When you tell people that you work from home, the conversation is almost always followed by them saying how jealous they are or how awesome it is. Although it definitely has its perks (like not having a boss constantly breathing down your neck), working from home doesn’t mean working any less than someone working a typical 9-5 at the office. In some cases, it means working even more. “So… what’d you do all day?” I’m sure almost everyone who works from home has also gotten this question at least once. The beginning is tough when you’re trying to be productive and ignore distractions. But once you get the hang of it and learn how to effectively use the flexible work hours to your advantage, you’ll be a total pro. But until then, here are 10 tips for staying productive working remotely, and how to get the job done!
1. Establish a routine.
If you don’t establish a routine early on in your transition to working from home, then you’ve got a challenging road ahead of you, girlfriend. Set designated work hours and when to take breaks throughout the day. Working from home isn’t just waking up and starting work at 1 pm or whenever you feel like it. Whether you have your own business or your job allows you to work remotely, it’s still a job that needs work to be done. Maintaining a routine keeps you organized and leaves little room for wasted work time.
2. Set an alarm.
Not having to fight morning rush hour to be in the office by 7 AM everyday is probably one of the best parts about working from home. But, that doesn’t mean getting to wake up at 12 PM either. Set an alarm and start your day early so that you can get everything accomplished that’s on your agenda for the day.
3. Get ready in the morning.
Although staying in pjs all day is oh so tempting, it also keeps you in that lazy mindset. Instead, wake up early, shower, get dressed in actual clothes (still comfy… just not your pajamas), have breakfast and get to work. While you’re getting ready in the morning, you’re allowing yourself time to get in that work mode to get you through the day.
4. Have a designated work space.
When you work from home, it’s important to designate a certain room or area of your home to do your work. Obviously, sitting on the couch with Netflix on in the background sounds like a dream, but it’s unproductive. Try sectioning off an area where you know you’ll be able to focus for a few hours. This could be a home office or just a corner of your living room with a desk and comfy chair. Just find a space where you can work uninterrupted and get your work done for the day.
5. Keep your phone or any distractions out of reach.
When your phone is constantly lighting up from notifications or just being in your sight, it can be pretty distracting. We hear it buzz, we pick it up, and then we’ve just lost 30 minutes of our work day from scrolling aimlessly on Instagram. If your work doesn’t require making phone calls or receiving texts, then put it somewhere out of reach and out of sight.
6. Plan a lunch break.
When you work from home, it’s easy to lose track of time and forget about lunch. But it’s really important that you don’t make this a habit because we all need a little break to refuel. Step away from the computer for half an hour or an hour. Pick up your favorite book, watch an episode of Grey’s while you eat, or take a power nap. Just take a break and let your mind rest for a bit so you’ll feel refreshed and ready to knock out the rest of your work day.
7. Go out for some fresh air.
If you’re sitting at the computer for hours a day, your brain is probably going to be fried by the end of your work day–if you even make it there. When you set a routine, make sure to leave time for small breaks throughout the day so you can get outside for fresh air. Take the dog for a walk, go grab a Starbucks coffee, or just got for a walk by yourself. When your job doesn’t require you to go into an office, it’s easy to become a hermit and not go outside for days. Don’t fall into this habit. Get outside, grab some coffee, clear your head, and come back to your desk feeling re-energized.
8. Work from a coffee shop or co-working space at least once a week.
Sometimes getting out of the apartment and being around other people is just what you need for a little inspiration boost. Go to your local coffee shop, cafe, or co-working space (if available) and treat yourself to a fancy coffee and lunch. Sometimes being in a coffee shop and having that candid white-noise in the background can help keep you focused better than at home with so many distractions around.
9. Snack on healthy foods throughout the day.
Snacking on muffins and chips while you work can be so temping when you’re at home because it’s just there. These kind of snack foods will just end up leaving you feeling sluggish and bloated for the rest of the day. Try stocking your fridge and pantry with healthier options to fuel your body with essential nutrients to give you that natural energy and keep you full until your next big meal.
10. Know when it’s time to stop for the day.
When you don’t have to worry about clocking in and out of work, it’s easy to work until the wee hours of the night and completely miss dinner. When you set your routine, make sure you have a set work schedule. Know when it’s time to stop for the day and leave time to do things for yourself or around your place: go wash the dog, do laundry, watch Netflix, enjoy happy hour, make dinner or treat yourself to an evening out with friends.
Do you have any more tips for staying productive working remotely? Let us know down below in the comments!
Recent Barry University graduate and Florida girl living in Dallas. If I'm not up writing or editing at 3AM, then I'm probably still up binge-watching Grey's Anatomy, again.