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If you’re a home office entrepreneur, staying productive can be a challenge, especially if you have a partner, kids, or pets vying for your attention. However, I have found that just a few strategies, applied consistently, will help you get the most out of this new popular residential/professional hybrid structure.

1. Create a dedicated workspace

One of the best ways to increase productivity at home is to have a permanent space where you can feel comfortable working for long hours. An extra bedroom with a door is ideal, but a table in a quiet corner is fine too. Make sure your desk, chair, and computer monitor are at a comfortable height, and if possible, invest in the following:

• Table for standing or sitting-standing work

• Noise canceling headphones

• Ergonomic chair, keyboard and mouse

• Second monitor

2. Dress for the day

The way you look influences how you feel as well as your professional results. So instead of working in pajamas, try to get dressed. You will feel ready for a new day, ready for any video calls and achieve more.

Connected: Break these 10 work-from-home habits to boost your productivity

3. Set Regular Hours of Operation

While a flexible schedule can be a significant benefit of a remote structure, it can also be a pathway to overwork, leading to burnout. Consider setting regular hours and letting your family and friends know when you’d rather not be disturbed. It’s also helpful to include a dedicated “focus” time in your calendar, during which you don’t go through your to-do lists, email, or your phone, but instead focus on one task until it’s done. Then move on to the second task and so on.

4. Take micro breaks

Regular breaks throughout the day can help increase productivity. Take a short walk, have a drink, listen to a podcast, or do a little housework to reset your mind and/or move your body. Even a five-minute break between projects, calls, or tasks can be enough—just resist the urge to check email or group notifications so you can get back to work with renewed focus.

Connected: Why you need a remote work schedule

5. Clean up the mess

Being organized not only helps you find what you need when you need it, but also contributes to an overall feeling of better control. If a cluttered workspace is a distraction, buy simple storage options like a filing cabinet, book and file shelving, or bins and bins for small items.

6. Use the right technology

Whether you’re working from home or on the go, there are plenty of free and paid productivity tools to improve business processes, documentation, and communication. Here is some of them:

Edison Mail is a mail app for Mac, iOS or Android with a customizable interface that combines accounts. It offers an assistant, organizes messages, and protects its users from spam, among many other features that combine to greatly enhance the email experience.

Freshbooks makes it easy to see how your business is doing and helps with offers, time tracking, invoicing, bookkeeping, reporting, mileage tracking and more.

Google Workspace lets you securely store and share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations from your computer or phone, so you can work from anywhere.

7. Outsource whenever possible

Done right, outsourcing is a great way to increase productivity and reduce stress. For example, if you’re struggling to handle administrative tasks, a virtual assistant can handle scheduling, customer service, and even social media marketing. Another option is an accountant to keep finances in order.

8. Track tax deductions

You can lower your taxes by keeping an eye on the (seemingly ever-changing) deductible business and home office expenses. Here are just a few that you can claim upon your return:

• Rent, utilities and insurance are the first two depending on the size of the home office.

• Travel expenses such as airfare, hotels and ground transportation.

• Vehicle expenses based on mileage required for business purposes.

• Consumables and equipment such as computers, phones, printer ink/toner, and paper.

• Professional marketing, accounting, consulting and legal services.

Connected: The Best Tax Tools for Sole Proprietors

9. Have the right insurance

Your productivity can come to a complete halt if you encounter an emergency, natural disaster, or lawsuit and don’t have the proper insurance. Several types to consider:

Commercial auto insurance covers physical damage and liability for vehicles used for business. Depending on your needs, you can add approval to an existing auto policy or purchase a separate one.

Property insurance covers damage or theft of items such as inventory and equipment. You can purchase a standalone business policy or add an endorsement to an existing homeowner or renter policy.

Business interruption insurance covers lost income if your business is affected by a covered event such as a fire, hurricane, or theft.

Professional liability insurance – or Errors and Omissions (E&O) – Provides protection if you make a mistake and are sued for negligence or poor workmanship.

If you’re not sure what type(s) of insurance you need for your home business, talk to an agent.

Connected: 5 Insurance Policies Every Sole Proprietor Should Have

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