Design a workable structure for your day

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working from home

working from home allows me to walk along Worthing seafront

Following on from my recent post regarding the focus needed to work from home, once you understand what makes you tick and what your preferences are, you can design a workable structure for your day.

The way you organise your day may be dictated by commitments relating to children or other responsibilities, so start with considerations like the school run, and build your day around them.

Using a Diary

As a homeworker, I find it is essential to have a diary, whether it’s the traditional book and pen, a program on your computer or a hand-held gadget. Putting all work and domestic commitments into your diary as soon as you make them will avoid arrangements that clash.

I use the simple pen and book method.

In that previous post, I spoke about what I do each working day but what about…

Break Times

If you are anything like me, you may get so focussed on work, you simply lose track of time.

If I have an important phone call or activity that has to happen at a certain time, I set myself an alarm.

You might even want to set an alarm to remind you to take a break.

It is tempting to think you can just keep on working, but you will become less and less productive. Bear in mind the human brain is apparently only able to concentrate for 20 minutes at a time!

Getting Out

When I worked for a corporate company, I was often out and about. Going from one location to another. Travelling across the world.

Now working from home, I can be in a 4m x 4m room for up to 12 hours (if I were to allow that to happen).

I find it essential to get out of the house at least once a day, even if it’s only to pop down the road for a paper.

Working from home, means my ex-office-bound friends are envious of the luxury and opportunity of being able to do what I want, when I want.

I can now combine business and pleasure. If it’s sunny, I can take my laptop into the garden.

After a business meeting, I can meet a friend or join my wife for a stroll along the seafront.

It’s all too easy to forget there’s a whole world going on outside your workroom door.

At the end of the Day

You may like to set a finishing time in advance when you are planning your daily schedule, perhaps at around the time that our office-bound peers are logging off and joining the queues of commuters. Their journey home signals the end of the working day, but you may need a similar routine to your morning one – perhaps another walk with the dog or a bike ride – to emphasise that the business of the day is done and domestic concerns can now take over.

Getting out of the house and putting some physical distance between you and your tools or the computer can really help you to switch off from thoughts of work.

So if you find yourself working form home, make sure you have a routine and have time for yourself.

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3 Responses to Design a workable structure for your day

  1. garden gift April 22, 2010 at 4:06 pm #

    Hi Andrew. I don’t work from home but this article is spot on. I used to spend a lot of time at home and it can get quite depressing if you don’t organise and motivate yourself to get things done. Since buying a diary and trying to push myself to get out more I’ve found my time at home a bit less stressful.

  2. Kevin Young August 14, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

    Scheduling breaks certainly works for me. You’re absolutely right that we tend to lose track of time and get too focused on work. And this results to being unproductive down the road. A simple organized break schedule can do wonders for one’s efficiency.

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