Do you have a home office? It does not matter if you are an entrepreneur, work in your pajamas technology employee or 1099 subcontractor, setting up your home office correctly is important, but making sure that the home office does not run your life in many cases, is the bigger challenge.
5 Productivity Tips when thinking of your home office:
1. View your home office as if you are going to work. If you want to work in your pajamas do it, if you feel like you need to put on clothes specific for work mode do it. plenty of studies show that dressing for work will help with focus and productivity. The technology generation might disagree.
2. Eliminate working all the time – This is the biggest challenge for individuals who use a daily home office. The home office is only a few steps away, even if you are launching a new product or idea you will burn out quickly if you don’t take a break away and go outside or just move to another area in the home.
Personally, I use the Pomodoro Technique (invented by Francisco Cirillo in the 1990's). It may help you power through distractions, hyper-focus, and get things done in short bursts, while taking frequent breaks to come up for air and relax. The technique is simple, work for 25 minutes intensely then get up and walk for 5 minutes as a break. Keep repeating the process as you push through a big project by accomplishing each of the key tasks. It works very well!
3. Create the office almost like a barrier and make it inconvenient. Put it at a separate area away from activities and the kids, etc. When it's inconvenient it moves the mind toward work when you enter the area.
4. Review some of the rules for the IRS home office deduction. You can deduct a percentage of home applicable to business, utilities, insurance, internet, property taxes, etc. Remember if you are a sole proprietor just starting off and realize profit, you will pay self employment tax – 15.3% (12.4 Social Security and 2.9 Medicare).
5. Establish office hours, there should be a check in and check out time. This works great, write out your business hours on the wall with a simple sign and it will stay in your subconscious as you see it every day when you enter.
As technology offers more opportunities for establishing a home office, take advantage of the tax benefits while making sure it's a productive space.