If you work from home then you know all too well what a struggle it can be to stay on task. I’m extremely fortunate to have a job that allows me to go into an office but also has the flexibility to work from home. While working from home is amazing, it also poses a few challenges. The main challenge? Staying on task and not letting yourself get distracted by household chores and personal to-dos. That pile of laundry. Those dirty dishes. What about an unmade bed. Yep, all of those can be the biggest distractions when working from home.
After two years of having the flexibility to work from home or at the office, I’ve found a few tips that help keep me productive when working from home. Hopefully these tips will help you all be more productive if you also work from home!
10 Tips for Being Productive When Working From Home:
One: Get Yourself Ready In The Morning
- Trust me, I know how tempting it is to roll out of bed, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and open up the laptop to start cranking out the days work. Then the next thing you know, it’s 3pm and you’re still in your pajamas, haven’t washed your face or brushed your teeth. It happens to the best of us! I’ve found that I’m much more productive when I get out of bed, have that cup of coffee and then get ready for the day as if I were going to the office. This includes: brushing my teeth, washing my face, putting on make-up, and changing into new clothes. I do like to be comfortable when I’m working from home. Which usually means wearing yoga pants and a sweatshirt, which is still an upgrade from the nights before pajamas.
Two: Have A Designated Work Space
- This doesn’t mean make the sofa or bed your workspace. Let’s be real, it’s practically impossible to get anything accomplished in your bed. The sofa can be just as bad (especially when you have a cuddle bug of a dog). The second I bring my laptop to either one of these places my productivity levels plummet. You don’t have to have an in-home office to be productive. Just a dedicated space will do. I mean, if you’re lucky enough to have an in-home office then more power to you (and I’m completely jealous). I usually set up shop for the day at my dining room table. Rarely do I use my office nook, it’s so pretty but I think I hate that it faces the wall. You can see my darling little office nook in this post here.
Three: Clean Up Your Work Space
- The biggest distractor for me when working from home is if my apartment is messy. Since I generally work at my dining room table I can’t keep my focus if the kitchen and/or living room are messy because I can see both of them. Without a home office where I can just go and close the door, I have to make sure my apartment is clean. If I can see it from the table it needs to be tidy. Otherwise I will focus on it all day instead of my work. To combat this, I usually straighten up the night before or first thing in the morning.
Four: Take A Break & Get Out Of The House
- I don’t know about you guys but I go stir crazy when I’m home all day. I make it a point to to get out and go grab myself some lunch or coffee. Human interaction outside the walls of your home are important to escape your own thoughts that can creep up when it’s just you and yourself working.
Five: Play Music That Fires You Up
- We all have that music we love that fires us up to be productive and get s*** done. Am I right or am I right? When you’re working from home you aren’t subjected to the music that your office plays. I have very specific taste in music and it can really contribute to my productivity levels depending on what’s playing. I really love working to instrumental jazz music right now, sometimes upbeat country, and occasionally hip hop/rap. There’s nothing like a messy top knot and good rap song to really help you get a project done. <– Or is that just me?!
Six: Set Work Hour Boundaries
- It’s easy to get caught up and let yourself work well into the night when you work from home. But it’s important to set work hour boundaries and know when it’s time to shut it down for the day. Having work hour boundaries will force you into making sure you’re productive during the day so you can log off at a reasonable hour. No one wants to log unnecessary hours late at night just because you weren’t productive during the day (unless that’s when your most productive).
Seven: Create a Schedule That Works For Your Productivity Levels
- Are you super productive in the morning but crash around 4pm? Maybe you can’t get it together in the morning but have your peak hours at night? Or maybe you’re like me and have a terrible afternoon crash between 1pm-3pm. If your job allows it, work around the hours that work best for you. Since I almost always have a afternoon slump I tend to use this time to go get my lunch or coffee. Just the act of walking down the street to get these reenergizes me versus trying to tough it out at the computer. Ahh vitamin-D!
Eight: Remove Distractions
- For me, it’s my personal cell phone. I too easily go down the rabbit hole that is otherwise known as Instagram. Having it in hands reach is too tempting so I put it out of reach. Works like a charm!
Nine: Tidy Your Workspace At The End Of The Day
- Even if you’re going back to the same exact spot to work the next day, cleaning up at night is best. This will allow your mind to be fresh and clear when you step back into your working space the next morning. This one also helps me feel like the work day is officially done.
Ten: Make Your Bed
- This isn’t only a working from home tip but just a tip in general. However, making your bed would definitely help you from sneaking back into it to “work” when working from home. If you haven’t seen the 2014 commencement speech by Admiral William H. McRaven then I highly recommend watching it. He talks about ways to change the world. The first on the list?! You guessed it, make your bed. Why? He says that, “if you make your bed in the morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.” You can watch the rest of the speech below or see it here, I highly recommend it!
Happy Monday, Friends! Here’s to having a productive week!