Procrastination and the Daily Telecommute

If you work from home, you are freed from many of the restrictions of a traditional office environment. You have the power to set your own dress code, your own office design, and, crucially, your own schedule. However, with great power comes great responsibility, as both Voltaire and Spiderman have pointed out at various points in history. Not having anyone looking over your shoulder can be a great temptation to procrastinate. You can save time by avoiding a physical commute, but it’s all too easy for that time to be sucked right back up by slacking at home. It’s important to have a plan in place to avoid this and make your time at the “office” as productive as possible. Let’s take a look at some great ways to avoid procrastination:

  1. Get into the Workspace: One of the most popular methods of procrastination is actual physical avoidance of the area you’ll be using to do your job. Nothing is easier than finding other “important” things to do in other parts of the house. Avoid this trap by sitting yourself down in front of the computer, opening up Word or Excel or Skype or whatever program you’ll be using for work, and sit there. The first step to getting started is getting started, and with a minimum of physical and mental effort, you’ve achieved it. It’s still possible to procrastinate by sitting there staring at the blank screen, but that gets boring after a while, and it’s much easier to decide to just go ahead and get to work.
  2. Do the Worst First: Very rarely in life do you face a day in which you have only one task to complete. There are almost always a wide range of tasks, with varying degrees of importance, which need to be tackled. It’s easy to want to save the most difficult and unpleasant ones for last, but this opens up the possibility of several pitfalls, especially if you work remotely: You might run out of time to do the important, unpleasant things, or you might be tired after a long day of working and not have enough energy to do things that you weren’t too excited about doing in the first place. Therefore, it can be best to get the most cringe-inducing tasks out of the way right at the beginning, and then the rest of your day will be downhill (in a good way) from there.
  3. Separate Business and Pleasure Areas of the Home: Do you work on your laptop while you sit in your La-Z-Boy and the Home and Garden channel plays on your plasma TV a few feet away? Set up a home office in a part of your home that offers a minimum of entertainment options to entice you away. Even a window with a nice view can be an invitation to drift away from the job you’re supposed to be doing. Squirrel yourself away in a separate area and watch your productivity soar.