9 daily habits that will make you more productive while working from home
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If you’re an entrepreneur working from a home office, staying productive can be tough, especially if you have a partner, kids, or pets vying for your attention. I have found, however, that a few strategies, applied consistently, will help you get the most out of this newly popular residential/business hybrid structure.
1. Create a dedicated workspace
One of the best ways to increase productivity at home is to have a cohesive space where you can feel comfortable working for long periods of time. An extra bedroom with a door is ideal, but a table in a quiet corner can do just fine. Make sure the desk, chair, and computer monitor are all at comfortable heights and, if possible, invest in the following:
• A standing or sit-stand desk
• Noise canceling headphones
• An ergonomic chair, keyboard and mouse
• A second monitor
2. Dress for the day
Your appearance has an impact on how you feel, as well as how you perform at work. So instead of working in pajamas, make an effort to get dressed. You’ll feel ready to take on the day, be ready for any video call, and accomplish more.
Related: Cut back on these 10 work-from-home habits to boost productivity
3. Set Regular Hours
While a flexible schedule can be a big benefit for a remote organization, it can also be a pathway to overwork, which leads to burnout. Consider setting regular hours and letting family and friends know when you’d rather not be disturbed. It’s also helpful to include a special “focus” time in your calendar where you don’t look at to-do lists, emails, or your phone, but focus on completing a task until until it is over. Then move on to the second task, and so on.
4. Take micro-breaks
Taking regular breaks throughout the day can help increase productivity. Take a short walk, grab something to drink, listen to a podcast, or do a quick chore to reset your mind and/or move your body. Even stepping away for five minutes between projects, calls, or tasks can be enough — just resist the urge to check emails or group notifications so you can return to work with renewed focus.
Related: Why do you need a remote work schedule
5. Clear clutter
Being organized not only helps you find what you need when you need it, but it also promotes feelings of better overall control. If having a cluttered workspace is distracting, buy simple storage options like a filing cabinet, shelves for books and binders, or baskets and bins for small items.
6. Use the right technology
Whether you work from home or on the go, there are plenty of free and paid productivity tools to improve workflow, record keeping, and communication. Here are a few:
• Edison Mail is an email application for Mac, iOS or Android that has a customizable interface that combines accounts. It offers an assistant, organizes messages and protects its users against SPAM, among many other features that collectively produce a much improved messaging experience.
• FreshBooks makes it easy to know how your business is performing and makes it easy to make proposals, time tracking, invoicing, accounting, reporting, mileage tracking, and more.
• Google Workspace lets you store and share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations securely from your computer or phone, so you can work from anywhere.
7. Outsource if possible
When done correctly, outsourcing is a great way to increase productivity and reduce stress. For example, if you struggle to keep up with administrative tasks, a virtual assistant can handle scheduling, customer service, and even social media marketing. Another option is an accountant to keep the finances in order.
8. Track tax deductions
You can reduce taxes by tracking deductible (seemingly ever-changing) business and home office expenses. Just a few that you may be eligible to claim on your return:
• Rent, utilities and insurance — the first two depend on the size of the home office.
• Business travel expenses such as airfare, hotels and ground transportation.
• Vehicle expenses, based on the mileage required for business purposes.
• Supplies and equipment such as computers, telephones, printer ink/toner and paper.
• Professional services for marketing, accounting, consulting and legal matters.
Related: Main tax tools for solopreneurs
9. Have the right insurance
Your productivity could come to a complete halt if you suffer an emergency, natural disaster or lawsuit and you don’t have adequate insurance. Some types to consider:
• Commercial auto insurance covers bodily injury and civil liability for vehicles used for business purposes. Depending on your needs, you can add an endorsement to an existing car policy or purchase a new one.
• Home Insurance covers damage or theft of items such as inventory and equipment. You can purchase a separate commercial policy or add an endorsement to your existing homeowner or tenant policy.
• Business interruption insurance covers loss of income if your business suffers damage due to a covered event such as fire, storm or theft.
• Professional liability insurance – or errors and omissions (E&O) – provides protection if you make a mistake and are sued for negligence or faulty work.
If you’re not sure what type(s) of insurance is needed for your home business, talk to an agent.
Related: 5 Insurance Policies Every Solopreneur Should Have