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The How-To Lounge: Staying Focused

I recently received an e-mail from a woman who just landed her dream job, but she works from home. While some people think working from home is ideal, others find it extremely distracting and difficult to stay focused and organized. In this How-To Lounge, I will offer up some tips on how to set up a proper working environment in your home so you can meet your goals and stay organized.

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  • Be sure to set aside a specific room or area in your home that is only for working. Even if you live in tight quarters, it is important to differentiate work space from living space in order to stay focused
  • Be sure you have a desk. Working on a couch or in your bed will only make you feel lazy and unproductive
  • Just because you aren't meeting with clients or going into the office, be sure to wake up at the same time you would if you were going into an office and most importantly, get out of your sweat pants. Working in your PJs is bound to make you feel lazy and lethargic
  • Shop for supplies. Make sure you have at least one of everything: stapler, paper clips, pens, envelopes, stamps, printer paper, scissors, a ruler, calculator, etc. You don't want to have to rush out in the middle of your day to get that one thing you forgot at Office Depot
  • Keep your work space clean and clutter free. It is much more difficult to concentrate if you are worried about the mess around you
  • Some people work well with background noise, but a TV can be extremely distracting, so I advise you to keep it off if you have one in the same room in which you work
  • Limit personal calls and e-mails throughout the day, just as you would if you were to be working in a group office. Getting caught up with an old friend can easily get you off track
  • Before you dive into your work, plan out your day. Having a road map and a To Do list will make your day much more productive especially if you have trouble with procrastinating
  • If you work from home because you have young children, be sure to use their nap time as your quiet time to get most of your work done
  • Be sure to take breaks just as you would at a destination office. Get some air every few hours and eat lunch away from your desk
  • If you have errands to run, be sure to take one trip so you are not continually disrupting your day

I hope these tips are useful, and if any readers out there are currently working from home, please share any secrets that work for you in the comments below.


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