You've taken the plunge and decided to work from home. Whether you have a small business, freelance your skills, or even go to school to further your career, working from home is tough. It's tougher when you have children around demanding the attention that really should be going to your tasks at hand. I've been working and/or going to school from home now since my son was born nine months ago. Along the (bumpy) way, I've picked up a few tips that I think might prove useful to those starting out on this path.
1.) Get dressed. In the morning. It can be tempting to remain in your pajamas all day. I know, I've been there, and I still occasionally have a relapse. One thing I've learned is that on the days I decide to stay in my pajamas and a T-shirt, I am the least productive I can be. Somehow, being in my sleep clothes with my hair in a messy ponytail makes it seem okay to sit on the couch and read my chick-lit books. On the other hand, if I brush my teeth and get dressed (minimal makeup included) right off the bat, I can count on getting a much more satisfactory amount of work done.
2.) Have a "goal." Having some idea of what you want to get accomplished in a day will keep you on task. I have a goal list for the day, a goal list for the week, and one for the month. It gives me a clear idea of what I can realistically expect to accomplish, because I take into account any special circumstances, and give myself time to deal with any unexpected crises that might pop up -- like a sick baby.
3.) Hire a sitter. This is especially for those of us with young children. If your child cannot really entertain him- or herself yet, hiring a sitter might be a great solution for you to get some extra work hours in. You can get a lot more work done if you hire someone to watch your kids, for say, two hours a day, twice a week. That's four extra hours of pure productivity.
4.) Have a designated office area. I work upstairs, away from the hustle and bustle of my family. I have a desk, a comfortable chair, my laptop, and my books. I find that this helps me be a lot more productive. Just going to my office gets me in the work mindset, and helps me separate my mommy self from my work self.
5.) Get enough rest. If you're tired all day, your productivity will decline. You'll be more lethargic, less alert, and not as "on the ball" as you need to be. However, if you get at least seven hours a night of uninterrupted sleep, you'll be much more likely to get some quality work done. If my son interrupts my sleep, I make it a point to take a short nap early in the day so that I don't start dragging come mid-afternoon.