Friday, July 17, 2015

How To Stay on Task While Working From Home

Event professionals' work hours are rarely spent in an official office environment; instead, they tend to work from home and on-the-go. The work hours of event planners are pretty much 24/7, so learning how to balance business time and off time can be tricky to say the least.

When working from home, the boundaries of "on" and "off" time often blur. Your home is your residence, your shelter, your safe-haven -- and when you spend a great deal of time working in your hearth and home, the risk of losing that sanctuary quality increases quite significantly.

Whether you're just starting out or you're an established event guru, balancing home life and work life can challenging at times. Yet, with a little practice and determination, any event professional can master the art of working from home.

Working from home comes with the perk of having no commute (other than the long walk to the coffee maker), but there are downsides, perhaps the worst of which are the innumerable distractions in your home. No need to worry! Below is some advice on how to stay laser-beam-focused on your business, even when you're at home.

1. Television

Figure out the right amount of television for you. So many times we tell ourselves, “No television while working!” -- but if it helps to watch a little bit in between bursts of work, or to have it on in the background, that's perfectly okay. As long as you’re productive, what does it matter?

However, if you know that you are powerless to the allure of the television, try placing the remote somewhere inconvenient to retrieve; this way it isn’t easy to turn it on and off at will.

2. The Internet

The same goes for the Internet, except that the Internet is trickier than television, precisely because you more often than not need the Internet to do your work -- putting the distraction away becomes infinitely more difficult. As with television, a little bit of time is usually fine. Allow yourself to indulge in Facebook now and then if it helps you to recharge your batteries -- but if you know full well you’ll end up exploring every nook and cranny of your friends’ lives, then it’s best to avoid going there in the first place.

If social media is a huge distraction, a good piece of advice is to remove any bookmarks to social sites, and make yourself type the URL every time you wish to visit. Additionally, make it so that none of your social media accounts remember your login information. You'll have to type in all of your credentials, making it a little bit more annoying to log in. It’s not much, but being forced to expend energy, no matter how small, can help to deter you from mindlessly logging in to these sites. It's just that much more time to remind you that you're wasting time.

3. Break Time

Make sure you take breaks just as you would at an office. Taking a break gives you an excuse for a little distraction (but not too much) without feeling as if you’ve blurred the line between work and home. Set specific break times for yourself and stick to them. Give yourself an hour for lunch -- no more, no less. While you take these breaks, relax! If you’re going to keep that work/home balance you’ve got to be careful to adhere to your set time for each.

4. Work Anywhere but Bed

Keep your workstation(s) separate. First and foremost: don’t work in bed (you know, the place you go to sleep at night). If you stay in bed all day working and then go to sleep, you will have stirred the stress of your work with the peace of your rest. Your bed is sacred; keep it out of your work life.

5. Food and Drink

Eat and drink, but watch yourself. Working at home makes it easy to find food when you’re hungry and drinks when you’re thirsty -- a plus for sure. But if you’re not careful, you’ll find that food and drink often threaten your productivity as much as television, radio, and Internet.

It’s easy to get stressed out over a problem or dilemma, get up, walk to the fridge, and absentmindedly start eating. It’s also dangerous for your health, your weight, and your sanity. Granted, little snacks throughout the day (the healthy kind) can be amazing for your health and for your maintained focus -- just beware of grazing for the sake of grazing.

6. Stretching and Moving

Instead of eating all day, walk it out and talk it out. Speak aloud to yourself. Hearing yourself say something aloud might help you to clarify the murky thoughts of your silent inner dialogue. Do some push-ups or squats. Stretch. Getting your blood flowing can kick-start your brain -- just don’t over do it, as you don’t want to tire yourself out too much.

7. Nix the Outside Conversations

Do your best to keep outside (non-work) conversations at bay. You've heard it before, but it warrants repeating: during work hours your phone is for business only. Put it on "Do Not Disturb" mode, turn off the notifications -- do whatever you need to do to prevent getting sucked into a long drawn-out conversation with a friend (or foe).

As for your family, if they are home while you are working, be sure to (politely) make clear that when you’re working, you’re working. There’s no need to shut yourself up and ignore the world entirely, but it is important that you have space to focus in on your work.

8. A Line In the Sand 

One of the biggest benefits of going to an office is the simple fact that it separates work and home so distinctly -- but this line is less clear when working from home. Ensure that you treat your work hours as if you were at a different office entirely.

When work begins and ends, have something to do to signify to your senses that you have shifted from one direction to another. This can be any number of actions -- if you are able to keep the television off while you work, turning it on when you are finished can operate as a sort of ceremony to indicate you have finished the work day.

There has to be a discernible action that helps you to get in the right mindset for what you’re going to be doing. First cup of coffee down? Time to work. Out of the shower? Time to work. Without these little reminders, you run the risk of your morning spreading a bit too far into your workday -- and vice-versa.

Inspherio, the all-in-one event management program, certainly makes working from home much easier (and much tidier). Because Inspherio is cloud-based, you can work from home, the cafe, the park, the subway -- it's accessible anywhere and everywhere. All of your work can be consolidated into whatever device you prefer, which is a lot neater than file cabinets and drawers full of paper. With Inspherio, it's infinitely easier to switch the work/home gears when needed. Give yourself this convenience -- you've earned it. Try our free 30-day trial today!

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