4 Ways to Develop a Home Office Routine

The following post is from Lisa of Working Naked:

source: Courtney Dirks

It took me a few years of working from home to figure out that I needed to follow some type of schedule. My schedule is flexible, but for the most part I work out early, take a shower, get dressed and make the 5-second commute to my home office.

There are days though when I head to my home office in my workout clothes, fully intending to exercise after I finish a blog post or two, and before I know it it’s noon. Does that sound familiar?

Working from home means you have the freedom to work when you want, wherever you want. Yet it’s important to get into a routine so you can be productive each day. These four tips are a good place to start.

Set a starting and ending time each day.

As much as possible, follow a schedule to keep your productivity high and your motivation strong. Otherwise you may not make it to your home office until after lunch. On the other hand, know in advance when you’re going to stop working so you don’t work all night and into the morning.
Also, listen to your internal clock. If you feel more productive in the morning, schedule your important tasks during that time. If you feel inspired after lunch to tackle big projects, schedule those tasks in the afternoon. I know it’s common sense to work during your productive time, but not everyone does it.

Be flexible.

When you work from home instead of in a corporate office, no one knows whether or not you’re following a certain schedule. That can be both good and bad. While it’s important to have a schedule, think of a schedule as a way to keep you focused without feeling confined. Your schedule may change a bit every day, so don’t get frustrated if you have a long list of tasks to accomplish and you’re only able to handle a few of them. You can make up for lost time the next day. The beauty of working from home is that you can set your own hours. Just remember that at times, those hours will change.

Schedule appointments with yourself.

If you’re facing a deadline for a large project and assume you’ll have time to work on it at some point, you’re less likely to accomplish anything. Instead, treat important projects and tasks the same way you would appointments, and keep them. Consider working from a coffee shop if you know you’ll get distracted at home.

Be realistic about how long each project will take.

While most of us would like to start and finish projects quickly, that’s not realistic. Most projects take twice as long as you think and sometimes cost twice as much as you budgeted. Build in a cushion for each project and you’re more likely to meet your deadlines.

Set routines intimidate some people, while others function well within certain time constraints. Find what works for you and focus on being productive. Your schedule may change every day but if you have a goal of when you want to start and finish working each day, you’re more likely to meet that goal.

What work routine do you follow every day?

Home office expert Lisa Kanarek is the founder of WorkingNaked.com and the author of five books about working from home, including Organize Your Home Office For Success. Lisa works with entrepreneurs and home-based employees through seminars and individual consultations, to create functional home offices that meet each individual’s working style.
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