Productivity: it's the amount of work you get done based on the time, effort and energy spent. When you're working from home, there seem to be distractions everywhere that can kill your productivity. Here are a few to watch out for:
Yes, yes - we all love kids, but let's face it: they are distracting and can really reduce your productivity. Set aside blocks of time when you need to do serious work, and arrange to do this work child-free. You can either do this when your kids are at school, or if your kids are little, hire a babysitter. It's worth it; you will produce so much more when the kids are having fun elsewhere, that you'll be a better mom when they return home.
2. Phone Calls
Phone calls can be part of your work, and you may even have phone calls on your to-do list. But, what about the personal phone calls that you will inevitably get as a work-at-home mom? Jennifer from down the street who loves to chat, Aunt Linda who just wants someone to talk to - before you know it, an hour has passed and you have accomplished nothing.
Create a system that works for you. You can decide to let the phone ring unless you're taking a scheduled break. If that's just too hard to do, turn the ringer off. Setting limits on your personal phone conversations will do great things for your productivity.
Email is another two-edged sword when it comes to working at home. Much of work at home work may involve email. However, most of us get tons of email with no relevance to work, whether it's from relatives, myriad amounts of forwards, ads, or something else. It doesn't take much thought to realize that if you're checking email each time a new one comes in, your productivity will suffer as a result.
As with phone calls, create a system that works for you. Try checking email just (gasp!) three times a day - when you wake up, at noon, and before going to bed. Chances are the world won't end because you took an extra few hours to read the latest forward with cute animal pictures.
Another option is to use an egg timer to limit time surfing the web or reading emails. When the sand is through the timer, it's back to work.
4. Being at Home
It's true: just the fact that you're working from home can be tough on productivity. After all, home is where you can relax and do what you want, right?
Well - not exactly, if you want to accomplish something. It's wise to set up a schedule that works for you. Make sure you schedule in breaks throughout the day. During these times, you can make phone calls, check email, clean, turn on the television - whatever you like to do at home.
Just knowing that you have breaks to look forward to can help you be more productive the rest of the time.
Working at home isn't for everyone, but if you can keep distractions to a minimum, it can be a wonderful option.
Susan Braun is a freelance writer living with her husband, three daughters, 2 rabbits, 2 gerbils and hedgehog in Indiana. She writes at girlsinwhitedresses.wordpress.com and Associated Content.