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5 Ways to Design a More Productive Work Environment at Home

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One benefit of the down economy and miserable hiring climate is more and more people taking the opportunity to go out on their own as an entrepreneur. Sure, it's difficult getting any business off the ground, but managing your own schedule and working on projects you are truly passionate about brings a whole other set of rewards. And one of the great side effects is that you'll often find yourself working from home. At home, you have the opportunity to work hard while staying much more involved with your family, to get healthy by making all of your own meals, and to adjust your schedule based on whatever else needs to get done on a given day. But it's not always easy. Working from home can be very distracting, and not everyone is an expert at being her own boss. So if you're committed to working from home, and want to be the most successful you can be, check out these five ways to design a more productive work environment.

First of all, you must take the time to create a purposeful space. If you have an extra room that can be dedicated as your office, you're naturally going to get a lot more done than if you just sit in front of a computer at the kitchen table. Just having a door you can shut makes it feel more real, and gives you the opportunity to treat it like an actual office. You need to give your new business the attention it deserves, and that means a room that is entirely focused on your new enterprise.

You'll also have to design an environment that allows you to shut out all distractions. It's all too easy to get pulled off course at home. Your kids want attention, your friends want to meet for lunch, and there's that great miniseries on TV you've wanted to catch up. Shut off the tube, put away your cell phone and do whatever is necessary to bear down on your work. You'll appreciate the sacrifice when watching the checks roll in.

There's one distraction that can be so devastating, it deserves it's own tip: avoid the pull of the internet. Of course, if you run an online business you'll be spending large chunks of your day on the web, but that doesn't mean you can waste hours browsing through the millions of other websites available. Many people get bogged down by constantly checking email. Not only will it suck time away from what you need to be doing at the moment, but it will distract you, eating up more time while you struggle to get back on track. Set dedicated times to check your email, and limit it to two or three times a day. Otherwise, shut it down. The same goes for social networks or news sites. If it's something that you wouldn't be able to do in a traditional office, try to keep the same rules at home.

Next, set and keep a well-defined schedule. Because you don't have a supervisor breathing down your neck, it's all too easy to get derailed. Keep regular office hours as much as you possibly can. You'll get more done during the day, and you'll avoid one of the big pitfalls many entrepreneurs face, when they find themselves working well into the night, with no real break between being on duty and off duty.

Finally, surround yourself with things that motivate you. Beautiful works of art or inspiring posters, whiteboards and calendars that track your progress, and even a dream board to remind you what you're working towards. If you find you're stressed out more often than not, consider installing water features or wind chimes to help clear your mind. Whatever you need to feel calm, focused and prepared to explode your business, go for it. You're saving tons of cash by not having to commute, so put that back into your home office and watch the success begin.

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