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How to Keep Your Discipline When Working From Home

Mar 14 2011

This article will outline a few ways for the newly self-employed to make sure that they begin their careers as they mean to go on – with structure and discipline:

Firstly, before you do anything, make sure you’ve got a system or way of working in place that you are comfortable with and that manages your workflow and how you approach your daily, weekly and monthly tasks. Anyone who works needs a disciplined approach to their job but those who work from home need order and discipline even more. With no boss looking over your shoulder it is up to you to meet deadlines and complete contracts and this is why it is essential to have a schedule of work, a to do list and a system that you stick to religiously. There are a number of personal organization tools you can buy for this, from dedicated software and computer organizers to good old paper personal organizers and Filofaxes. Similarly there are whole corners of bookshops packed with systems you can implement to maximize your working efficiency. Whether you spend a fortune or just use a pen and paper, the only thing that is important is finding system that keeps you working and that you stick to it.

Once the system is in place, use it to prioritize your jobs correctly. Working for your own business means you must never, ever miss a deadline or let down a client as you will live by your work. Always do the jobs that need to be done, not the ones you want to do.

Next, if you are working from home, try and ensure that your office space is away from the house or at the very least in a corner of the house where you will not be disturbed. Distractions are the enemy of the home worker. For this reason you need to make sure that your family know they cannot come and disturb you for certain hours of the day unless it is a true emergency. If you don’t establish this from the outset you will be constantly called upon to repair things or take the dog for a walk, pick up some shopping or peel some potatoes. Although you are technically at home, your family have to know you are working and cannot be disturbed.

Lastly, when it comes to working for yourself, remember to use the carrot and not the stick. You will work better if you set yourself rewards to work towards. Because you are freelance you can plan holidays or trips with the family whenever you want, but you should tell yourself you can only do that when you have completed x amount of contracts or earned a certain amount of dollars. Give yourself something to look forward to. You’re your own boss, you might as well be a good boss!

Greg Dickson is an advisor to the contracting sector. He currently writes a blog for the Bedouin Group, covering everything from taxation to umbrella companies

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