As an SEO that works from home I face many struggles every day. Some of those struggles are from clients, however the majority are caused by my own relaxed work environment. I’m not even going to attempt to tell you how to solve client problems. However, if you work from home, I can help you become a bit more productive in your day-to-day work. And it might even help some of you who have to make the trek into the corporate office every day.
Things you need to work from home:
- Dedicated office
- Non-cell work phone
- Reliable Internet service
- Laptop computer
- USB mouse, keyboard, large external monitor
- At least two whiteboards
- To-do / Done Lists
- Google Apps calendar
- Coffee shop nearby
- Dragon NaturallySpeaking and a good headset
The dedicated office will keep the kids and pets out as well and also signify that when you are in there you are working. You shouldn’t need a note on the door or anything like that. It needs to be understood that when you’re in your office you are working. The non-cell work phone is simply because cell phones cut out a lot and if you are doing business on a cell phone everybody is going to know it. Reliable Internet service is a necessity. If you are in SEO you already know that and I don’t have to explain why.
Working on a laptop keyboard and the trackpad is a horrible waste of time. Get yourself a wireless mouse and a full-sized keyboard and you will be working a whole lot faster. The larger monitor will allow you to accomplish more in your workday. You doubt me? According to a study by the University of Utah you can increase the speed in which you accomplish certain functions by up to 30% by getting a larger monitor. Read the link and go buy a larger monitor now!
The small whiteboard is for your “to-do” list. This is not just a regular to-do list though. It is also a list of what has been completed. This means that instead of simply crossing off something from your to-do list you are also writing the finished task or item on your completed list. Everybody knows that it feels good to see a to-do list shrink throughout the day. But it’s far more energizing looking at what you completed then looking at what still has to be done.
The second whiteboard, the large one, is to keep track of your clients and projects. Having a visual reminder of where you are on all of your different projects is a great way of keeping yourself on task. If you can look up and see that one client needs to have three titles rewritten, another needs to have an infographic created, and a third needs to re-sign a contract you will know this any minute of the day.
An online calendar (I use the one in Google Apps) is extremely helpful because you can block out your day for specific tasks. If you have a meeting from 9 AM until 10:30 you simply block that out. Then you might have the next 30 minutes blocked out for returning phone calls. After that, you may block out the next hour writing the link outreach e-mails. Block out every minute of the day. Fill some of the time with specific tasks that you need to get done and give yourself a couple blocks of time to take care of whatever arises in the middle of the day.
You know those things happen. It happens to all of us. And whatever you do, always block out time for breakfast and lunch. This is necessary not only for your sanity, we all need a break in the middle of the day, but also so that you are not getting up and going to the refrigerator every 15 minutes. Eat large meals so that you are not hungry throughout the day. The refrigerator can be one of your biggest time wasters of the day, at least it is mine.
The reason I specified a laptop computer is because you cannot take a desktop to the local coffee shop. When you work from home there are going to be days when you just need to get out of the house. It is inevitable. The kids might be annoying you, the dogs might be barking, or you might not be in the right frame of mind when you are at home. If you need to leave, do it. In addition to being a place of escape, the coffee shop can be a great place to have a meeting with a potential new client, meet with a coworker that also works from home, or even find new clients.
I would be absolutely lost, and this post never would have been written, without Dragon NaturallySpeaking and a good headset. If you are anything like me, hopefully not, you failed typing in sixth and seventh grades. If so, you will appreciate how easily you can simply speak into a microphone and see year words come up on the screen. Is it absolutely perfect? No. Does it make writing a heck of a lot easier? Definitely.
Working from home provides way too many ways to distract yourself from your work. Do your best to remove those distractions by keeping your stomach full, your working area for work, and give yourself the excitement of not just of crossing off items on your to do list, but watching your list of completed items and tasks grow.