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If you’re an entrepreneur working from a home office, staying productive can be challenging, especially if you have a partner, children, or pet vying for your attention. However, I have found that a few strategies implemented consistently will help you get the most out of this newly popular hybrid residential/professional structure.
1. Create a Dedicated Workspace
One of the best ways to increase productivity at home is to have a consistent space where you can feel comfortable working for extended periods. A spare bedroom with a door is ideal, but a table in a quiet corner can do well. Make sure the desk, chair, and computer monitor are all at a comfortable height, and if possible, invest in the following:
• Desk for standing or sitting
• Noise-canceling headphones
• Ergonomic chair, keyboard and mouse
• Second Monitor
2. Get Ready for the Day
How you look has an impact on how you feel, as well as on professional output. So, instead of working out in your pajamas, try to dress up. You will feel ready to tackle the day, be ready for any video call and achieve more.
related: Eliminate these 10 work-from-home habits to increase productivity
3. Set Regular Hours
While a flexible schedule can be a significant remote structuring advantage, it can also be a route to getting more work done, which leads to burnout. Consider setting regular hours and letting your family and friends know when you don’t want to be disturbed. It’s also helpful to include special “focus” times in your calendar during which you don’t look at to-do lists, email, or your phone, but focus on completing a task until it’s done. Then move on to the second task, and so on.
4. Take Micro Breaks
Taking regular breaks throughout the day can be helpful in increasing productivity. Take a short walk, get something to drink, listen to a podcast, or do a quick job to reset your mind and/or get your body moving. Even five minutes away between projects, calls, or tasks can be enough – just resist the urge to check email or group notifications so you can return to work fresh.
related: Why do you need a remote work schedule
5. Clear Clutter
Being organized not only helps you find what you need when you need it, it also promotes a feeling of being in better control overall. If having a cluttered workspace is distracting, buy simple storage options such as filing cabinets, shelving for books and binders or baskets and bins for small items.
6. Use the Right Technique
Whether you’re working from home or on the go, there are many free and paid productivity tools to improve business workflow, recordkeeping and communication. Here’s something:
, edison mail There is an email app for Mac, iOS or Android with a customizable interface that links accounts. It provides an assistant, organizes messages and protects its users from spam, along with many other features that collectively generate a better email experience.
, fresh books Makes it easy to know how your business is performing, and assists with proposals, time tracking, invoicing, accounting, reports, mileage tracking and more.
, google workspace Allows you to securely store and share documents, spreadsheets and presentations from your computer or phone, so you can work from anywhere.
7. Outsource When Possible
When done properly, outsourcing is a great way to increase productivity and reduce stress. For example, if you’re struggling to complete administrative tasks, a virtual assistant can handle scheduling, customer service, even social media marketing. Another option for keeping finances in order is an accountant.
8. Track Tax Deductions
You can deduct taxes by taking into account deductible business and home office expenses. You may be eligible to claim your return:
• Rent, utilities and insurance – the first two depending on the size of the home office.
• Business travel expenses such as airfare, hotels and ground transportation.
• Vehicle expenses as per mileage required for business purposes.
• Supplies and equipment such as computers, phones, printer ink/toner and paper.
• Professional services for marketing, accounting, consulting and legal matters.
related: Top Tax Tools for Solopreneurs
9. Get the Right Insurance
If you experience an emergency, natural disaster or lawsuit and you don’t have proper insurance, your productivity can come to a complete halt. Some types to consider:
, commercial auto insurance Covers physical damage and liability for vehicles used for business. Depending on your needs, you can add an approval to an existing auto policy or buy a separate one.
, property insurance Covers damage or theft of items such as inventory and equipment. You can purchase a separate business policy or add an endorsement to your existing landlord or renters policy.
, business interruption insurance Covers lost income if your business is injured due to a covered event such as a fire, hurricane or theft.
, commercial liability insurance – or Errors and Omissions (E&O) – Provides protection if you make a mistake and are prosecuted for negligence or defective work.
If you’re not sure what type of insurance is required for your home business, talk to an agent.
related: 5 insurance policies every solopreneur should have