If you’ve landed on this page, then you are probably in search of ways to stay productive when working from home. Indeed, home and work are somehow in opposition, but we must adapt to this new reality.
Working from home is not easy, but millions of people do it, and many of them are impressively productive.
Here is a complete guide to improving your productivity if you work from home. Applying the following tips is not simple, but you don’t have any other choice if you need to work from home.
Stay Productive When Working from Home
Test, Evaluate, and Decide
Improving your productivity should be your top concern, no matter how or where you work.
- The first step in the never-ending quest of becoming an efficient person is to become aware of the fact that you have to take action.
- Next is the documentation step—read and learn from other people’s experiences.
- Finally, implement one idea at a time, evaluate the effects, and decide whether to continue implementing it or stop.
For instance, plenty of productivity experts claim that getting up early in the morning makes you more productive. It may work for some people, but there is no guarantee that it will work for you.
The only way to find out is to test and evaluate it. Wake up at the same time every morning for at least two weeks and evaluate the impact of this change. Keep up this routine if you feel that it has a positive influence; otherwise, stop being an early bird.
You won’t ever be productive “enough,” so be prepared to repeat this process over and over again.
Talk to Yourself
Everyone wants to be more productive when working from a small home office, but only a few do something about it. It’s challenging to keep the same level of motivation for months or years when you have so many temptations at home.
Procrastination, chatting, spending time with the family, and Netflix are just a few things that may distract you.
Talk to yourself, and be honest! Some people can’t detach from the home temptations and need an office to work from. It’s not bad at all! You may be one of those people, and you won’t find the proper solution if you don’t try.
Ask yourself, “Am I ready to stay focused on the comfort of my home?” A big and bold YES is the only proper answer.
Talk to Your Family or Roommate
It’s not enough for you to fully commit to making yourself productive. For example, if you live with your family or roommates, they need to know that you’re working from home and act accordingly.
People living solo don’t face this issue, while parents of toddlers need the most support and unity.
Your partner should respect your work and self-improvement endeavors. There are endless types of families and partners, so there is no universal piece of advice.
Still, getting your partner’s acceptance and understanding is vital when you work from home.
Designate a Workspace
Your mental preparation and your family’s or roommates’ acceptance matter a lot, but they are only the tip of the iceberg. Your workspace is also a significant factor in the complicated equation of high productivity.
It’s cool to email your clients from your bed while in your pajamas, but it’s unproductive in the long term. The correct approach is to designate a workspace at home, ideally an entire room, if you can spare one.
The workspace should ensure privacy and silence; you should feel like you are at work and not at home. A quality chair does wonders at both the office and home. Make sure your space gets natural light to avoid eye fatigue.
Setting up a comfortable workspace will take some time, but the final result can help you stay productive.
Discipline is vital for everyone, and working from home is a real test to determine your discipline. Your options are limited when working with colleagues and managers at the office. On the other hand, you have a clear schedule and know that someone is more or less monitoring your activity.
Conversely, you have complete freedom at home, and it’s normal to mix work and leisure there. But, sadly, this mix is nonconductive to working quickly and correctly.
Strong discipline is the antidote for the problem! First, you have to realize that you alone are responsible for your productivity. If you are disciplined and reject procrastination, your productivity will be high.
Otherwise, you’ll end up doing poor work that will generate lots of friction with your clients and partners.
Set a Clear Schedule
Measuring your discipline level is pretty complicated, but setting a clear schedule and sticking to it for many days is a reasonable sign that you are doing well. A clear schedule is not only a discipline test but also helpful when working from home.
First, it’s about your routine. You can separate work from your personal life by setting and following a schedule. You’ll intensely concentrate on assignments for a few hours, and you’ll be more productive. The rest of the day is for family and hobbies.
Second, it’s about your health. Working for days and days without relaxation is the surefire path to inefficiency, burnout, and even depression.
Third, your family and friends will know that between 9.00 AM and 5.00 PM, for example, you’ll be working, and it’s not okay to disturb you. Everyone wins if you set a clear schedule!
There are countless books and posts about avoiding distractions when working from home. But all of them come down to your inner will and motivation.
Sometimes, you will miss that annoying boss who desperately asks you to finish your contribution to a project. Indeed, that boss may be irritating, but he forces you to avoid distractions and push through.
You should take on the role of the boss when working from home. It’s a common saying among freelancers that you are your most demanding boss. Hence, you have to do everything possible to avoid distractions when working from home.
Here are a few ideas to try:
- Limit your smartphone usage during work hours.
- Limit your social media time.
- Take regular meals and snack breaks.
- Isolate yourself in your workspace.
- Wear casual clothes, not pajamas.
Keep Track of Your Productivity
A bird’s eye view of your work is capital to stay productive when working from home. An app that tracks your productivity is golden in this respect. It doesn’t interfere with your work but gives you precious info about your effectiveness.
I use Rescue Time, and the results have been game-changing. In the beginning, I was utterly depressed after observing how unproductive I was. The time I wasted on Facebook and Twitter was equal to the time I effectively worked.
Step by step, I focused more on work, and my productivity rating substantially improved. But, of course, I couldn’t do it without such a precious helper. So my strong recommendation is to use a productivity app, no matter if you work from the office or home.
You may be tempted to believe that taking breaks hurts productivity. But, truthfully, breaks improve productivity! The real problem is how to take them in a way that makes you stay productive.
You probably had standard breaks when working in an office, and you could compare yourself to your coworkers. For example, if all your colleagues took a 45-minute break for breakfast, the chances are that you did the same.
Working from home makes these habits and conventions disappear and generates stress. It’s not a big deal, but all these minor issues combined affect your morale and efficiency. It’s not an exaggeration to say that someone who knows how to take breaks knows how to self-improve.
Breaks aren’t rocket science. You are your own universe, and you know your strong and weak points. Create your own system or strategy for breaks adapted to your needs and your family. Certainly, don’t stay in your chair for hours—you have to move your body after an hour of sitting.
Next, combine work with daily chores. Maybe you are a talented chef-to-be; consider cooking a healthy meal after a few hours of intensive work.
Finally, take at least one daily break in a park or nature. It relaxes your brain and gives you an inspirational boost.
Take Care of Your Mental Well-Being
You can’t be effective when you are frustrated, fatigued, or worried. Bills and rent, problems with family, and annoying customers are unavoidable, and you have to pass over them.
Your mental well-being is in more danger when working from home. If you work from an office, home is a place to relax. When you work from home, though, it’s no longer a place you associate with relaxation.
Take special care of your mental well-being while working from home. You may get bored more easily and become ticked off. Consequently, your productivity goes down. You will undoubtedly miss socializing with your coworkers, and it will considerably affect your mental state.
Schedule visits with friends, work from a coffee shop from time to time, spend a reasonable amount of time with family, travel to a nice destination, and do things you like to improve your mental health.
Take Care of Your Physical Well-Being
Taking care of your body doesn’t mean tens of hours working out in a gym. For most of us, 30 minutes of walking is the minimal amount of time we need to keep healthy. Of course, the more time you are active, the better for your health.
Only healthy people can move on to improving their efficiency. So no matter where you work, your health is your most precious asset.
You are on thin ice when working from home because you are more tempted to do other things. For example, it’s more comfortable to take a one-hour break and sit on your couch to watch a movie than go for a walk in the neighborhood or do some stretching.
Working from home is a real issue, and if you are a parent of one or two active kids, it’s a near-impossible mission to stay productive. Still, you don’t have too many choices, so getting the most from your time should be your number one priority if you want to stay productive when working from home.
It does not matter if you started a new, blog, website, or participate in a project. This post aimed to scratch the surface of self-improving productivity. It’s written in our DNA to procrastinate and save our energy, so you have to fight against yourself to stay productive!
Bear in mind that it’s difficult but possible to remain and stay productive in the comfort of your home.
Re-read the above tips and start applying them to your life. I emphasize that some of these tips might not work for you, but most people working from home agree with them.
So let us know what you think about our suggestions, and start your campaign to stay productive even if you work from home.