Working Hard Or Hardly Working? Striking A Balance When Your Office Is At Home

Caspar, our Enterprise Intern, tells us how you can stay focused on your start-up when you’re working from home

It’s been full steam ahead for the past week at Enterprise. Between supporting students with their last minute SPARK applications and getting the Student Innovation Festival ready for launch, we really needed all the office hours we could get. And then, as if timed to cause absolute annoyance, Cardiff welcomed The Beast from the East with open arms.

Having to work from home for a couple of days had its perks but did little for my motivation. However, it got me thinking about the students we’re supporting in their business’ infancy, and whether the home/work crossover it a barrier for young entrepreneurs. Distractions, distractions and more distractions; they’re everywhere and you’ll need to be disciplined before they snowball and leave your motivation bum-first on the ice. Here’s some tips on how to keep your eye on the prize and not on your bed…

Treat it like a workplace

If you’re going to work at home, make sure you’re going to work. Don’t, under any circumstance, work in your bed. It will immediately make you tired and the last thing you want to do is disassociate your bed from somewhere that you can relax at the end of the day. Living rooms and kitchens are your best bet and this is where you can build your professional environment. Is your work room free from distractions? If you want a window, does it have one? Maybe you want an office plant? Picture your ideal office and emulate that. And lastly, dress appropriately. You wouldn’t go to work in your pyjamas so getting dressed is the least you can do to focus yourself on the day ahead.

Take regular breaks

No one can work non-stop for 8 hours a day. It’s not efficient, nor is it healthy and you’ll push yourself further from your goal as your business becomes a chore. There’s no golden rule when it comes to when you should be taking your breaks because everyone’s attitude is different. Some people may work for 30 minutes or an hour and take 5 or 15 minute breaks, but results come when they strike a balance that works for them. Figure out how long you can focus for, then how long you need to reset that clock and you’ll have your timetable. This is also means you need to take into account a proper lunch break, but you should be making time for breakfast, lunch and dinner anyway!

Schedule and Make a To-Do List

You’ve got your designated work space and you know how to stay focused between breaks, now you need a proper schedule. Allow yourself time at the beginning of the week to make a full plan of what you need to do and when it needs to be done by. Personally, I struggle to manage objectives that seem overbearing if I haven’t broken them down into manageable tasks. It’s easier to achieve long term goals if you clearly outline what needs to be done in the short term, and this is where you can start pencilling in your to-do list for each hour of your working day. It goes without saying that this is an easy way of measuring your progress in the absence of validation from employers, colleagues and income. Scheduling will also keep your working day restricted, so you know when it’s fine to clock out. And believe us, you’ll need to literally clock out. Make time for your friends, housemates and being outside to avoid being consumed by the home you live and work in.

Struggling to work from home? Talk to Enterprise about getting desk-space in Cardiff to give you a designated place to work, access to meeting and conference rooms and an address for your business.

Inspired? Get involved with Cardiff University Enterprise and Start-up!

Do you have entrepreneurial inspirations and aspirations? Cardiff University Enterprise and Start-up could help you realise your full potential in business and entrepreneurship. It’s all about thinking creatively, spotting opportunities, making things happen and developing skills for life. It’s not just about business; it’s about helping you to make the most of yourself.

We run workshops, competitions and sessions to help you develop skills and knowledge. Find out about all our courses and sessions on the intranet, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, with #ideastolife, or email us at entreprise@cardiff.ac.uk.

Your feedback and help please

Have you found this blog post useful?  Please help us by commenting in the comments bar below, and  if there is anything further you’d like to know ask your questions there too.

We’d also be grateful if you can share this information by re-tweeting or sharing with your fellow students who may find this useful – you can do this by using the share buttons or via twitter and facebook.

Best wishes,

Caspar Jayasekera, Enterprise Intern

Your Student Life, Supported.

The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including: Advice and MoneyCareers and EmployabilityCounselling, Health and WellbeingDisability and Dyslexia and International Student Support.

The Student Support Centres are located at 50 Park Place, Cathays Campus and Cardigan House, Heath Park Campus.

For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.


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