Working from home sounds like a dream come true for many workers. There’s no need to wake up early to beat traffic, the commute is just a few steps away from the bedroom, and you have the flexibility to design your workday around your life. However, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. When you work from home, it’s easy to get distracted by household chores, your family, pets, or even your phone. Distractions can lead to procrastination, which ultimately affects your productivity.
In this blog post, we’re going to share ten tips to help you stay productive while working from home. Whether you’re a freelancer who’s been working from home for years, or you’re new to remote work due to the pandemic, these tips will help you create a more productive and successful work environment.
Create a Schedule and Stick to It
When you work from home, it’s tempting to sleep in a little longer or take longer breaks throughout the day. However, if you want to stay productive, it’s essential to create and stick to a schedule. Determine when your workday will start and end, and plan your breaks and lunchtime accordingly. By establishing your hours in advance, you’ll find it easier to figure out when you’re going to do specific tasks and remain consistent throughout the day.
One way to create a schedule is to figure out which times of the day you usually feel more motivated or focused. Some people are morning people, while others work better in the afternoon or evening. You can even try the Pomodoro technique, which involves working for 25 minutes and then taking a five-minute break. Repeat this cycle a few times, and then take a more extended break.
Create a Dedicated Workspace
You don’t have to have a full office at home to have a productive workspace. However, it’s important to create a space that you can use just for work. This could be a desk in the living room, a table in your bedroom, or another designated spot that feels conducive to work.
Having your workspace allows you to concentrate on your job without distractions. Additionally, creating an office-like environment can help you stay professional and remain focused. You might also want to use a planner or whiteboard to help you keep track of your tasks.
Set Boundaries to Avoid Distractions
When you’re working from home, it’s easy for friends, family, or housemates to assume you’re available for any need that arises during the day. However, you need to set boundaries to help you avoid distractions. Encourage your loved ones housemates to respect your working hours by using a sign on your door or telling them when you will be available.
If there are specific hours when you’re available to answer emails, phone calls, or text. Let your clients know your hours in your email signature, voicemail, or email autoresponder. By managing expectations, you’ll avoid surprises and be able to get more done during the day.
Use a Timer to Stay on Task
It’s easy to get lost in time or distractions when you’re working from home. By using a timer, you can stay focused and take more effective breaks. A timer will help you track the time you spend working without distractions and help you establish when it’s time to take a break.
The Pomodoro technique, which we mentioned earlier, uses a timer to help you divide your work into 25-minute segments with short breaks in between. You can use a kitchen timer, your phone’s timer, or a specialized time management app that allows you to customize the length of each work and break session.
Create a To-Do List
When you work from home, it’s easy to get sidetracked by tasks that aren’t urgent. You may find yourself spending too much time on social media, checking emails or housework instead of working on your projects. To help you stay on track, create a to-do list each morning or at the end of your workday for the day after.
Your to-do list should contain the essential tasks you need to complete, the time you will spend on each activity, and the deadlines. Prioritizing your tasks on your to-do list will help you focus your energy on the most critical tasks and also make you feel accomplished when you cross off everything from your list.
Use a Noise-Cancelling Headset
It’s easy to get distracted by noise when you’re working from home. Whether it’s your family members or neighbors talking loudly, delivery trucks outside, or pets barking, noise can affect your focus and productivity. You may find it helpful to use a noise-cancelling headset to block out outside noise.
A noise-cancelling headset can eliminate background noise, helping you concentrate and increase your accuracy. Additionally, certain types of music or ambient noise, like white noise or sounds of nature, can boost your focus and productivity.
Communicate Effectively with your Team
Working from home does not mean working in isolation. Communication remains essential in remote work as it does in a traditional workplace. Communicate regularly with your team to stay motivated, informed and work together to achieve common goals.
Choose a communication method that works best for you and your team. Whether it’s email, Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Zoom, use a tool that members are comfortable with and respond quickly to messages. If you miss workplace banter or socialization, set up a virtual water cooler, and recreate those casual interactions you would engage in during the office.
Take Breaks Regularly
Taking regular breaks throughout the day is essential when you work from home. Sitting for long periods can lead to physical discomfort and a decrease in productivity. Taking short breaks throughout the day can help you refresh, recharge and stay motivated.
You could take a walk outside to get some fresh air, stretch, meditate or even do some housework. The important thing is to step away from your work and clear your mind. You may also find that taking a break improves your focus when you return to your work.
Take Care of Your Physical and Mental Health
Working from home can lead to a sedentary lifestyle, which can affect not only your physical health but also your mental health. It’s essential to focus on your overall well-being to remain productive and happy at work.
Incorporate movement into your day whenever possible, like taking a lunchtime walk or a quick workout. Eat healthy meals that include fruits and vegetables, drink plenty of water and limit your caffeine and sugar intake. Additionally, engage in self-care activities like meditation, reading or hobbies that help you reduce stress and focus on your mental health.
Lastly, take advantage of the flexibility that working from home provides and enjoy the outdoors whenever possible. Being outside can help you reduce screen fatigue, relieve stress, and improve your physical and mental well-being. Even if you only have a few minutes, take a walk around the block or sit outside for a while.
Working from home can be highly productive and fulfilling. However, to make the most of a work-from-home situation, you need to focus on creating a productive and conducive environment that enables you to stay on task and achieve your goals. Create a schedule, establish boundaries, use a timer, and take breaks regularly. Communicate effectively with your team, prioritize your to-do list, and take care of your physical and mental health. Incorporating these tips into your workday will improve your productivity, ensuring you get the most out of your work-from-home experience.