As a firm of contractor accountants, we know that it can be a challenge for contractors to focus when working from a home office. With mobiles, TV and potentially other family members around, it’s easy to be distracted. With Thursday 25th February 2016 being National Motivation Day, we have decided to compile our top 6 tips on how to remain focused and productive when working from your home office as a contractor.
From taking regular breaks for fresh air to setting daily agendas, we cover the best methods to maintain high performance throughout the day, week after week.
Contracting increases your flexibility and means that you can work from anywhere, whether this be your home or a place you have rented specifically to work from. Along with this, you have complete control over the hours of work you do as long as you get the job done for your client. However, the prospect of being your own boss can leave you distracted at times and precipitate a decrease in productivity.
1. Perfect your work space
A messy or cluttered work space can drag your eye away from your work, and provide an easy distraction from a computer screen, particularly if you are juggling several projects. Instead of leaving unfinished work on your desk or in your eye line, try filing it away or moving it into another room or desk. This way you will be able to focus on one thing at a time and block out all other distractions. A clear and organised work space will help to set you up for a productive working day.
2. Take a lunch break
It can be very easy to get so engrossed in work that we lose track of time, especially when working from the comfort of our own home. It is important to take a break, eat something and refuel your body and mind. As in any working environment, a lunch break is a requirement and this should not be forgotten about when working from a personal office space. Even if it is just a fifteen minute walk outside, exposure to natural light and fresh air will help reinvigorate you, giving you an energy boost for the afternoon.
3. Set and limit your work hours
We understand that your work hours as a contractor will be flexible, it is after all one of the main benefits of contracting. Keeping to a regular 9am – 5pm work day will help limit night-time distractions and prevent the exhaustion you may feel by worrying late into the night, as this will decrease productivity and increase fatigue. Irregular working hours may also interrupt your sleeping pattern, making it harder to focus during the day, and hinder your personal time. You can also try to turn off your gadgets at the same time every night and allow yourself some time to unwind each evening. A solid routine that is strictly kept to will help to increase your concentration and motivation.
4. Set an agenda for each day
It is a great idea to have a clear task list and devise a daily plan of your projects. This will help you to keep a track of how efficiently you are working and what you can achieve on a day by day basis. When we are balancing many different activities, it is easy to forget about tasks we had promised to complete. Having a task list can ensure that nothing slips off the radar in the midst of your many projects.
5. Wear professional work clothes
Working from home in our casual everyday clothes can often make us feel sluggish and as a result, productivity can plummet. This can mean that we start the day feeling as though we are not in “work mode”. By getting dressed in smart clothes, just as you would going into the workplace, will set up a good frame of mind for each day. Looking and feeling polished will help put you in a professional mind-set.
6. Don’t let your mind wander
Conditioning your mind to only focus on one task at a time is a tall order, but as an expert in your field you will know how vital concentration is. Try taking regular screen breaks throughout the day to help you focus on your work load. Not only will this help alleviate eye strain but can also aid working efficiency. A five minute break can be all that is required to help you refresh and generate ideas and solutions for your client.
Contracting means a lot of multi-tasking and ensuring you manage your time effectively across various projects. One way you can have more time to focus on your contracting career is by appointing a specialist contractor accountant to help take the hassle out of running your contracting business.
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Whether you’re about to take on your first contract or have been contracting for a while, you may now be considering how a contractor accountant could help you further.
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