If you ask most folks, people who get to work from home are living the dream. If you're one of the millions of Americans who spends some or all of the time working in a home office, however, you know that working from home just as easily can be a nightmare, too. Especially if you lack time management skills or self-motivation.
"Working from home allows you control, but with that control means your results are tied to your work ethic," explains Entrepreneur.com contributor Kimanzi Constable. "You have been used to having someone tell you how to spend your 'working' hours. When you punched the clock, you had clear expectations for what you would accomplish during that day. When you work from home, no one is telling you what to do. That means you are responsible for your time -- for maybe the first time in your life."
Constable is right: The key to being a successful work-from-homer is being a master of your time.
Start by planning your days. "It's amazing and kind of scary how many [remote workers] try to 'wing it.' There is no plan for how you'll use your time and for what tasks you need to accomplish," Constable says. "A plan and a list of tasks helps you accomplish your major goals. The good thing is we live in a time with many tools and software. You can download an app or use software for your desktop or laptop. Take advantage of the tools and use them to get organized. Organization is crucial to your productivity."
Another smart way to tackle working from home is to work in "sprints." "It's easy to get distracted when you're at home. Netflix is calling to you. Social media is asking for your time. Emails, unexpected errands, and a hundred other distractions can suck you into a black hole of unproductively," Constable continues. "Remember, no one is telling you what to do with that time. There is power in working in blocks. You set a specific period of time to work. Make it realistic. You work for an hour and then take a 15-minute break or whatever sequence works for you. Work hard during that block and reward yourself with a break."
And finally, cut yourself some slack. "There will be days when you're on fire and days when you don't get much done," Constable concludes. "If you have put a plan in place and have figured out your blocks, cut yourself some slack when you have an off day."
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