Working from home can be a blessing and a curse. You have the opportunity to work in your own environment and control your time while getting your job done. But you also have to find a way to be super disciplined to stay productive. And then there's balance. How do you find a balance between work and your personal life when the two are intertwined? These tips will help:
Separate work space from living space
It can be very difficult to be productive when your work and personal life are always fighting for space. It's important to create a workspace that is completely separate from your living space in order to have not only a physical boundary, but a psychological one as well.
Ideally, you will have a separate room you can turn into an office so you can institute a closed door policy. But if you don't, there are still ways to create separation. Try creating a room divider with a folding screen, a curtain, or strategically placed furniture.
Get your family on board
When you work from home, it often becomes a family affair. This is because most people who have home offices tend to work non-traditional hours and, despite their best efforts, work and life can become intermingled.
Create boundaries by setting a consistent work schedule, speaking with family members about expectations (noise, interruptions, etc.) during your work hours, and making sure your workspace remains for work only.
When you are juggling work and your personal life in your home, organization becomes very important. You don't want your office or workspace to become the location where mail, school papers, and other "stuff" accumulates. This will only slow down your progress when it comes time to focus on work.
Make sure you stay both physically and digitally organized. Keeping your computer files in good order is just as important as creating a system for physical organization. Think about your work preferences, and then create (and stick to) an organizational system that makes productivity come naturally.
Whether it’s screaming children, noisy pets, a constantly ringing phone or if you can't stop thinking about the pile of dishes in the sink or laundry that need to be done, distractions are a killer. To manage these distractions and remain productive, you need to be able to ignore everything and focus only on work. Try keeping the door closed, playing calming music in the background, and working in chunks of focused work time followed by short breaks.
And let's not forget about one big distraction we all face -- social media. Keep this and other online distractions to a minimum by limiting social media and web browsing to your breaks.
Working from home while keeping your work relatively separated from your personal life takes consistent effort. But once you figure out what tricks work best for you, you really can have the best of both worlds.
Want to learn more? Read Alyssa Gregory's last article: Five ways to beef up your entrepreneurial skills
Alyssa Gregory is a digital strategist, content marketer and small business consultant with more than 15 years of experience helping businesses reach and engage with their target audience. In 2011, she founded the Small Business Bonfire, an online community for small business owners that also includes a blog and weekly small business newsletter with actionable tips and advice.