Working from home can be rewarding but at the same time, it can become a burden. By having a plan and sticking to simple rules, you not only become more productive but also have more free time to enjoy life. Freedom and making myself a boss is some of the reasons I work from home. By following these working from home tips, I managed to improve the workflow and make the most out of my time.

Organize your workspace and time wisely early on

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Does your workspace look so tidy? Image via Flickr

When starting out as a work-from-home man or woman, you are feeling a bit lost. In the beginning, there is not so much to work on. Depending on the line of work, you strive to find new projects, employers to hire you and generally to be noticed. Yet, by the time you stand out from the crowd, jobs come pouring in. That is not the time to get organized! You are already late.

Instead of postponing or cancelling projects and missing deadlines to put things in order, you would better organize both your workspace and time beforehand. Organizing includes basics such as:

  1. A clutter-free desk. You need an office that gives you a warm welcome each time you sit down to work. Do not be afraid to spend on a good chair.
  2. Properly managing your work’s tools. If working from home means working on a computer, organize the hard disks and put everything in folders, so that you minimize the time searching for daily-used files!
  3. Using a task scheduler or organizer. Write down things like appointments and deadlines. Put emails into your To-Do list.

Do you need minimum and maximum weekly working hours?

Personally I love waking up very early in the morning, sometimes even in the night. I usually leave bed by 6AM but half of the times, the clock shows 4AM! Working from home can become difficult if you are having a family or generally, if you are not home alone. Still, even then, as long as you enjoy what you do for a living and are able to work in your pyjamas the minute you wake up, you will have no trouble waking up so early as a bachelor. For me sleep is just a necessary body function to fill my batteries with fresh energy and take a break from work; a break that I find too difficult to take under normal circumstances.

What happens after you wake up? Do you have a time schedule? How many hours are you going to work during the day? Do you feel 8 hours are enough to get things done? Should you split that time up into 4-hour or 2-hour sessions? How about setting maximum weekly working hours? Those are decisions you have to make right from the start.

In my opinion, setting working hours is a personal preference. I do not force myself into working specific hours per day or sticking to a 9-5 type of schedule. There are days when I do have a lot of work and find myself working throughout the day (and night), while there are also days when I can take the whole day off. Yes, working from home does entitle you to take days off, however it is too difficult to do it when your work is next to your living room!

Go with a plain time schedule and adjust accordingly as you move along.

Methods to avoid distractions while working from home

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How many distractions can you see? Image via Flickr.

One of the most common working from home tips is avoiding distractions. Visiting the kitchen too frequently for a snack, talking with your partner, watching TV, picking up non-work related phone calls, and even taking care of the garden are considered distractions. Besides, some of those distractions are also not good for your health, given work from home seldom puts you on your feet.

  • Leave those activities for your recreation time.
  • Do not answer phone calls that are not business-related while you are working.
  • Restrain yourself from leaving your workroom and always have a bottle of water close to you.
  • Talk to your partner, family members or other residents about your need to work undisturbed. If you do not discuss with them, how would they know the significance of quietness for you? Talk now, so that you avoid talking hundreds of times later!

Tips for computer eye strain relief

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Computer eyewear by Gunnar.

This is a bonus working from home tip, in case your work puts you in front of a computer screen for hours like me. You may have heard of computer glasses. These are similar to normal pairs of glasses, although you wear them only when working on a computer. Their job is to protect and relax your eyes, so that you do not feel so tired by looking at the screen for so long hours.

Yet another solution comes free!

F.lux is a free software that installs in your computer and runs automatically on boot. It identifies your time zone and adjust monitor’s colors and temperature according to the sunlight. Depending on the artificial light you have in your room after sunset or during night, you can further fine-tune the color adjustments for an even more pleasant working environment. Allegedly, you can sleep better by using F.lux, but I have not noticed a difference to tell you the truth.

[box type=”download” ]Download the software from the F.lux website and find out yourself.[/box]

Those are four working from home tips that have helped me take on more jobs, improve my working conditions and spend less time on time-consuming chores. By eliminating activities that you do regularly and automating others, you produce more and better results. Alternatively, you can keep your production rate unchanged but have more free time for yourself and your family.

What other working from home tips would you suggest to a beginner? Let me know in the comments below.

Image via Flickr

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