Five habits of successful women who work from home

Fancy the idea of working from home, but worry your productivity may drop? Read the five habits of successful women who make homeworking work.

Whether you’re an employee, freelancer or run your own business, it’s easy to see the attraction of working from home. No commute, more flexible hours, and the ability to be around your children and work.

But working from home has its downsides too. With no manager peering over your shoulder, and the new temptation of the fridge, TV or even housework, it’s easy to get distracted and watch your productivity fall.

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Five habits of successful women who work from home

To help you make homeworking work for you, here are five habits of successful women who work from home.

1) Establish your work space

When you’re working from home, try to set up an office-type work environment to help set boundaries for you and your family – and let them know that it’s not good to interrupt you when you are working (unless it’s an emergency).

It’s also all too easy to get distracted when working from home, and having a designated office space inspires you to treat it more like an actual office. When you sit down at your work-from-home desk, your business mindset kicks in and you can focus better.

For that very reason, try not to get into the habit of working in your pyjamas or gym gear either. If you’re wearing ‘work’ clothes, you’ll find it easier to adopt a work frame of mind.

2) Set up a routine

Part of the joy of working from home is having more flexibility to be there for your kids and family, so include them in any routine you create – and don’t be afraid to take breaks.

Take a look at your weekly schedule and plan clearly defined work periods, and time to stop working. And make sure you really do STOP. If you stop at 5pm to cook dinner, make a point of closing your laptop and switching your phone off (or on silent).

Be present and involved in the task you are doing, and give your full attention to your kids when it’s ‘their’ time. Then give you work the same devotion when it’s time to get back to it.

Breaks are also an important part of your working day. You get breaks at the office and you should have them at home, too. That may be walking the dog, going to the gym or just sitting quietly in the garden. Make sure you get away from your work area, free your mind and get your body moving. If you do, you’ll be much more productive when you return to the tasks at hand.

A brilliant way to structure your day is to plan it around focus blocks – 90 minute chunks of highly efficient work time, followed by a break. (You can find out how to use focus blocks here.)

3) Invest in the right tools for the job

If you’re working from home, it’s essential that you ensure you have all the tools and equipment you need to be successful.

Depending on your industry, this could mean anything from installing a new phone line for work calls, to buying a fax machine or having extra cartridges of ink handy for the printer. (Nothing eats into an other-wise productive work day more than realising your printer has broken down halfway through printing out a vital document!)

One key tool that pretty much any homeworker needs today is a good broadband connection. You can find out how good yours is by using a speed test. If your broadband isn’t up to scratch, look around at other providers to see if anyone can improve it.

4) Prioritise

Prioritising the right tasks makes a huge difference to your work output every day. What needs to be done today, tomorrow, this week, this month? And don’t just look at how urgent tasks are, but also assess how important completing them is. Decluttering minor or redundant tasks will help keep your priorities from becoming problems.

A good way to get started is to identify three to five goals that you want to achieve in the next month. Then, on your daily to-do lists, ensure that you’re making progress on each of those long-term goals.

5) Meet your quotas

When you work from home you need to deliver the goods. Whether it’s keeping your freelance clients happy, meeting your business goals or proving to your employer you can achieve your quotas just as well from home, you need to make homeworking a success on every level.

So don’t lose sight of your targets and make sure you meet any quotas you or others have set you. And reap the full rewards of working from home.

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Liz Boyd has worked from home doing freelance writing and editing for years. Whether working for herself or other companies, she has enjoyed the freedom working from home provides. Her hobbies include reading, playing badminton and watching the weirdest documentaries she can find when she’s not too busy going to tiny Chicago venues for indie band concerts with friends.