Working from home and staying productive can be difficult. Especially if you are new to this way of living, then it can be even more of a learning curve. There are different distractions that you wouldn’t have in an office whether it be family members or a pet. But working from home doesn’t have to be a pain, it can actually be quite enjoyable, as long as you stay on top of everything. So, here’s a list of tips on how to work from home and stay productive.
1. Try to maintain regular working hours:
If you’re new to working from home then this tip is especially for you. Most people who are used to working at home would say that it is extremely beneficial to keep your regular working hours. If you typically would be at work from 9-5, then don’t roll out of bed at 8:45. You should still get up when you normally would and keep your normal workday routine. That includes having lunch when you normally would and possibly scheduling meetings or calls at a time you are already used to.
2. Create a morning routine:
Get fully ready for the day. That way you won’t find yourself back in bed. If you would typically get up and have coffee while playing with your dog, still do that. Also, getting fully dressed like you would if you were going out of the house can also help keep you productive and retain the sense of a “normal schedule”.
3. Have a dedicated office space:
Working from home means you need to have a dedicated office space. Even if it’s just your living room couch with a lap desk or if it’s the kitchen table. If you don’t have the luxury of having your own desk in a separate home office room for your workday, make a space into your home office with everything you’ll need.
4. Remember to actually take your breaks:
I know working remotely might seem easier or less stressful for some, but you still need to take your designated lunch break or any other smaller breaks you get throughout the day. If it is not mandated by your employer, then it should still be a necessity for your sanity. We’ve all been guilty of doing some computer work and just zoning in and not realizing that hours have gone by, believe me, I’ve been there more times than I can count. Since I’ve been in that position so many times, I know the value of taking a well-deserved break. Go eat your lunch in a different room, do your laundry, or write in a journal for a few minutes. You’ll thank yourself later for giving your brain a rest and the much needed non-screen time.
5. If you need an employer’s guidance, ask for it:
If you’re working from home under an employer or you’re new to working from home don’t be afraid to ask for their tips, guidance, or advice. Just because you’re now working from home doesn’t mean you’re an island. If you don’t understand something let your boss know or ask someone else in your same field for advice. This will help keep you on track and also give you peace of mind.
6. If you’re sick, still use your sick days:
Although you might not be getting up to go anywhere and you won’t have to deal with your morning commute, if you are sick or feeling under the weather still use your sick days. This will help give you a day’s break that you would normally have and keep your body and mind fresh.
7. Set timers for tasks:
Stay on task with everything you have to do by setting timers for each task. Our brains sometimes have their own timers for certain tasks and can only handle focusing on one thing for so long. I also know it can be kind of a shock to your body, mind, and routine if you’re new to working from home. Even if you’re a “working from home” pro, staying on task is crucial and this can be done easily with timers on your computer or phone.
8. Keep your area organized:
This doesn’t just mean keep all your pens, pencils, and post-it notes in a row on your desk. This also includes making sure the surrounding area is clean and clutter-free, making sure you can find files easily on your computer, and having other essentials with you. You’ll probably need your chargers, water bottle, granola bars, and hand lotion throughout the day so why not have it already set up for you at your workspace right when you start?
9. Set working boundaries with yourself and others:
Don’t overwork yourself and when you are working let other people in your home know that you may need some quiet, privacy, or space. It can be easy to think that you’ll have so much extra time and energy now that you are working from home and don’t have to commute. In a way this is true, but remember that you’re still doing the same job just from a different location. Setting boundaries with yourself will also help keep you from fatigue or burnout.
10. Make sure you’re eating healthy:
Another way to make sure you have some good energy and are combating fatigue is to eat as healthy as possible. Eating healthily makes most people just feel better and for me, it keeps me in a routine. Snacks and sweets are of course fine and even necessary in moderation, but for the most part, clean eating and healthy foods will help you focus and are the way to go.
11. Exercise and try not to sit all day:
For most people working from home, their job requires sitting and staring at a computer. But it’s not the best to sit and stare at a screen all day. When you work from home the lines can also get blurred of when you should stop working or take a break. So, just at the very least make sure you take some time to get up and walk around. Also, exercise helps many people focus and it can increase brain power. Doing some easy exercising on breaks or in the evening after all of your work is done can be benefical to your at home work day.
12. Take time for yourself:
Take time for yourself to just relax. You still need some wind-down time just like you or anyone would after working all day in an office. If working from home also means your around the same family members every day, all day then taking some time alone in a room could help you all not get on each other’s nerves.
13. Use an agenda or planner:
To make sure you stay on top of everything for work while being in a non-traditional work setting, use an agenda, planner, or calendar. Preferably one you can physically write in, not on your phone or another screen. You’re most likely to remember things if you write them down, but do whatever works best for you. Just make sure you have some sort of account of the meetings and work you have to get done by which deadline.
14. Try to avoid social media or other encompassing distractions:
I know for a lot of people scrolling through their social media is the ultimate chilling at home wind- down activity. At least it is for me. I also definitely get how suddenly working from home can blur the lines of when it’s time to grab your phone and scroll through Instagram. But while you’re on your working hours, try to avoid the tempting apps and websites. You’ll be more focused and get a lot more done, trust me.
15. Have an “end of the day” routine:
Just like having a morning routine, having an end of the day routine can really keep your body and mind in a typical working schedule. You could do whatever you want whether it be writing down some notes for the next day, sending some texts to co-workers, reading, or prepping your lunch for the next day. As long as the routine signifies to your body and mind that the workday is now over, then you’re all set.