There are many big advantages from working from home. A huge financial advantage is the reduction in fuel costs and daycare expenses. You can also completely eliminate your commute, and many at-home careers allow you to work your career around your home schedule. However, one of the greatest disadvantages from working at home is the daily distractions you may encounter. Independent contractors such as medical transcription/healthcare documentation specialist stand to suffer the most from home distractions, as it directly affects their pay. Below are four simple tips on how to stay focused while working from home.
Prepare Your Workspace
Your workspace is one of your biggest keys to productivity and efficiency. Set up a workspace that is away from the rest of the house. There are several reasons for doing this. First, your work tools and supplies must be organized and kept sacred to your job. If you are a medical transcription/healthcare documentation specialist, your main work tools are a computer, foot pedal, and headset; these need to be set up and organized properly so that you can transcribe properly.
The second reason to designate a workspace is to keep yourself from burning out. Try to avoid working in bed or other areas of your house that are sacred to rest and relaxation. Eventually, you may have a hard time feeling relaxed in your own home! You need to have an area dedicated to work that you can ‘leave’ at the end of your workday.
How to stay focused while working from home with visitors
It is very important to set ground rules with friends and family early in your new career as an MT/HDS and stick to these rules. Many people believe that because you are working from home you can stop for coffee and a chat at any time. Give your friends and family the scheduled times that you will be available for calls or visits (breaks, lunchtime, etc.)so you can stay focused. Let your friends know that outside these times you are working and are not available for social visits or calls.
Eliminate Your Distractions
Having a work-at-home career requires having the ability to keep distractions to a minimum. This will enable you to balance your personal and work time properly. Below are a few major distractions to avoid:
- Telephone calls – The easiest way to avoid this distraction is to use an answering machine. You can create a voice message telling callers when you will be available to return the call. This will also be useful for keeping potential visitors at bay!
- Television – The television should be turned off while you are working. This is a distraction that will not only slow you down but could also cause you to make costly errors.
- Email and instant messaging – Turn off instant messaging. This can be a big distraction while you are working. You can check your email first thing in the morning and at breaks, lunches, after work.
- Housework – Try to schedule housework at allotted times, just as if you were working outside the home. It may be helpful to keep a housework schedule to delegate to your children and spouse, to keep you from feeling overwhelmed at the end of a workday.
Before you start your workday, make sure you complete any tasks that might take your focus off your work. Make a plan for how you will reduce distractions from the list above. Whether you are transcribing dictations or making sales calls, staying focused will keep your home business running smoothly.
Goal setting is crucial for staying focused on your work. Start with a solid vision of where you want to be with your business and career with long-term goals (five years) and short term goals (six months to one year). These will guide your daily activities and lead you on a straighter path to success. Once you have a vision, it is important to accept that you simply can’t accomplish it all in one day. This leads to our daily goals and the question “what is the best use of my time and energy today?”.
The larger goals can be daunting in the beginning so divide them up in smaller goals and then work towards achieving them. Every day, I make a list of the most important things that I need to do to move forward. To keep from getting overwhelmed I make sure that my actions are simple, small, and measurable. If some of the items don’t get completed that day, I make sure that they are the top priority for the next day. When I follow these steps I feel organized and productive, and my tasks are completed on time!
Follow these steps and you to learn how to stay focused while working from home!