One of the advantages of being self-employed is the ability to work from home. No 1-2 hour traffic commutes. No long public transportation rides. More time spent with or close to your family. Ahhh. It’s the life.
But there’s a caveat when working from home. It can become a little too comfy and cozy. You’re still running a business, and as such, you need to treat your home office, and your activities in it, like a business. Here are some tips for keeping productivity high when you get to work in your PJs all day.
- Don’t work in your PJs all day. The way you dress has a profound impact on how you act during the day. It will subtly affect how you talk on the phone, how you sit at your desk, and the mindset you have when you go to work. So do at home what you would do if you went to an office. Shower, brush you teeth, put on your clothes, then go to work.
- Create physical boundaries. Make sure your workspace at home has actual physical boundaries. If you meet clients at your home, an ideal solution would be a finished basement or home attachment with a separate door to the outside. But if you don’t have that, at least have an autonomous room with its own separate internal door. Do not set aside a corner in your bedroom or living room as your office. In fact, if I’m not mistaken, in order to legally write-off a portion of your home for business use, that portion needs to be 100% used for business use.
- Create family boundaries. If you have other family members at home with you, make sure they understand that when you’re in your office, you’re at work and not to be disturbed. Put a DO NOT DISTURB sign on your door if you have to. If you’re really creative and good with electronics, get an “On Air” or “Filming in Progress” red light to hang outside your door.
- Bring a lunch. This is a tip my good buddy Chris P. Jones (an award-winning videographer and co-founder of InFocus) has suggested for improving productivity. Instead of getting up from your desk every now and then to get a snack or make lunch, make it ahead of time and bring it to your office. This is particularly helpful if you’re working hard to get out from under a backlog.
- Create work boundaries. If during the day you’re being Mr. or Ms. CEO and cannot be disturbed, on the flip side, when you get off work, give your family the time and attention they deserve. It can be really tempting to go running downstairs or across the hall to check e-mail or finish an edit. Don’t. (I know this last statement will fall on deaf ears. But you can’t say no one ever told you.)
For all your home-workers out there, what other tips do you have for keeping your work-life balance, balanced?