Get out of your pajamas and other tips for working at home

Guest post from Catherine Morgan, a Transition and Entrepreneur Coach

So your company has seen the light and given you the ability and option to work virtually occasionally – or maybe regularly – now what?

Initially you may feel the urge to do the happy dance, work in your P.J’s, and shower at lunch time. Or you may be hyper-motivated and start working even as you are drinking your first cup of coffee.

In the beginning, you may feel energized and get a ton of work done in a very short time, but over time, you may find that you are getting distracted just like you did at the office. It’s just that there are DIFFERENT distractions.

Instead of the chatty coworker stopping by and talking your ear off, it may be a neighbor in a crisis. Or a child home from school unexpectedly. Or a friend who wants to go to lunch. Or the plumber (since you are going to be home anyway…) The distractions can be endless. And these are just the people distractions.

What about the home chore distractions? Messy office to clean? Laundry to do? Now it starts to seem like the noisy cubicle farm was actually less distracting. What’s a guy or gal to do?

Sometimes it is the initial change of setting that makes us feel like we could take on the world. If you work at home all the time, going to the office may feel motivating. The trick can be to switch it up a little.

Here are some ideas to consider to maintain your productivity remotely:

• Don’t have any calls scheduled? Can you go to a coffee shop for an hour or two with the goal of accomplishing a specific task? (Writing that blog post, newsletter, expense report, client call summary, etc.)

• Need to feel professional for a phone call you are taking from home? Get up, shower, and get dressed in work clothes. You will be amazed at how your tone of voice and language change. You just upped your game!

• Could your home office benefit from a bulldozer? Try working at the kitchen or dining room table for a change of pace if your home office is really messy and distracting. (And then schedule time in your calendar to straighten up your office during after work hours.)

• Feeling a little lonely? Schedule a lunch date on a slow day. Good conversation and a change of scenery can make for a great afternoon.

• Spending too much time at your computer? Make sure you schedule in time for a walk or for some stretching at least once (and preferably twice) a day. These breaks boost energy and creativity even more than a cup of coffee.

• Just can’t get something done? Try adding additional constraints as work tends to expand to the amount of time allotted. If you only have two hours to accomplish something, you will have an easier time getting it done than if you have all day. You may have heard the saying, “If you want something done, give it to a busy person.”

• Have something that you really don’t want to do? Do it first thing in the morning. The rest of the day will be much more productive because that dreaded task won’t be hanging over your head.

“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
~ Mark Twain

A change of venue can be just the thing to jumpstart your productivity – whether working virtually or in the office. If you are in a rut, change where you are working if you can, even if it is just for a day. Or add more structure to your day by scheduling everything, including your breaks, in your calendar. You will definitely get more done.

All work environments have challenges but I hope these ideas help you stay focused and on track.

Catherine Morgan is a Transition and Entrepreneur Coach, and the founder of Point A to Point B Transitions Inc. The company is a virtual provider of coaching services to individuals who are in career transition or are looking to establish and grow their own successful services businesses such as consulting or coaching practices. Follow her on Twitter:@PointA_PointB or at TDS Business Blog www.blog.tdsbusiness.com

About DeAnne Boegli

DeAnne Boegli is the National Public Relations Manager for TDS Telecommunications which means she wears a lot of hats on a day to day basis. DeAnne jumped on the social media train early (TDS joined Facebook in 2008) and has been keeping her team at TDS up-to- date with the rapid changes in these popular online sites, in addition to her more traditional public relations, reputation management and media roles. DeAnne holds degrees in Journalism and Psychology from the University of Wisconsin- Madison and has over 20 years of experience in the communications industry. She has been in telecommunications at TDS for the past 13 years; prior to that she managed corporate communications for Rayovac which is also headquartered in Madison, Wis. In her spare time, she teaches dance classes at a studio she started in 2001. So, if you need to learn to tap dance she could help. We all know some PR types are known for dancing around issues, but not DeAnne she tells it like it is and just dances for the sport of it. DeAnne has a unique blend of corporate and entrepreneurial experience which gives her great perspective in talking with business owners and marketers like you.

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