By Rhonda Campbell
These work from home tips are based on years of firsthand experience. The tips could increase your profits, productivity and job satisfaction. One more huge plus — these tips could reduce your stress.
You already know that flexibility, the end of long commutes and the chance to achieve real work life balance are reasons why you and millions of other adults work from home. But, that doesn’t mean that working from home doesn’t come with challenges.
Why you need work from home tips
If you’re a working mother, you’ve felt the frustration of being asked to run errands, help with homework or babysit, all during your normal work hours. Just because you turned on your computer at home, people think they can give you projects to do for them.
Add these work from home tips to your day and you could see challenges disappear. For starters (this is really important), tell your family and friends that you’re working from home, actually working. You might tell them about projects that you are working on and how important it is that you complete the projects on time. Other work from home tips that work with this all important step are:
- Post your work schedule on the refrigerator
- List out projects that you are working at on a small chalkboard you’ve hung on your office door
- Let your answering machine take phone messages while you’re working
- Stop running minor errands during work hours
- Stay on track with tools like IDoneThis (https://idonethis.com)
- Upload finished projects into cloud software like DropBox (https://www.dropbox.com) or Trello (https://trello.com) to keep yourself honest, to encourage yourself to actually finish a certain number of projects each day.
Your work from home habits could increase or hurt your earnings
Other work from home tips have more to do with you, your routines and your mindset. Speaking of routines, make sure that you develop one. Set a start time, periods when you will take short five minute breaks and a 30 or 60 minute lunch break. Be clear about when you will end your day. If you don’t, you mind end up working damn near all the time. More about this below, and I hope you really pay attention.
Routine is where things can get tricky. If you don’t set and stick to a routine, you could go hours without taking a break (unless your bladder literally forces you to get up and go to the bathroom). Lunch might become a thing of the past and you could start working longer, even until the late evening.
More work from home tips are:
- Get to know IT contacts. You may have found that your computer speed has slowed since you started telecommuting. Of all the work from home tips, this one could save you the most time, fits of impatience and outright anger. To keep your computer operating at an optimum level, avoid visiting websites that are riddled with ads, spam and cookies. Many companies have software that will block you from visiting the worst sites. You can also speed up your PC by clearing the cache files and only having a few documents and websites open at the same time.
- Another thing – don’t let other people use your PC. If you worked at an office, you wouldn’t give this a second thought.
- Figure out how much you are making by the hour. If you are paid $5,000 for a project and spend 300 hours to complete the project (about 2.5 months), you’re making $16.67 an Raise your rates to keep your hourly wage competitive.
- Do your homework. Find out what other people in your industry are earning. It doesn’t matter if the people work from home or not. Just find out what the top, average and low wage ranges are. Assess your skills. Make sure that you are competitively paid for your skill level.
- Continue to learn. Increase your skill level; negotiate to increase your wages.
- Advertise your services. Keep your rates competitive. Working cheap is only going to attract clients who don’t think they should pay you well.
- If you work from home for a corporation or other employer, visit your home office a few times a year. This can prevent you from feeling disconnected from colleagues and leadership. It could also keep your relationships with peers and supervisors strong.
- Participate in online events that influence your industry. This keeps you connected.
- Install comfortable furniture and equipment at your home office. If your keyboard is too high or too low due to your chair being the wrong height for your desk, your neck and back could start to ache.
- Eat healthy. You need energy to stay focused, brainstorm and create ideas.
- Yes! You’re glad that you could say “good bye” to that long commute to work, but that commute forced you to walk to and from your car or the train or bus station. Working at the office also required you to walk hallways and outside to pick up lunch. Make sure that you replace that activity by being mobile at home. Definitely, exercise for at least 30 to 45 minutes a day.
- Sleep well. The brain needs to refresh. A good night of 8 to 9 hours of sleep is great for this. You might even want to wear an exercise wristband to measure how much deep sleep you get each night.
In addition to the above work from home tips, ensure that you stay in touch with relatives and friends. Spend time with friends and relatives on weekends. Don’t give into the temptation to work on weekends simply because you work from home. Also, monitor your productivity and eliminate distractions. This includes turning off the television, only checking work emails, not snacking needlessly and not surfing the web or reading social media posts.
Tools for people like you who want to earn more money while you work from home:
- Sqwiggle (https://www.sqwiggle.com) – Great for video conversations (Only use Sqwiggle when you absolutely have to. Avoid turning it into a distraction.)
- Expensify (https://www.expensify.com) – Helps with expense tracking
- Focus Time (http://focustimeapp.com) – Track your activities
- Rescue Time (https://www.rescuetime.com) – Track how you’re using your time