On paper, home-based employment is awesome! You’re spared the stress and time of commuting, you never have to worry about being late, you’re free of being mired in the gossip and chatter of the workplace and worrying about how you’re going to explain to your boss that you were stuck in a traffic jam is a thing of the past!

Many who work in digital realms, (even temporarily grounded digital nomads) choose to opt for a home office environment rather than hot desking or paying huge overheads for a little office space. Yes, for many reasons it can be a blessing to work from home. But, like any perceived blessing, working from home is a real double edged sword.

The home environment is not always one that’s conducive to productivity and it’s important to remain on-task and engaged when you need to be. We all have less than pleasant memories of staying up until 4am frantically typing away at college papers. It’s not something many of us are keen to repeat, although it’s exactly what could happen in the face of a looming deadline if you find yourself distracted or waylaid easily.

Here are some tips for staying motivated and keeping distraction at bay…

Create a dedicated home office space

You need a space that’s entirely dedicated to working. It should be comfortable, ideally sunlit and filled with the accoutrements to facilitate productive working. We’re not saying you should fork out big bucks for a complete overhaul but at the very least you should have:

  • A desk
  • A comfortable office chair (working from the sofa is not recommended).
  • Access to a wall socket (you don’t want to have to relocate if your laptop runs out of juice).
  • Serene decorations (think houseplants and motivational posters but nothing too distracting).
  • Post-it notes or magnet stickers with notes attached (because we all need reminding).
  • A pad and pen (because you never know when you’ll be struck by inspiration).
  • Quiet (there are many different ways to soundproof a room, but you could do without the distraction of nearby roadworks or the hollering of next door’s kids).

Set goals and reward productivity

While you should avoid distractions, you should also reward spurts of productivity. Every day you should set yourself an achievable goal and a realistic time by which to have accomplished it.

You should also allot specific times to giving yourself a reward for your productivity and the chances are good that you’ll fill that time with productive working. Giving yourself a little snack or a cup of coffee while you work gives you something to work towards and setting achievable goals throughout the day will help you mark the time as well.

Don’t be afraid to take a break

While productivity is important, there’s nothing productive about staring at a blank screen. Creative block is inevitable and should be planned for (especially if you’re a writer). Don’t be afraid to allot yourself a 15-30 minute margin so that you can go for a walk (a great way to get your mind working as your body moves) or grab a coffee and listen to some music.

Not only will it make you more productive, it will make your day a whole lot more pleasant, too!

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