How to Work From Home – Stop Procrastinating and Get Organized

Those of you who work from home would know that it’s nowhere near as easy as you thought it would be, or as everyone else thinks that it is!Being the sole person responsible for creating an income, sourcing clients, looking for support networks, juggling the kids and family is not only a huge responsibility but it can also be very scary and overwhelming! I’ve suffered anxiety on many occasions just by thinking about it.If you are not naturally an organised and disciplined person, working from home can be stressful and unrewarding. It’s easy to play on Facebook, go to lunch with a friend or lounge on the couch instead of building your business. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I get distracted with email, Facebook or 100 other things every day, but it’s how you deal with those interruptions that will determine what you end up achieving and the success of your business.If you follow these steps you will succeed in having a successful business, avoid overwhelm and make money!Create an ‘Outcome’ ListI used to have a traditional ‘To Do’ list, but now I’ve created a 3 column ‘Outcome’ List. I make my list for a week ahead and plan what I need to have done or started for clients during that week. So the first column is the client name, the second column is the outcome ie: Jill Smith, Set Up Facebook Page. Then the third column will be broken down into tasks or activities that need to be completed to achieve the desired outcome. Activities will have time frames or deadlines attached to them.For example for Jill Smith, Create Facebook Page the activities would be 1: Open Facebook Account, 2: Set up profile and update information, 3: Request Friends (by COB Monday). 4: Accept Friend Requests and Respond to Accepted Friend Invites (COB Tuesday) etc. etc. by the end of the week Jill has a fully functioning Facebook page. By completing smaller activities in ‘chunks’ the bigger goal has been achieved at the end.Plan Your Day – Before The DayI always sit down at the end of the day or week and plan what I would like to achieve the next day from my ‘Outcome’ list. This way I start the day fresh, knowing what actions I’m going to take and can just make a start. Not knowing where to start is a sure fire way to procrastinate and do something else!Always start the day doing something you enjoy as it will be much easier to make that start then get on a roll for the rest of the day.Time for Email
This is one area that I struggled with for quite a while but if you don’t sort it out your time will fly away. If you are anything like me and obsessed with email you will not want to just check emails once a day!Being a Virtual Assistant means I need to be accessible to my clients. I can’t be missing for long periods of time and email is the main mode of communication so I needed to find a way that worked for me.I have my emails set to send and receive automatically every 5 minutes. If you are quick to hit the ‘send’ button and then realise you sent it to the wrong person or forgot to attach that document (yes I’ve done that many times!) then it gives you time to correct the mistake. It also means that emails are coming in blocks and not all over the place. If 5 minutes is too close you can set it to 10 minutes blocks, or 30 minutes. Whatever suits your needs.Set up Desktop Notification. Each time an email is received you will receive a small summary box on your computer screen showing who the email is from and the subject. You can see this in the corner of your eye while still working without actually having to stop, open Outlook and waste time. This way you don’t feel like you are missing something important as you’ll see everything that comes through. The box automatically disappears after a few seconds.When responding to email, do this in a block, so if you have to reply to say 5 emails – save them all up and do it all at the same time. Don’t constantly go back and forward between programs and what you are working on as this wastes time and disrupts your train of thought.Boundaries for OthersOther people in your life need to know the boundaries which include children knowing when it’s time to play or family members knowing when to call for a chat. I don’t answer private calls when I’m working and have let my family and friends know not to call during working hours. I have only limited time during the day and 1 or 2 calls can mean losing 1/4 of my day chatting! Just because someone calls you, and wants to talk to you it doesn’t mean that you have to be available at that time. Have an answering service and return their call at your convenience.Even if customers or clients are calling you, set aside the time to make your calls and do them all at the same time then put the phone on silent or let it go to answering machine. Don’t let the phone constantly interrupt what you are working on.Set Aside ‘Me’ TimeDon’t forget to enjoy the benefits of working from home, which is the flexibility to sometimes take a break to have lunch with a friend, get your hair done, have a massage or just go for a walk. You deserve it! Who wants to spend 24/7 in the office? When you work from home that is what you have so you need to schedule ‘Me’ time.There is nothing like leaving the work environment to open the mind, release tension and even refresh yourself and give you new ideas you didn’t have beforehand.Balance Work and HomeSet aside a space specifically for your work activities, don’t have it strewn all across the house. You need to have a ‘work’ mindset when you walk into the space and a ‘home’ mindset when you walk out of it.Set yourself work hours, like you would if you went to a traditional job but make sure it’s something that works for you and your family, after all that is one of the benefits of working from home. I’m a night owl and work best during the day when the kids are at school then late at night when they’ve gone to bed. I’ve learned that trying to work at 3:30pm just doesn’t work. The kids are home and want to be fed and watered, entertained and spoken to. They will only interrupt constantly and stress you out making a very unhappy household.Have time that is for work, and time that is for home and housework and all that other fun stuff. I have to admit though, a huge benefit of working from home is I can put the washing on before I start work, spend a few hours working then (if I don’t forget), take a break to hang it out later. But I never start cleaning the house or taking on the housework! You need to do what works for you, set a schedule and then stick to it (and remember to take breaks including lunch)Your EnvironmentYou need to feel good and unless you enjoy being in your office or wherever you work from, you will not want to be there.Make sure you have plenty of natural light and fresh air, it’s quiet, comfortable and the temperature just right.Remove anything that doesn’t need to be there, don’t accumulate clutter, kids toys, the washing etc. You won’t be able to concentrate on your business with a pile of washing screaming to be folded. They are only distractions and another reason to procrastinate.Avoid clutter and regularly spend 5-10 minutes getting your desk or area re-organised so you feel more in control, know where things are and have your tools of the trade handy.Feng Shui your environment. Check out The Prosperity Whisperer (theprosperitywhisperer dot com). Did you know that there are simple and highly effective life strategies that you can use, guaranteed to empower you to live the life that you dream of living?GratitudeBe grateful for what you have, working from home is a blessing and by having gratitude it will motivate you, after all who wants to go back to work for someone else?So now that you know all this there are no excuses. It’s not rocket science but by making small changes you can create huge benefits and you will feel fantastic!Start by creating your Outcome list and follow all these steps to create your success.

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