Mastering the art of working from home requires, among many things, the ability to be disciplined, self-motivated, and focused on the assignments at hand and reaching deadlines. For better or worse, a large chunk of this kind of work is also concentrated on sitting for long portions of time too. While you may not have the extra noise of people chattering in the background that comes with working from a desk job, distractions can just as easily be found in remote work too– namely, where you sit.
Here are a few of places to avoid parking yourself at for a few hours and better-sitting alternatives to ensure you’re more productive.
1) The Bed
How tempting and easy is it to pull the laptop into the bed with you in the morning and get to work while remaining cozy in your pajamas? While working in bed is comfy, the pitfalls that come with bed work — namely that it’s terrible for your productivity and health.
According to research, the act of working from your bed disassociates the sleep patterns you have from the bed and activates your energy levels in bed, preventing you from restful sleep which can make you even more tired the next day – even though you spent all day in your bed.
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What To Try Instead:
Working from a desk. Add along a sturdy backed but cushioned chair; decorate with personal items, including a charging station for your phone and laptop (something your bed will not have handy!), and a calendar overhead for upcoming due dates.
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2) Kitchen Table
It’s a step up from the bed, usually featuring you sitting on a chair or stool, but still right next to the refrigerator which will become your new water cooler – a place to get up, stretch, and munch on a snack or two (or five) throughout the day. This can lead to a very fast weight gain, whether you’re aware of it or not.
What To Try Instead:
A coworking space or library. It’s easy to assume that heading over to a Starbucks is the best alternative and I wouldn’t necessarily rule it out either on occasion. But working out of a coffee shop on a daily basis is not doing you (or your wallet) any better than working from the kitchen table – you’ll obviously have to make a purchase each time you go in to justify why you’re hogging that table for hours on end. Take a spot at a coworking space or library instead, both of which will be quiet and peaceful and provide minimal distractions by way of food.
Related Content: Tips for Working at a Coffee Shop
3) Living Room Couch
What tends to sit in front of most couches? A TV. What happens when most people sit on the couch? They turn the TV on. And maybe you can watch TV and work simultaneously with it on as a white noise, but I doubt that will last for long if it’s a new show on Netflix you want to start getting into. Focus on the new show ultimately means much less focus on your work.
What To Try Instead:
A nook by a big window. There’s something inside of me that feels inclined to make a “nature’s television” pun here, but sitting by a window is a great way to take a moment when you feel stressed, collect yourself, and breathe in and out the fresh air from the day. The nook, though defined differently by everyone who creates one, undoubtedly will be much more structured than a pillowy couch with cushions you can easily get lost in.
And while we're talking about productivity killers, here are three more things that significantly hamper your productivity.
Starting your day after 10:00 am.
Though it’s easy to do, getting a handle on any work mid-morning instead of early morning can cut you out of some of the bigger opportunities. Especially if you’re a west-coaster who works with a lot of east-coasters, you’re constantly battling that time zone to finish assignments earlier and earlier. If you plan on releasing a press release, posting a company blog, or getting in touch with a client or partner you know you need to speak to earlier in the day, try and wake up a little earlier than the kids to get a jump start on your day. Even if you just get up an hour earlier to tackle some emails, you won’t feel so behind once the rest of the morning’s duties are taken care of.
Mixing your mom job with your work job.
Though the beautiful part of working from home is that you get to be around your kids much of the day, it can be challenging to keep the two straight. Something I have found that helps me on the days that I work from home is to still dress as though I were going into an office. I naturally feel more scattered and like I have less of a handle on my day if I stay in my work out clothes until dinner time. It’s the small things, like dressing up a bit more or working at a desk at home instead of from the couch that makes me feel like I can be more productive.
Related Content: How to Flex Your Duties as a New Telecommuting Parent
One of the dangers of working from home is the possibility of becoming a bit of a recluse. Though you may feel like you’re hardly home enough to work as it is with all the running around you have to do, it’s important to get out and hit the pavement to take care of business as well. Attend networking events, meet up with your partners for lunch, and go to the businesses you have meetings with. Just getting out of the house, even for work, can be just the refresher every domicile worker needs now and then.
What are some of the biggest work-from-home productivity killers for you? Drop us a note; we'd love to hear from you!
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Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @deborahsweeney and @mycorporation.