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How To Work Successfully From Home

Written by Monika Mundell  · May 13, 2008

work from home

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Working from home poses its own challenges for people who do, namely working in a somewhat lonely environment, deciding on whether to shower, dress for success or simply working in our PJ’s. Either way, whatever we do, it does require some form of control and measure to get things done in a timely matter.

The biggest issue work at home entrepreneurs have would probably fall into time management and staying on track of our goals. After all, it is only too easy to get sidetracked with important visits, movies, game nights, shopping, outings and what not.

I’m sure that if you fall under the label “self employed, working from home” you have your very own demons to wrestle with at times (or had in the past at least).

What were your biggest issues and how did you grasp them in the end?

When I first started out in my first home business, I always dressed up, brushed my teeth, combed my hair and did everything else I was supposed to do to run a successful home business.

After all, working from home is no different than working for a boss, except of course that we are the boss. Or so I thought… soon enough I learned that following the same behavior to get ready for work than if I was actually going to an employers premises didn’t really work out as I hoped it would.

All the nice suits, cool hairstyle and mint fresh breath didn’t get my work done, did it.

No, I learned that instead of living that pre-cut life of doing things this and that way, I was better off to focus on the actual tasks at hand and really stay the course.

Since nobody is watching over our shoulders except perhaps our spouses and clients (if we have them) it is a challenge for many entrepreneurs to stay on course of their self imposed work schedule.

Perhaps that is why it is so easy to make excuses, since we “only” work for ourselves.

To do that you would only kid yourself and risk your own lifeline and success. After all, if we make too many excuses nothing good will ever come out of it.

Don’t you agree?

So what is the secret to keeping the focus without falling prey to daily distractions while working from home?

Personally I think the most important part of running a business from home is to set targets. But not just any targets. They have to be in bite sized chunks to stay manageable. It also helps to factor in distraction time every day.

In the years I have been online I finally learned that no matter how many tasks you set yourself every day, you will fall short of them on most days due to unforeseen distractions. As long as you allocate extra time for this, you won’t have any issues. I also learned that setting myself too many targets never works out so I keep them in a manageable way.

What works for me is to take 2/3 of my working day and plan it out while leaving the rest free for the less important work that has to be done regardless. This has worked really well for me over the past year.

Maybe you have your own tips on how to work successfully from home.

About The Author
My name is Monika Mundell, and I’m the author of Freelance Writing. Learn more from me there.

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8 Responses to “How To Work Successfully From Home”

  1. George Manty on May 14th, 2008 7:02 am


    I think scheduling your day is very important for successfully working from home. Also, to remain productive it’s good to limit the number of times you check your email, and the amount of time you let other distractions from ruining your productivity.

  2. Monika Mundell on May 14th, 2008 8:50 pm

    @ George: LOL, I know exactly about checking my email (like some 20 times a day). Luckily for me I managed to put that behind me. Now it’s more like 4 times a day and I actually survive too. šŸ™‚

  3. July Bucks on May 15th, 2008 5:56 am

    I agree with you that scheduling is crucial for planning a work day, especially for those who work from home. It’s really important not to set to many targets for one day, otherwise there will be a real mess and lots of undone work. It also makes sense to set major goals not only for a day but also for a week and have two lists of top targets and secondary targets.

  4. Michael Taylor on May 17th, 2008 11:59 am

    Nice piece of information Monika!

    Well, it doesn’t matter that you are operating from home, what matters most to your clients’ is the end result. What you can do for them, what solutions you can provide for them so that they can seek your services.

    And these things can only be achieved by proper scheduling your day.

    Michael Taylor

  5. Gustafson on May 17th, 2008 3:07 pm

    I have been developing web applications for some time now and could be considered a list person. Over time the system I use to stay on task as grown and evolved. I keep a master list of things that need to be done for the project I am working on. This list is to keep the over all direction.

    On a day to day hour by hour basis, I keep a pad of paper handing and I write down the current task. As I am doing that task a few others will pop up and I will add it to the list. When I am done with the current task, I cross it off and move to the next.

    The important part of this is that each task is tiny. often a 10 minute activity. Every few days I go over what hasn’t been completed and either add that to the over strategic list or I get rid of it all together. Then I start over on the daily list.

    I find this approach works well for me because I feel accomplished at the end of the day when I have 20 or 30 items done. I also get distracted constantly; since my current activity is written down I look to the list as a reminder of what I was working on and jump right back into it instead of trying to spend little chunks of time here and there trying to figure out what to do next.

  6. Monika Mundell on May 17th, 2008 11:00 pm

    @ July: You are right. I used to be obsessed with writing lists only to never get anywhere with them because i felt totally overwhelmed.

    Once I started to make them smaller, more bite sized and especially more focused on what needs to get done, it worked. Since then I get 90% of my work done every day and feel great when I go to sleep.

    @ Michael: Thank you. You raised a good point. For freelancers like me, clients needs do come first. This is why my list is always populated with my client work before my other long term stuff like building niches,etc.

    @ Gustafson: You seem to have your method down pat. It sounds like a great way to keep on top of your schedule. One thing I never managed and never will is working with time slots. Believe me, I tried….and then tried some more…and more again, but nothing.

    In the end, we have to find ways to work our schedule with methods that suit our personalities and behavior. Thank you for sharing though. I’m sure some of our readers can take this and run with it.

  7. Barb on June 12th, 2008 7:52 am

    I get distracted very easily, so it is important for me to write down what I need to do each day. This does help, but there are still so many interesting things to read, I can’t help going off track sometimes.

  8. Isabelle Newton on November 17th, 2008 10:52 am

    I agree that time management and scheduling are the two most important factors when working from home. Also self dicipline and motivation are key – when you’re working for yourself if you don’t get the job done or something goes wrong or you’re not enjoying yourself – you’ve only got yourself to blame. šŸ™‚