The idea of working from home is something that plenty of people want, in theory.
It feels like autonomy, and you can enjoy your free time once you finish work early. You don’t have to worry about the commute too. Plus, you get to be with your family.
All of these together seems like a phenomenal time, but the reality isn’t as good as this.
One of the biggest hurdles that you need to jump over to start a smooth sailing work-from-home situation would be productivity. It’s a lot more challenging to stay productive when you work from home.
Not only are your family members a distraction, but so is your own home.
If you want to be able to accomplish your tasks, you need to be more proactive in addressing your productivity. On that note, here are 13 tips that will aid you in your quest to stay productive, even when you’re working from home:
Have a designated work area
It’s much easier to work in the office than it is to work from home because you have a designated work area in the office.
At home, all you have are places of leisure. Although you could also be one of the lucky few who have actual office space available for use at home. However, not everyone’s so fortunate.
Therefore, you should set up a designated work area at home. It doesn’t have to be anything too elaborate. Even a table at the corner of your room is good enough, as long as everything is ergonomic.
Having a dedicated makeshift office at home will help your brain remember that whenever you’re in that specific place, you’re only supposed to work. Anything otherwise is a no-go.
It will also help others in your home know that you're not free to mingle with at all when you're there. It sets up a boundary in your brain and against others.
Fix yourself a cup of coffee (or tea)
A lot of people tend to stop by a nearby coffee shop before they head into their office. Plus, a cup of coffee or tea is a great pick-me-up for the mornings, so there’s no harm done with having a cup before the workday.
However, this may not be possible for you right now since you’re working from home. Therefore, you might want to fix yourself a cup of coffee or tea before you start your workday.
The key is to make sure you’ve got a cup of coffee or tea before you start the workday and buckle down for your work. Otherwise, you’re going to lose the groove once you stand up and go to your kitchen and make yourself that cup of coffee.
Dress for work
We’ve all seen those funny videos of people who got caught during a video call with coworkers wearing only their sleepwear or, in some cases, just their underwear. It’s a hilarious result for a lot of people working from home.
However, you wouldn’t want to be that person in the video now, would you?
Even if you’re not on a video call with your coworkers, you still need to make sure that you dress for work. Mind you, dressing in professional clothes is going to shift your mindset into professional mode.
You don’t have to do the whole outfit, but you can still be more professional about it. Keep things neat and tidy. You don’t have to wear shoes indoors, of course, but a clean top and some pants are all good enough to get you in that mood.
Work regular hours
Depending on your work situation, you might need to be available for work within set hours.
For some people, their working hours might now rely on them as long as they get their job done. In this case, it’s much better to have a set schedule for work than to have to work irregular hours.
Having a schedule helps you stick to your goals. It helps you have a sense of a deadline and urgency with the work that you do.
Sure, working regular hours can be difficult if you’re also juggling your household chores. However, you should still try and create a semblance of a system where you always get considerable chunks of time all for work.
Set specific goals
It can be overwhelming to work from home for a lot of people, especially for parents who also have to manage their kids.
In this case, one way to help you stay productive and work-efficient is to set a specific goal for each day. Your particular purpose should be the one you’re aiming for the entire day.
The most urgent tasks should be the ones that you focus on first. If you feel like too much goes on in a day for you to be able to set a specific schedule, then you can do this method instead. It lets you know what the priority is without constraining you to a set schedule.
That way, you won’t feel bad if you don’t stick to the schedule you set for yourself if you were able to accomplish the goal for the day anyway.
Take short breaks
Another reason why working from home is difficult for people is because they forget to delineate the time for work and time for relaxing. After all, they’re still at home, and you’re still human, and you need that break to work better.
There’s a reason why you have lunch breaks and short breaks in between your work.
It can be challenging to get back into the groove of things once you step away, but skipping meals isn’t the way to go about things.
Remember to step away from your work and let your eyes relax for a bit. Stand up and stretch your body and close your eyes for a short while. You can always come back to your work, but it’s better that you come back with a bit more motivation and energy.
Try a white noise machine
Each person has a different preference for the ideal environment that makes them do their jobs better.
For some people, they want it to be complete silence. Other people can get by with a little noise. Some people need a bit of noise, but not enough that it ends up distracting them.
If you're the latter, then you might want to get yourself a white noise machine. You can download apps on your phone to help you get white noise while you work.
If you don’t want white noise, you can look up coffee shop background noise instead. You can try out Coffitivity for that coffee shop background noise that you want.
Proper lighting is essential
Your lighting situation also influences how well you can work.
If your room is too bright, you might have a harder time looking at your computer screen. Your eyes might need to strain to fight against the glare. On the other hand, if it’s too dark, your eyes also need to adjust to the poor lighting.
Both of these situations will fatigue your eyes. Therefore, you should ensure that you have proper lighting in your dedicated work area.
Keep your workspace clean
If there are too many items unrelated to your work around your workspace, it’s going to end up distracting you. Plus, it’s going to get in the way of your work.
Therefore, before you start working, make sure that you keep your workspace clean first.
Abandon your unproductive habits
Each of us has unproductive habits that we’re aware of, which hinders certain aspects of our lives.
Since we live in a digital world, the biggest distraction right now is the technology around us. Thus, make sure that you don’t connect to social media while you’re working.
Avoid TV and your phone while working to ensure that you stay on task.
Stay connected to combat isolation
Your coworkers may have been a distraction from work, but they’re also people you can bounce off work ideas that you might miss while working from home.
Try to reconnect with coworkers that you’re close with and ask them to be your work-from-home buddy. That way, you won’t feel isolated and have someone to help you brainstorm.
Take care of yourself
Make sure that you also take the time to walk around and do your exercise and not skip meals.
If your body isn’t feeling well, you’re hardly in any state to be productive, even if you’re working from home. Therefore, make sure that you keep healthy while at home.
Get some exercise. Meditate. Eat healthy food and leave the treats for the weekend.
Know when to stop working
It’s hard to get out of a work groove once you get things going, but you still need to learn when to stop working.
You shouldn’t be spending more hours working just because you’re working from home. It’s unfair to you and your family.
Knowing when to stop will help ensure that you don’t burn out from work. It gives you the rest you need to stay productive consistently.
Over to You
Working from home can be what you make of it. If you aren’t proactive when it comes to remaining productive, you can get swept away quickly.
Therefore, make sure that when you’re working from home, you find ways to focus on the critical tasks at hand.
With the 13 tips listed above, you’ll hopefully have a better idea of how you can better manage your productivity. Try them out and test your self-discipline. Working from home can only be fun if you are doing work while at home.
About the Author
Raymond Chiu is the Director of Operations for Maid Sailors, an NYC office cleaning provider. Maid Sailors offers its customers unrivaled office cleaning services that can address even the toughest cleaning needs. Matched with affordable prices, Maid Sailors is your best partner in helping you turn your office into a work-friendly workplace.