Tsue ~ That's What She Said: Mom Tips: Productive Home Office Techniques

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mom Tips: Productive Home Office Techniques

Most of my professional career, I've worked outside the home. Although this traditional career path presented both benefits and challenges while raising two children and striving to capture the best of both worlds, the transition to working from home has come with its own unique set of hurdles and advantages.

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Although I enjoyed the connection with colleagues and the separation of work and family life that was so specifically defined by working outside the home, with an aggressive work schedule, I often found myself in conflict between my family commitments when last minute work obligations arose, as they did frequently.  Once home, I found it took time to transition from work to family mode, further reducing precious time with my family.

Certainly, working from home presents its own unique benefits and challenges, among them the converse degree of isolation and blended boundaries defining work and family time.  On the whole, I much prefer the benefits of being more available to my family, particularly in looking ahead as the precious childhood years wan and my children move toward their own independence.

After undertaking the dramatic transition to working from home, despite considering myself quite disciplined in my previous career, I found it necessary to become even more diligent in my efforts to stay on schedule and task, the level and frequency of welcomed distraction always beckoning.

Quick to acknowledge I am yet in the process of fine-tuning my home work schedule and determining a system that is both the most pleasant and productive for my new efforts, I have discovered a number of tricks and tips to assist me in staying on task and maximizing the amount of quality time I may enjoy with my family.

Maximizing Productivity While Working At Home

Define Your Work Space.
Set up an office space for yourself if one does not already exist.  Ideally, your space should be only used as your office and will offer the advantage of being closed to the rest of your home.  Although you may find it difficult to close your office door, during heavy work periods, this door will serve as a reminder to both you and your family that you are "at work".

Stock Your Work Space.
Consider the items you will need to stay productive and either stock your office with them or purchase duplicates for use exclusively in your office, eliminating the need and temptation of disrupting your efforts while you leave the sanctuary of your office to retrieve supplies from other areas in your home. 

Make A Schedule.
Working at home offers the benefit of a much more flexible schedule of working hours than traditional work outside the home.  Even so, we are creatures of habit.  Establishing consistent patterns and habits early can be a tremendous boon to your productivity.  In establishing your work schedule, consider the time you will want to be available to your family, as well as times of day in which you are most alert and productive.  Clearly define your work schedule to your family to prevent unnecessary interruptions, explaining that fewer interruptions equate to more family time in your "off work" hours.

Pattern Your Work Day.
On the whole, it is best to tackle your most challenging projects early in the work day, when your mind is alert and energy level is high.  Save tasks that hold the ability to engage more time than necessary for the end of our work day when you will be more motivated to move through them quickly.

Take A Break.
Work pattern studies indicate that ideal productivity levels are reached consistently when one allows for short, frequent breaks throughout the work day, with the most benefit gained from a ten minute break each hour.  Step away from your work, exercise or stretch, grab a healthy snack or pop over to a non work site to shop or play a distracting game, such as partybingo.com.  You'll return to your work refreshed and ready to move effectively through the balance of your work day, with energy left for your family during your special time together.

Do you work in or outside the home?
What are the challenges you face?
Do you have any tips to share?
Tell me in a comment below!  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

The opinions above are both honest and of my own experiences.  Disclosure Policy.


Pam said...

One of my challenges of working at home is having people set things on my computer when they want my attention. Very distracting! Although I am sure that is what they want.

Crystal Threeprncs said...

Great tips! My husband and kids are distracting, but than again, that is why I prefer to work from home :)

Grace Hodgin said...

I work at home during the week and don't have any problems but then I'm home alone. Thanks for all the suggestions.

Melanie a/k/a CrazyMom said...

wonderful tips for working from home; I do both I work from home and have an office during the week. This was very helpful; thanks for sharing

Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz said...

I love working at home but I agree that the transition was hard. I do find myself having trouble concentrating and being as productive now that I work at home. We are moving (on Monday!) and one of my requirements for the new home was a separate area where my husband and I could have our work space, as opposed to having a desk in a corner of the living room! Really looking forward to my new home office. Thanks so much for your wonderful advice, just what I needed!!

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