Welcome to the world of the mobile and home office professional. These days more and more people are working at home or on the move. Time spent in office environments is limited or nonexistent, particularly for freelancers. Your home and the world is now your office. This is a very exciting time for a new breed of professionals who enjoy a level of freedom that most people could only dream of a generation ago.
With this freedom and personal control, however, comes the possibility of becoming unproductive. Lack of productivity could cost you a job, a contract, or a client. It could also add up to a less successful career if no one is pushing you. Controlling and increasing your productivity is the key to keeping your lifestyle in balance.
Separate Working Area
Work-life balance gets very blurred when you work on your own time in a place of your choosing. This is even more of an issue when you work on the go and are out in the world. To stay balanced, don’t work in the same space you use for socializing or relaxing.
Working efficiently means getting into the zone and concentrating. Entering a zone of concentration automatically rather than working up to it is a major key to working efficiently. Your work or office space doesn’t have to be an actual office but it needs to be a space you associate with dipping out of the distractions of everyday life and getting into whatever you have to do, be it marketing, novel writing, or consulting.
Settling down to work can take some people upwards of an hour. If you associate concentrating with a venue then you bypass this lost time. A top tip for this approach is to try and sit in the same or similar spot in your chosen venue. If you can sit in the same seat or at the same table then you will build up an association of concentration and work with the way you feel when you sit down in that chair or at that table. If you want to meet a friend, take a break, or chat online then get up and go to another venue or at least a different space in the same place.
Out in the world, there are plenty of distractions. Far more than in a traditional office environment. In an office even though colleagues can distract at times they also prompt you to get on with your work too. In an office environment, you can’t get away with the day being over and realizing you spent the whole time updating Instagram and playing The Sims.
The enemy of concentration is slow-loading programs or sites. If your device can’t handle lots of tabs being open, video streaming or whatever is necessary for your work then you should consider upgrading. It’s bad enough dealing with the times when you naturally want to stop work and look around for a distraction. You don’t need distractions occurring that can be avoided.
Beware of the Internet Trap
Once you lose concentration you’re not working efficiently. The Internet on your laptop, mobile or device is a big threat to your concentration. Let’s face it – you don’t need to check your messages again or go on the hunt for funny memes. If you need a break, take one.
Set your device up so that there are as few social media sites and distracting options on there as possible. Use different browsers for work and for casual browsing. Have a work-specific email address so that you don’t get mail from friends distracting you when you’re trying to focus.
Home Office Space
If you work on the go then you’re bound to end up doing some work at home. Working at home is very difficult because we are surrounded by other things which need doing. Kids, family, the home phone ringing, or a dinner that’s burning in the oven.
At home as when out and about you need to set up a work environment that is distinct from home life; be it relaxing or working on household chores and tasks. Set up an office space for yourself at home. Remember this doesn’t need to be formal or stuffy. It can reflect your personality and what you like, it just needs to be conducive to concentration.
Get a solid desk, an ergonomic office chair, and appropriate storage solutions for your home office space. Make sure you can work smoothly and efficiently in your space.
For mobile and freelance professionals the home office is where things get sorted out and set up for the next day of work. This space is somewhere you can really control the furnishings to your benefit when during the day you may need to make do from time to time. Take advantage of it.