Now that we have the ability to access work through phone, iPad, or laptops, more and more people are working from home.  Are you as productive if you work from home?  Or are you more productive working in an offsite office?  With the many distractions that come with working at home, the answer is not so much for many of us. 

While the attraction of working at home can be very alluring, it’s important to remember that you actually have to get work done.  I struggle with staying productive at home so I am seriously considering moving to an office space outside my home. 

You may fall into some small traps that cause big distractions.  For example, doing house work when you should be writing a blog, hanging out with your spouse when you should be responding to phone calls or email, or watching TV when you should be working on your business planning.  Whatever the distraction, some people are more susceptible to them than others.

There are other things that cause lack of productivity as well.  If you are your own boss or don’t have anyone watching out for what you’re doing, you may spend lots of time searching the internet for recreation, shopping, or playing games.  This could be avoidance behavior that may be signaling a bigger issue.  More on procrastination in another blog post.

I’m not saying that you should run out and get yourself an office, but you should probably be aware if you do, in fact, have a problem.  If you do have a home office productivity problem, there are some ways to work around them.

First, identify your hot spots or weakness areas.  Do you get caught up in watching TV in the middle of the day?  Or get too involved in household chores? 

Next, create a time map in which you allow yourself time to do those things you enjoy or have to do, like laundry.  This way, you have scheduled time to do those activities and you aren’t interfering with your work time.

If you are dealing with a lot of interruptions from family members, you may need to be very clear with them about boundaries.  You may need to designate a specific time of day to spending time with your kids or having lunch with your spouse.  Be clear that work time needs to be spent actually working.

Take a look around your office.  Does it make you happy to be there?  Does it support your work goals and enable you to be as productive as possible?  Or do you have piles of stuff everywhere?  Have trouble finding things when you need them?  Maybe you would rather just close the door and not go into your office rather than work.  If any of these is familiar, you may need to work on organizing and redecorating your office.

Ultimately, you may determine that moving into an office space outside the home is the best answer for you.  This is a major step and you should be sure that your issues are in fact due to working at home and not some other procrastination/avoidance behaviors.

Are you struggling with productivity in your home office?  If so, we’d love to hear your challenges and what you’re doing to overcome them.