Tips to stay productive while working from home
Working from home is amazing. There is no business dress code, there’s no boss to surprise-walk by your computer to ensure you’re not on YouTube, and if you have to take a break or schedule a doctor’s appointment, you can do that, guilt-free. And like a benefit lot of us here at AmDee enjoy, you can travel while you work.
But the biggest struggle of working remotely is perhaps its greatest advantage: You manage yourself when working from home. If you find it difficult to hold yourself accountable, then it might be difficult to stay productive while working remotely.
That being said it is possible there are common misconceptions that working from home is somehow easier than going to an office. It’s important to mentally prepare yourself to take advantage of the benefits of working from home with a few conscious actions for your home office to be productive. Keep reading to find out tips on how to stay productive while working from home!
Have a designated workspace
If your interpretation of working from home means working from your bed, it might be time for a reality check.
Having a designated workspace is one of the most beneficial investments for your productivity.
When you work from home, boundaries are easily crossed. The place that used to only be the place for play and relaxing, is now also the same space where you need to churn out work.
It’s important to make having a designated workspace a priority.
Your designated workspace can be something as simple as a desk or even a separate office space. If finding the room in your own space for a desk or a studio isn’t realistic or if you’re working while traveling, then working out of the library or a coffee shop might be a better, more productive option for you.
Schedule out your day
Adhering to a schedule is a life-changer when it comes to managing your own time, work, and projects.
A loose routine is a start, but fully scheduling out your day is a game-changer.
The night before, start your schedule according to how early you want to wake up, “7:30 am: Wake up time.” Then go hour by hour, task by task. Of course, it’s also important to schedule a clear time for breaks and meals. If a task goes over the designated time, that’s also fine.
Your calendar should be a base schedule so you have a strong idea of how much you’re going to be able to accomplish in a certain amount of time.
Keep an editorial or project based calendar
With so many projects to keep track of, starting and maintaining an editorial or project based calendar is a way to organize everything that needs to happen and when it needs to happen by.
It’s also important to note that some people are more productive during the morning hours while others are typically more productive during the evening. Maybe you are a mix or morning and evening but take time off during the afternoon. By working from home you can take advantage, no matter your style.
You can use organizational task apps like Teamwork or Skyword or you can maintain a Google Calendar.
If you like keeping your calendar old-school, then a paper and pen planner might do the trick.
It’s important to try a few platforms until you find the one that you are comfortable using and has all of the features you need.
Prioritize difficult tasks
Have you ever done that thing where you keep a list of all the day’s to-do’s and even though you keep crossing off tasks, that one notably “horrible” task stays there? And then maybe it doesn’t get done and then the next day it’s on the to-do list again.
Don’t be that person that procrastinates a difficult task. If you are, then maybe you want to try your hand at the Eisenhower Decision Matrix, a productivity technique that focuses on accomplishing “urgent” tasks first.
Make that hard task a priority and get it done first. That way it’s finished and never darkens your door with dread again.
And remember, too, that you don’t have to do everything. If you work with a team, sharing your workload is usually an option. When you work together and ask for help when you need it, your team is going to be much more productive in the long run.
Act like you’re going into an office
Listen, pajamas are acceptable. In fact, it’s one of the many advantages of working from home. However, PJ’s only work half the time. Getting dressed for a traditional, in-office work day is important, even when you’re office is a desk in the corner of your bedroom. It puts you in the right, productive state of mind to get work done. When you’re in jammies all day, it’s harder to shut off the “playtime” part of your brain. By making this small change with your clothes, it will get you into that working mindset.
Avoid any distracting entertainment
You learn a lot about yourself working from home and while everyone’s lesson is perhaps different, I have learned that I simply can’t try to catch up on television during the workday. It becomes very difficult for me to separate work from play when I’ve got my laptop in front of me, a blank, open Microsoft Word document, but then a television’s screen blaring behind it.
Maybe you’re like me and television multitasking while working doesn’t work for you; or maybe it’s just not feasible for you to accomplish your work while listening to music.
Everybody’s different, it’s important to identify the things that make concentrating on projects and finishing work difficult, then avoid them like the plague.
Keep those things—whether it’s music or television—for playtime only. When it’s time to work from home, focus on what it is you have to do: work from home.
Avoid the distraction of social media
Social media is a tempting distraction no matter if you’re working in the office or working remotely. But at home, it can be a little bit easier to get sidetracked. After all, no boss is observing your Internet browsing over your shoulder or peeking at your screen as they walk by to the kitchen. When you get sidetracked at home, you might not be able to find yourself until four hours of YouTube videos later.
To avoid the distraction of social media, turn off your Internet. If that’s not possible and you need it to work, there are programs and services like Freedom, Cold Turkey, and Self Control, that let you put a limit on your Internet time or block certain sites (like Facebook or Instagram) temporarily.
What’s the key to staying productive while working either from home or remotely? The key is finding out what works best for you based on your productivity preferences. Stay as organized as you can—by maintaining an editorial calendar of all your projects, prioritizing difficult tasks, and keeping your work and play separate with a designated workspace.
What productivity tips work for you when working from home? Let us know on twitter!