One of the main problems with working at home can be staying productive. There are distractions around you, no colleagues who might notice if you faff about on the internet or watch telly, and always other things to do in the house.
In an earlier article I talked about my top tips for continuing productivity in self-employment, but I’ve recently been measuring exactly how much time I’ve spent on real actual productive work which I’ve found incredibly helpful. The results were eye-opening indeed! I’m incredibly busy with two strands of a business to run, two children, a dog, responsibilities as a school governor and extra-curricular activities as well. But I found out that while I undoubtedly need more help, I am actually not helping myself as much as I could either.
I’ve used the stopwatch on my phone and literally all I’ve done is press start at the point I’ve started doing proper productive work, and been honest with myself and pressed stop as soon as I found myself doing something else.
After being horrified at the results, two things have happened. Firstly I’ve become more realistic about how much time will actually be spent working hard in any day, and am allowing myself to take time to do other things. Secondly I’m doing much more actual work, including setting targets for how much should be done in a day, depending on how long the day is, and knowing that I am allowed time off and therefore don’t feel guilty about it.
If you work from home or work alone with no one to be accountable to, you have to find what works for you, and may need to experiment a bit, but as with anything, a bit of information is always a useful thing and if you set your stopwatch you may find you’re not as productive as you think you are!