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There are more people working out of their home now than ever before. Working out of your home can be a blessing and a curse at the same time. Distractions can come from every corner. Here is 19 tricks or tips to make working from home.... work! (Brought to you by Alyssa Henderson, a very Successful Entrepreneur)

1. Create Your Office Space!

One of the most important steps when creating your business was to create a REAL office space! As many work-at-home Entrepreneurs do, I started from my dining room. I plopped down at my dining room table, opened my laptop and started planning my business and building my website. Although driven and motivated, I soon found that I was completely in my own way... and within a couple of months - redecorated our guest room to serve as my husband's new office. We moved him up, and moved me into his old office as my own. I had a workspace, tools and materials all set up for me. As soon as I did, I felt like I was more legitimate and more serious about success. If you're squeezing yourself into your current "household space", STOP, look around, and find somewhere to create a space or separate boundary for yourself. Then, set it up for your success! You'll immediately be more productive.

2. Work On Work At Work, Work On Home At Home

Block out time during the week for business and separate time for household concerns. Resist the urge to dabble in home chores or pick up groceries on the way home from a client appointment. Flexibility is great, but it can be a double-edged sword. When home and business tasks are mingled, the task list and the feelings of overwhelm are twice the size. And the time "borrowed" from work is rarely repaid. Instead, work on work during designated work hours. The structure you create will help your business thrive.

3. Do Not Disturb!

Working from home can create confusion among others in the house, or even outside friends. They know you are at home and assume you are not busy, so they call, stop by, or otherwise interrupt you. Make it a point to "go to work" and "come home". Setting clear working hours (and sticking to them!) let everyone know that you are busy. I made a "Do Not Disturb Under Penalty of Death by Tickling" sign for my office. A little strong, but it definitely gets the point across. At the end of my day, I take the sign down and everyone knows that I am "home".

4. Honor Your Business Hours

Setting real business hours for yourself gives you time to do your best work. Establish a time your kids are engaged and you can truly commit to your work in your office. It is easy to run in for 15 minutes to get some of the small tasks complete. However, give yourself one hour productivity times for creativity and productivity. Your one hour will reap many rewards!

5. Create A Work Space.

I find that it is easier to work in an office. I converted a room in our home that acts as an office - desk, file cabinets, computer, adding machine, stapler - the whole 9 yards. My space looks like a business office, but you don't have to go all out. A cheap computer desk and some wire filing systems can create the same atmosphere. Another important key is to treat your work time as if you are actually not at home. Create a work schedule so that your family/personal time doesn't interfere with your work time, and then stick with it. Keep your personal phone calls and emails to a minimum, just as you would if you worked in an outside office. Remind your friends that you have a job, so they don't interrupt your work time. It doesn't take long before they figure out your schedule as well.

6. Make Time For Down Time

Have set working hours, and honor them. Within those hours, set aside time on your calendar for a lunch break (at least 30 minutes) and a few short breaks throughout the day. If you make a point of really giving yourself thorough and guilt-free breaks, you'll be less tempted to procrastinate and self-distract from your core tasks. Work or don't work... but don't be half-hearted about whichever one you are doing.

7. Don't Procrastinate On The Urgent Things!

My best tip to successfully working from home is to complete your most urgent daily tasks first! They might not be for work per se, but by getting those things out of the way, the remainder of the day will be more relaxed and hopefully more productive!

8. Act As If....

The more professional you set up both your space and yourself, the more focus and in the present you will be. Granted working in pjs at certain times has its advantages, but it affects the mindset if you present yourself the way you want to be perceived. Schedule regular breaks during your day, and set outside appointments regularly. The more professional you set up both your space and yourself, the more focus and in the present you will be. Granted working in pjs at certain times has its advantages, but it affects the mindset if you present yourself the way you want to be perceived. Schedule regular breaks during your day, and set outside appointments regularly.

9. Use Timers To Limit Your Distractions

Working from home is quite the task sometimes. Those of you who have your "office" in living space because of necessity understand the complexities. And adding children to the mix can be overwhelming at times. I love to use timers to help me stay on topic. I put a timer on that reminds me when the wash needs to be switched over. I have my favorite music/talk radio on in the laundry room. I use that time as a much needed break during paperwork or other tedious projects. I have a timer for taking my vitamins and one for picking up my son from school. My timers allow me to fully engage myself in a project without having to check my watch. I don't know about all of you, but this world is moving very quickly and I don't want to try and remember everything. That is what my timer is for.

10. Avoid Chores Like The Plague

Who wants to go clean the bathroom anyway?! When you work from home, it's easy to think "oh, it will just take a minute to throw in a load of laundry," but little moments like that do more than take up your time. They divert your attention, and multi-tasking studies show how constantly switching gears make you much less productive. You need to take breaks, but ones that relax and refresh you -- chores don't count. If you can't afford to outsource them, then schedule household duties during non-work hours or on the weekend, so they don't remove you mentally or physically from activities that generate revenue. The more revenue, the sooner you can outsource. It's that simple.

11. Stay Consistent

The thing that helps me to work from home is consistency.
- I get up and get dressed for work so I don't feel like it's a day off.
- If I don't have anything on my schedule for the day or a portion of the day I pull stuff from my to-do list to take care of.
- I take regular timed breaks so I can stay focused.
- I have a sign on my office door that everyone in the house honors indicating if I'm working or not.

12. My Tips For Successfully Working From Home - Structure, Routine & Organization

I've worked from home now for over 4 years and really struggled at the beginning. I fought routine and structure because I had done that for so many years in previous jobs. However, I realized that in order for me to be productive and successful, I needed structure, order and a dedicated home office space. I now have a home office that doesn't spill into non-work relate spaces, which helps enormously. There are also at least 3 things that I don't do during work hours.

1. I don't answer my home phone, unless I'm expecting an important call (Exception: children's school calling).

2. I don't do housework.

3. I don't run errands, unless I'm already out and it makes sense time-wise.

13. Set The Timer

I have to be honest and say that I struggle with keeping my focus when I am working in my home. The one thing that helps me the most is setting my timer. The other day I had to leave the house at 11:00 am. I really needed to get a project completed. At 9:00 I set the timer in the kitchen for 1 hour 40 minutes. I headed into my office and did not allow myself to think about ANYTHING else. I knew I had until the timer went off so I didn’t have to worry about the time (and I couldn’t keep watching it because it was in the kitchen). I had such focus and ended up completing my project before the timer even went off. I was able to get a couple of other things done, too, before I had to leave. I am telling you, “TRY the TIMER!”

14. Follow Your Body Clock

I have found it is very important to follow your body clock when working from home. I am a night owl and like to stay up late at night. I find I am more productive, and it's quiet in the evening. I am usually more creative during the wee hours. I think knowing when your energy is at its peak is important if you want to be focused and not get distracted. I also believe getting out, going to a coffee shop is an energy booster as well. It's great to get out and be amongst others at times that are there for the same reasons! You will meet other work from home entrepreneurs..how kewl is that!

15. Making It Work To Work From Home

Compartmentalize! This is nothing new, but many working-from-homers don't heed the advice. Set office hours and stick to them. If you have a work-related thought during your non-work hours, write it down on your calendar/appointment book, to be dealt with during office hours. That way, it's out of your brain, but you know it won't get forgotten.
Schedule time with yourself for various tasks - set aside a specific block of time for admin. duties (the not fun, but necessary, stuff), and for personal time (i.e. going to the gym or returning personal phone calls).

16. Don't Let Someone Else's Crisis Become Yours

When working from home, not only co-workers but family members and friends can all try to rob you of your “time on the clock”. They all perceive that you can “take a break” and help them with their problem and just work later. Don’t let that happen. It is easy to feel that you are much more flexible working in your home environment, but you still need very focused and un-distracted time slots in order to work on projects. Working from home does save you the commute time, but you still need time to get your job done.

17. Liability Insurance For A Home Based Business

Most people don't consider the need for liability insurance for their home based business. Others think that they have liability coverage provided under their homeowner's policy. The bottom line is this, if you are performing business services at your residence, your homeowner's policy will most likely exclude a liability claim.

There are two common methods of insuring business-related premises liability:

1) Add a special endorsement to the homeowner's policy

2) purchase a separate small business policy.

Both of these are easy to obtain. A good insurance agent can explain the pros and cons of each and what works best for your situation. Make sure you are protecting yourself and your home business.

18. Routine.....Routine....Routine!

My number one work from home tip would have to be....Routine.....Routine....Routine.... Treat it like a "JOB." When working from home, we can sometimes put things off...I delegate tasks for each day and time...for example ..Monday is cold calling and Follow up, Tuesday would be..emails, social networking, media, ads, etc....Wednesday appointments and meetings, back to cold calling and follow up I break for lunch and stick to my routine...Thursday training..etc...I follow this out for the week and it has really helped me stay focused and get so much more work done because when the next day rolls around, I have a plan of action!

19. Time Your Tasks

To-do lists are a great way to capture the tasks you need to do. But glancing down your list can be misleading. A single entry that takes one line to write could take two minutes (a phone call) or two hours (a proposal). When you add items to your to-do list, estimate how much time they will take and write the estimate next to each task. Then you’ll have a much better idea when and how to work them into your schedule. If you realistically estimate how much time is required, you can plan each task into a day when your calendar shows you’ll have time to do it. Ideally, you will be reviewing your planner/calendar on a weekly basis so you can distribute your upcoming workload in a way that will enable you to accomplish everything you need to. 


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