Jan 22, 2020 03:19 PM EST

Office Productivity: Top 4 Secrets to Avoid Wasting Time on the Clock

Office Productivity: Top 4 Secrets to Avoid Wasting Time on the Clock

(Photo : Office Productivity: Top 4 Secrets to Avoid Wasting Time on the Clock)

As the owner of a home-based business, you've experienced your fair share challenges. People tend to think that when you have your own business that it's smooth sailings... you have the freedom to work whenever you want, wherever you want, and as often as you want... Yes, home-based entrepreneurs have that freedom but if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you can't just sit and literally work when you feel like it... you are running a business and if you want to make money, you have to have a level of commitment and treat like any other job you HAVE to work for.

Whether you commute to an office or run a business from home, there are certain challenges that one career route faces that the other doesn't face. In both career sectors, you're going to face the challenge of dealing with unhappy customers or clients; you're going to face the challenge of meeting tight deadlines; and you're going to face the challenge of trying to keep a healthy work-life balance. But out of all of those challenges, can you think of one challenge that all business sectors face?

If you guessed productivity, then you've guessed right. Whether you work for a company or are the owner of a company, productivity is a challenge that faces everyone who works. Now, the types of productivity challenges vary from person to person but nonetheless, the aspect of wasting time when you're supposed to be working is just something that's hard to avoid, especially if you run a home-based business.

What You Thought...

In order to run a home-based business, you, of course, need to have a killer business idea that meets people's needs and you also need to build an online store to actually conduct business on... but never did you think you needed a strategy to increase your productivity. You thought that running a business period, would have you busy enough but you didn't realize all the distractions you experience simply working in your home!

Distractions Home-Based Entrepreneurs Face

As an entrepreneur working from the comfort of your home, this could be a good thing and a bad thing. It's great because you can just wake up and go to work! But on the flip side, you're going to face distractions that you would never face if you had to commute to an office. Take a look at some of the biggest distractions that entrepreneurs face when working from home.

  • The need to clean up (wash dishes, do laundry, etc.)

  • The temptation to watch TV

  • Taking care of the kids (if you opted out of childcare)

  • The need to run errands

If you commuted to work, you wouldn't have the temptation to wash dishes because the dirty dishes wouldn't be in your sight. The saying of "out of sight, out of mind" really is a true statement if you think about it. Why else do you think office settings are plain and boring? It's because they want employees to be in an environment where they can be the most productive.

As someone whose office is their home office, you also need to make your home an environment where you can be the most productive when you work... just because you're working from home, you're still "on the clock" and need to conduct business accordingly. Follow these tips to increase your productivity as a home-based entrepreneur.

1. Prepare For the Next Day at the End of Your Workday

One of the worst things you can do to increase your productivity is start your day with no plan for the day. You can't just wake up and say "okay, what am I going to do for today?" You need to have a game plan in place as soon as you turn on your computer.

A good rule of thumb is to plan for the next day at the end of your workday. Once you've completed all the tasks you need to get done for the day, close out your day by jotting down what you need to do for the next day. On that list, you can also jot down the tasks that you didn't get done with that day and add them to the next day's to-do list.

2. Close Your Door

One of the quickest ways to avoid distractions is to close your door, especially when you take phone calls or just simply need to concentrate on something. From the sound of your refrigerator and AC running to the sound of the TV in the living room that your kids refuse to turn down, if you close your door, you can cut the sound distraction in half. Realistically speaking, you might still be able to hear some of the noise but it's nowhere near as loud as it would be if your door was open!

3. Take Necessary Breaks

Some people think that breaks are distractions but the reality of breaks is that they not only increase your productivity but they also help you make better decisions. Taking breaks is especially important if you work in front of a computer all day. Whether you choose to go for a walk or watch a little TV, you just need to do something to take your mind off of work.

If there's a time where you can't take a break, Psychology Today suggests switching up your tasks. If you're working on an account that's taking up too much of your time, start working on a different account and then come back to that account later in the workday.

4. Go to Bed Early to wake Up Early

Going to bed early might be easier said than done but it's an effort you need to try and make. One of the biggest distractions you can face is trying to not fall asleep "on the clock." If you go to bed early, you're going to be able to wake early and get more done in your workday. 

It doesn't have to be an immediate change to make, just try it out in small increments. For example, if you normally don't get in the bed (not necessarily sleeping, just in the bed) until 11 pm, try making an effort to get in the bed at 10:30 pm and see how productive you are doing that. Try going to bed at these new times for a couple of months and then try to decrease your time again until you feel fully rested. Once you discover the time that makes you feel most rested, stick to that bedtime.

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