stop struggling with an outdated computer, a printer that always jams, modems that crash, etc. Even if you have the luxury of working from home, you still need to WORK. So invest in the proper equipment, which in turn, if you put in the effort to be productive, will pay for itself.
And what's the best way to equip yourself for maximum productivity? Hire a qualified Virtual Assistant of course! Virtual Assistants can help you get organized to accomplish more than you could ever do on your own. Check out all the Services that I offer and contact me so that I can help you boost the productivity of your business.
I'm only sharing 5 tips here but there are much more. Got additional tips for maximizing productivity in a home office? Comment below on ways you've accomplished this.