As we have discussed on this blog before, working from home as a writer or running an online business comes with plenty of great benefits, but it is also a lot harder than many people think. As we head into the peak summer season, there are more distractions than ever to try and tempt us away from our home offices, and it can become even more important to have a good routine, stay disciplined about when and how long you work for, and to ensure the people around you understand that when you are working, you really are working. Here are some tips:
If You Want to Change Your Routine, Plan It
You may decide that you want to take advantage of the light mornings and evenings and start earlier or work later so you have some time during the day to do other things, like head to the beach or look after kids who are on their summer holidays. This can be a good idea, but can easily lead to reduced productivity if you don’t plan the switch to the new schedule properly and stick to a proper new routine. Rather than randomly deciding to take three hours off one afternoon to sunbathe or take your kids swimming, with the understanding that you will make up the time in the evening, it is generally better to properly plot out your day or even your week with hours when you absolutely must be at your desk working, so you don’t find yourself making too many regular unplanned diversions from the routine you need to get your work done, meet your deadlines and make enough money.
Remember that you also need your clients to be aware of your planned working times. If you have clients who expect you to be contactable via email or Skype during normal office hours, it will cause problems if you start regularly taking the odd few hours off here and there without notifying them. If your work tends to be more flexible and as long as you get things done by deadlines nobody minds what hours you work, then you can use this to vary your patterns as you want to, but always make sure you stay organised.
Remind Family and Friends of Your Work Commitments
In summer, you may find that even more than usual your family and friends forget that while you may be at home all day, you still need to be working and aren’t therefore free to drop everything and go and do stuff with them or have them over for leisurely cups of coffee whenever they feel like company. When they have holiday time from their own work or study, they may feel like you too are on holiday and can therefore be available for all kinds of fun sounding, tempting things, so remind them that you have a job to do and you can’t do it with constant distractions. This also applies to your kids if they are bothering you to take them places on their summer break from school.
Summer can be a great time to work from home as you do have slightly more flexibility to enjoy the season than those who work in offices or other business sites, but you need to keep distractions and temptations to get away from your work to a minimum for your own productivity and sanity!