In this week’s edition of Things I Wish I Knew, New York virtual office lawyer Joleena Louis shares her top tips for remaining productive while running her home-based solo practice.
One of the best benefits of being a solo is the ability to work from anywhere. You can decide where you work best, whether that be in traditional office space, or working from home full-time with a virtual office. No matter which you choose, one thing remains true. The ability to work from wherever you want will definitely improve your quality of life.
Many solos are hesitant to work away from a traditional office because of the many possible distractions. This was certainly the case for me. When I started my practice I had a husband and a dog. It was difficult for me to work productively at home.
But over the past few years, I’ve come up with a few tips that keep me productive whether I’m working at home, at Law Firm Suites, a coffee shop or even the beach.
Whenever I work from home, I change out of my pajama into real clothes. The act of getting dressed gets me into work mode and out of lounge mode.
Even if you don’t have a client yet. There are plenty of things that need to be done each day. Getting in the right mindset will help you to get them done.
Designate A Workspace
When I first started working from home, I plopped down on my couch with my laptop. This lead to being distracted by the TV and all of my work files taking over my living space. I found it difficult to work efficiently, and it was harder to switch between work mode and play mode.
Once I started to keep all worked confined to my desk, it became much easier to focus.
I currently don’t have a spouse or children to distract me at home, so having my workspace in the living room is not a problem. If I lived with other people I would need to work in a space where I could close the doors, tune everyone out and make sure there were minimal distractions.
If you want to work from home while also being productive, then you will have to eliminate as many distractions as possible.
For me personally, my biggest distractions are the TV, my phone and social media. Overcoming these distractions is a matter of willpower. I keep my TV off during work hours and put my phone on “do not disturb” when I’m focused on a task. You can’t be distracted if you’re not accessible. Lastly, I use the Pomodoro technique and only allow myself to check social media or email during breaks.
Keep a Schedule
Finally, for me, the biggest time waster of all is not knowing what you need to work on. I schedule my to-do list into a calendar. This way I know what I can reasonably accomplish in a day.
If I already know what needs to be done as soon as I wake up, it’s easier to jump right into work without wasting time.
If done correctly, working from home with a virtual office can make you even more productive. By skipping the daily commute, you will have more time to get things done. As a solo, YOU are in control of how you use your time and it’s up to you to use the flexibility of working from home to your advantage.