You’ve already gotten over the biggest hurdle: landing a telecommuting job that gives you the work-life balance that you always craved. But did you know that the state of your home office might actually be hampering your productivity? It’s important for your home office to always function at its best. After all, lost productivity can mean spending extra (and unnecessary) hours working away when you could be enjoying that precious time with your kids. Here are five ways to make your home office (and in turn, you) more productive.
Light It Up
A brightly lit room has been proven to positively impact productivity in workers. That’s why if you prefer to work in a darkened space, it can cause you to become sluggish and unmotivated. So if your home office has windows, be sure to let the light in. Not only will it help you prevent eyestrain, but you can also score some much-needed vitamin D from the sunlight. But if you prefer murkier conditions, make sure that you light up your space with lamps.
Keep It Professional
Your home office is within your home, so you may naturally want the area to blend in with the rest of your home’s décor. Thing is, you may find many unwanted elements slowly sneaking into your space, such as your kids’ finger paintings from school, as well as their toys. These items may prove to be a hindrance rather than a help, though. Try to keep only the items you’ll need to do your work in your office, and include only a few important items, such as a framed picture of your family, to put on your desk.
Clear the Clutter
Speaking of your desk, when was the last time you saw the surface of it? Shuffling papers, folders, and other office items can zap creative energy, as well as take up too much of your precious time. So make it a point to spend the last 15-20 minutes of your workday finishing tasks, putting items back in their proper places, and leaving your desk neat and tidy for tomorrow. You’ll be surprised how smoothly—and how much you’ll be able to get done the next day—when your office space is cleared of clutter.
Let’s say that you’ve been working tirelessly on a particular project. You may find that you need a little inspiration to keep yourself moving forward. Pick a personal item or memento that means a lot to you to keep on your desk. Or put a few inspirational quotes on your desktop or bulletin board to help you to see the light at the end of the tunnel—or at least until you can complete your project.
Transform Your Technology
You’ve had your third cup of coffee for the morning. You sit down at your desk, turn on your computer—and your Internet is slower than molasses. Virtually every work-from-home mom can tell you that there’s nothing more frustrating than when you’re pumped up to work, and your equipment poops out. If you can afford to get office equipment that can keep up with you, that’s great. But if you’re on a budget, you’ll need to find ways to make what you have work for you. Clearing out your computer and saving the bulk of your files to an external hard drive or to the cloud can help dramatically speed up your computer’s functions. And whenever possible, always opt to get the fastest Internet speed possible. Believe it or not, a slow connection can make your work-from-home job that much more difficult, drain your energy, and make you work double in order to compensate for the slow speed.