Telecommuting – 5 Ways to Stay Focused


I spend equal time between an office and telecommuting from my home. Although I did not know it at the time, telecommuting and working out of the home in general takes a lot of work to keep focused. Here is a little of what I have learned and I hope it helps other fellow telecommuters.

5. Do not change your dress and morning habits: One of the appealing things about working from the home is that you can go to work in your ‘jammies. You can also¬†wake up just before work, you can decide not to take a shower, or not eat breakfast, or half a million other things.

Your morning is what primes your work engine. So get up at the same time you normally do, spend the commute time getting ready for work, plan out your day, work out perhaps, take a shower, etc. This was the hardest lesson for myself to learn. I noticed that when I began to actually take pride in my mornings the quality of my work started to increase. I also noticed that I was able to finish my work sooner. So, keep your morning routine and even take some of that extra time to refine it a bit.

4. Have set work hours: If you think that you can spend all day working… well you are right. Since you have all your work at home you can spend the whole time working if you wanted. Problems with this is it blurs the lines between work and home life. It destroys your focus and can make seemingly easy assignments take forever to finish.

3. Work time is work time: Telecommuters and work at homers have very flexible hours. If you have an emergency you get out and get it done. Which is an excellent perk, but easily abused.

With your set work hours you need to make sure that work is work and, conversely, not work hours are for not working. Keeping work and say house chores separate gives you a chance to recharge your batteries and not get sucked into work drudgery. I’ve had my own problems in this department. There have been days I have gone to get a cup of coffee and noticed the lawn needed mowing.

Instead of working I grabbed the lawn mower and mowed the lawn. Doing things other than work during your work hours leads to distraction, disrupts your workday, and forces you to work longer hours.

2. Keep your work environment work related: If you have an extra room in your home, make it an office. Make sure it has a door so you don’t have to think about it during your off hours. Your work computer should be for work, ie remove the games, the hobbies, and the non-work related social crud. Not only will it keep you focused on what you need to get done, but it gives you something to look forward to.

1. Don’t be a hermit! One of the biggest problems with telecommuting, well my biggest problem, is the disconnect between myself and my colleagues. There is a certain sort of creative energy and camaraderie that happens when you have a group of people together. So how to combat this problem? Cell, Skype, four different types of instant messengers, collaboration tools, video conferences, I go the whole nine. Previously, I talked about Jellies and if you have one in your area, check it out.

Well I hope this brief list helps in your own endeavors. Till the next time, Happy hosting!

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