Last week my daughter’s homework was to find out about my husband’s and my jobs. Part of the assignment included how far our commutes to work are. My husband’s commute takes an hour and a half each way. Mine takes 30 seconds. That’s right…from bed to office…(via the bathroom, of course). That’s the perk of working from home. No petrol costs, no break-down cover to organise, no traffic jams. It’s a nice position to be in, but it’s got its down-sides too.
Anyone who works from home will tell you that it has its own special set of dilemmas and difficulties. One of the unexpected ones that I found was a trap that probably many people encounter when they are first starting out working from home. It was a lack of formal start and end to the work day. This is the flip-side of being able to make your own flexible hours. Let’s face it, the thought of working at home in your pyjamas sounds fun! I must confess that I was guilty of doing this when I started out. I didn’t push myself to get ‘dressed for work’ because, well, frankly, I didn’t have to! It took a good few months before I realised that I was actually hurting my productivity. Whether you work at home or in an office, you have to be in the right frame of mind to achieve your potential. Let me tell you, it’s hard to be in the right frame of mind if you’re figuratively (and sometimes literally!) still in your pyjamas. I wised up to this and things started going better.
I still found that there seemed to be little separation between my work day and home-time though, so I decided to start treating my *job* like a…(gasp) JOB! (I know, shocking, isn’t it?) One thing that I started doing was building in a ‘commute’ to work. For me, this is taking the kids to school. Sometimes we walk and sometimes I drive. But either way, I find that if I don’t do this, psychologically I haven’t ‘come to work’. If the kids are off from school, I have found that the relaxed atmosphere sometimes makes it difficult for me to get into the swing of my work-day, so if I can, I go for a walk around the block to signal that I’m going to work. This ritual allows me to focus my mind (particularly on my way back to the house when I am by myself). I can start thinking about what is on my to-do list and plan for the day. It’s a small change, but it has made a big difference for me.
So how about you? Do you have any rituals or traditions that help you get into the right frame of mind to be productive at work? Leave me a comment below and tell me about it. Looking forward to hearing all your great tips!