There’s nothing quite as lovely as doing work…in your pajamas. Working from home is a luxury that never quite gets old for an office gal like me. Of course, there are some people who enjoy their sweatpants and laptop every day. But I think anyone who has ever worked on a deadline from home can agree on something – how do I stay on task?
With the lure of a television, a comfy couch, and the all-you-can-eat buffet that is your fridge, it can be hard to want to do work. Spreadsheets and InDesign files just don’t seem as bearable as they do in the office. But with deadlines due, you have to find a way to get the work done no matter where you are.
Maintain your morning routine
Even though we all love staying in our pajamas and waiting until 10 to make a delicious brunch, that’s not going to do anything to keep you productive. To move your brain into work mode – without the commute – make sure to wash your face, brush your teeth, and eat breakfast around your normal time. The familiar routine will prepare your brain for work, but you can keep your pajamas on if you really want.
Work at home, then play
The temptation to have fun at home – TV, social media, bubble bath – is a lot. So the reward system has to come into play. By focusing on work first, those rewards will all come at the end. Nothing makes an episode of Law & Order: SVU feel quite as rewarding as when it’s preceded with hours of productive work. And if you can get all your work done before 5pm? Well, now you’re already home and can reap the reward all that much sooner.
Stick to a schedule
When we walk into the office we all have a schedule we stick to. Finish this before 10, then move to this, eat lunch, finish that, reply to emails, go home. It’s how we make it through the day. And just because you are home doesn’t mean you don’t have to stick to a schedule. Start your day deciding what you are going to do, when you are going to do it, and stick with it. Put time in that schedule for home activities too. 9AM conference call. 10AM number analysis. 11AM laundry. Make it work for you.
Create a workstation
The best thing you can do to stay on task is create a workspace for yourself in your home. Not too hard if you have a home office, but if you have a tiny apartment like me there isn’t a lot of room for a desk. Find a space that inspires productivity and creativity and isn’t full of distractions. Recently I’ve been using my breakfast bar as a standing desk and have found it to be a great spot to focus. Also don’t be afraid to run to a coffee shop. Do what is right for you.