09 Nov How to Improve the Efficiency of Your Home Office
Contributing Guest Blogger, Cassie Phillips, enjoys sharing ways to improve your life and your efficiency while using technology.
Working in a home office differs greatly from working in an office building. At home, you have the freedom to spend a little more time than you really should on non-work related tasks. This can be a great thing for those who really need a minute or so to step away from their work here and there.
However, by having that freedom, you could find yourself straying from your tasks more than you’d like to. It’s also not uncommon to mistakenly let your home office become cluttered, which can end up costing you some extra time while you’re working. The last thing you want is to be searching for a specific paper or item for a half hour when you should be getting your work done!
So how do you improve the efficiency of your home office so you can complete your tasks on time and stay on track? Here are a few tips that should be able to help.
Use Time Trackers
Every home office should include a time tracker of some sort, whether it is a physical device or a program installed on your computer, smartphone or tablet. By tracking your time spent on each task, you’ll be able to identify where you need improvement, allowing you to work more efficiently.
A good app for keeping track of time is RescueTime. With both a free and paid version, you’ll have the option of tracking what you’ve been using your time for and actually blocking distractions to keep you from being tempted. Being social is good, but not at the expense of your work.
You could also opt for a more old-fashioned method—setting timers—to keep you on task. Setting goals for completing work in a given amount of time not only improves focus but also may teach you how to finish the job quicker (sort of like beating your best time).
Avoid Distracting Environments
Unless you’re living alone, you’ll want to seclude your workspace to a quiet, removed part of the house. Having a room dedicated to your home office can help remove distractions from other inhabitants. But even if you aren’t living with someone else, you’ll still want to treat your office as a sanctuary away from daily distractions.
>Don’t put any television sets or gaming devices in your office area. Keep your home phone or smartphone by your non-dominant hand with a pad of paper in case you need to answer the phone and take messages. You’ll be less likely to play with the device, and you’ll be able to write while listening if necessary.
Maintain Your Electronics
Since you’re not working in someone else’s office, you’ll be solely responsible for maintaining your devices. If something breaks, all those costs will fall on you, and they can really put the brakes on your home operation.
On the hardware end, invest in surge protectors or battery backup for anything that gets plugged in within your home office, as it can be destroyed by an unfortunate power surge if it isn’t safeguarded. Battery backup is the best, as you’ll also be able to save any work if the power goes out.
Software is equally important to maintain, as it keeps you safe from the many dangers you’ll face online. You’ll want to install a few choice programs to keep malware and hackers out of your business.
The first is an anti-virus program. You’ll want one of these on every internet capable device, including tablets and smartphones. They’re mostly free unless you want to pay for the additional services and are offered by a few companies, including Panda and Avast.
The second, lesser-known service is a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN secures your internet connection by routing it through a remote server where everything you do becomes encrypted and your IP address becomes hidden, keeping hackers and malware out.
Unlike anti-virus programs, VPNs are not free, but are available from companies such as ExpressVPN for just a few bucks a month. It’s a small price to pay for the safety of your data, and you’ll usually only need one subscription as they cover multiple devices at once.
Everyone’s office is organized differently, but there are a few key shared elements that can go a way to saving you time and headaches. Acquiring a filing cabinet, for instance, can keep you from cluttering your space with papers. Desk organizers are available if you do much writing or physical paperwork.
Consider collaborating with others who work from home about practices they use to save time and increase productivity. Even though you may be home alone, you don’t need to be by yourself!
Cassie love what she does and lives the life she loves!
The Home-Based Business Expert