7 Ways to Stay Productive When You Work From Home

Working from home can be a blessing and a curse — your commute is the best, but working and living in the same space can make it difficult to create separate spaces of work and play. If you’re finding yourself way less productive than you’d like to be while working at home, we’ve got some tips to help you maximize your efficiency and help you hit refresh on your work life.

 

Establish a morning routine.

Basically, approach each new day as if you were headed into an office with actual people. Get your booty out of bed at the same time, drink your coffee, shower, and get dressed (no pantsuits necessary, jeans are fine — but just say no to all-day lounging in pajama bottoms). Even if you won’t actually be seen by anyone, it’s a head-clearing ritual that prepares you for the day, creating necessary mental distance between home time and work time (the role your morning commute used to play).

 

Source: @hangtw

 

Carve out a dedicated office space. 

Not everyone has a spare room they can flip into a kitted-out home office, but you need a specific space that signals to your brain (and your fam) that you’re on the clock. It can be a desk in a guest bedroom, a certain chair and TV tray, or even your bed with the door closed.

 

Get on a schedule. 

IRL, this one is a toughie: It’s altogether too easy to hop on your computer first thing while still in bed and get stuck there for hours, kicking off a spiral that feels hectic, unhealthy, and untenable. But if you’re working around a schedule (that includes exercise, meals, and mental breaks), you’ll be able to set regular hours, which helps you organize your day and also lets your clients know when they can reach you uninterrupted.

 

Source: @juciachong

 

Multi-task, multi-task, multi-task. 

Double up on at-home tasks that need to be done with your work that can be taken out of the “office.” Schedule phone calls during drivetime or your morning walk. And tackle “easy” to dos —checking email, posting to social media, jotting down prelim thoughts about an upcoming project — while doing low-concentration tasks like boiling pasta or folding laundry.

 

Equip yourself to work mobile.

Invest in items that will allow you to work on the go. If you have a smartphone, laptop, car charger, and a portable WiFi hotspot, you can work in the backyard, park, or your car.

 

Source: @yunah.lee

 

Identify and eliminate time wasters.

Whether you’ve been known to lose hours to daytime television (damn you, Ellen!) or you find yourself making elaborate lunches that take away from work hours, pinpoint the time sucks, then come up with a proactive plan to nix them.

 

 

Employ The Pomodoro Technique.

Developed by a gent named Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s, this time-management technique breaks work into 25-minute chunks, interspersed by 5-minute breaks (with a longer one midday). Use a timer so you’re not constantly checking the clock, and use your 5-minute breaks for quick cleaning tasks like wiping down counters or watering plants (or say screw it and make a cup of tea).

 

How do you make working from home work for you?

  • NettaNy

    I really love this article (despite I read it in bed, before I have gotten out of bed, and it is a working day- to my defense it is 6 am). I have been a freelancer for a little more than year now, and have gone through all steps, and have realized the importance of self discipline, routines and breaks (I am so bad at that). In addition to the good tips above, I have a few more that has made a huge difference for me.
    * get up early and start the day with a walk or exercise/meditation – gives you lots of energy
    * plan your day, and if you know it will be a long day – plan your breaks and meals, to keep up the energy level
    * use “out of the house office spaces” like cafes, libraries, parks etc. It is good to get out of the house to see other people (even if you don’t talk to them)
    * use your breaks to meet friends for a quick coffee or lunch
    * plan and prepare your breakfast/lunch the night before (a foodie like me can easily use one hour to make lunch…)
    * take days off! Being a freelancer/working for home does NOT mean you have to work every day of the week, and be available 24/7!
    Have a great workday 🙂

  • Dora Wheeler

    I’ve been lucky to work from home full time for over 7 years now. For me, the key has been to have a dedicated office space. When I first started “wfh,” I’d sleep with my laptop next to my bed, so that I could fire it up in the morning and check email without getting up. This would sometimes turn into an entire morning working from my bed, or I’d find myself sneaking in some work just before lights out that night. The result was that my bedroom became less a relaxing sanctuary and more a second office – making it harder to unwind when not working. Over time, I’ve learned to embrace my home office (in a spare bedroom) as the main work area. When I leave that room for a break or at the end of the business day, it feels much more like I’m transitioning from work time to me time.

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