Staying productive can be hard when you’re working from home. A double-edged sword, working from home can truly test your self-control. Sure, you could plunge into this week’s payroll and PTO reporting… Or, you could watch just one more episode of The Office. Thinking about an office is kind of like working, right? Here are some tips for working from home without losing your productivity.
- Assess Your Pitfalls
- Set Aside Regular Breaks
- Eat And Snack Regularly, Plan In Advance
- Set Up A Proper Workspace
- Use Timers And Set Task Boundaries
- Keep Work Within Work Hours
Assess Your Pitfalls—Snacks and TV Begone!
If you’re anything like many first-time freelancers, you’ll probably take a bit more time to relax when you start working from home. That’s cool, and it makes sense, but it can be really tough to catch up if you fall behind. So, the question is, how do these influencers & marketers on LinkedIn and Pinterest do it? Stay productive and disciplined, that is.
One of the super-simple tips for working from home and staying productive is:
Remove Your Sources Of Temptation From Sight
It might seem a little silly at first, but limiting the number of temptations in your workspace is a great way to boost your productivity massively. A tip for working from home which is good if you need to focus for a concentrated period of time, is to turn your phone on airplane mode for a few hours at a time. This really helps to limit any possible distractions stopping you from working.
Set Aside Regular Breaks
Taking breaks can be a great way to maintain productivity, but taking ineffective breaks will only serve to break down your focus and efficiency. Don’t skip breaks just because you’re in a flow state. Over time, you can train your brain to maintain a flow state, also called Wu Wei. Productivity masters tout the effectiveness of music with a wireless headset for maintaining your flow through breaks.
Continuing to work even when your brain feels saturated and you feel like you simply can’t retain any more information will counteract your productivity levels. If you’re the sort of person who lives by a rigorous schedule, don’t cut yourself slack, but plan your time accordingly instead, so you have time to take care of your must-haves, like food, water, and similar things—before focusing on your other relaxation techniques.
Stop Looking At Chores As Chores
Chores can provide a welcome break—and necessary physical activity to keep you healthy. One of our other key tips for working from home is to take care of them in bursts, between work sprints. Sure, you could binge another episode or play a game during your half-hour lunch break, but what if you spend fifteen minutes making a meal mindfully and carry on with cleanup that you have to do later regardless instead?
Eat And Snack Regularly, Plan In Advance
Working on an empty tank is approximately as effective as trying to drive a car without fuel. Sure, you might get lucky and coast down a hill, but you’re generally wasting your time. Eating healthy food and doing so regularly is one of the best ways you can keep your productivity levels and mood high.
Since picking meals and snacks can be challenging, you can pre-prep and portion out your food and drinks into daily sets and then open the corresponding containers at your regular times. Snacks are a great way to stay energized between meals and boost your metabolism, ensuring you make the most of each meal as you eat it.
Set Up A Proper Workspace
Another vital tip for working from home is: establish a space with a door. They’ve learned that people and sounds are far more respectful of doors than invisible boundaries. Doors are also immensely more effective at locking distractions and distracting thoughts out.
You Don’t Need A Huge Home Office To Succeed
Many successful freelancers set up closets, guest bedrooms, and other small rooms as their offices in order to make sure they have a sacred, comfortable space to work in. As an added bonus, if you restrict your office to work-tasks only, you can even write it off on your annual tax return. That includes power usage and other amenities if you utilise them accordingly.
Use Timers And Set Task Boundaries
Okay, so you have a to-do list as long as the road from your home to the office. How do you manage this never-ending set of tasks you say? You systematically dispatch each task along your path (aka your to-do list) until you’ve reached your destination feeling pretty satisfied with the tasks you’ve completed.
Okay, So That Was A Bit Vague, But It Sounded Cool, What’s Next?
Basically, you need to set SMART goals for your tasks. That means adding a completion timeline or being Timely. If you’re working for a company as an employee, you likely already know all of the other factors. Specific, Measurable, Actionable, and Realistic.
Keep Work Within Work Hours
You might work with a multi-national company, but that doesn’t mean you need to be having synergistic meetings at “3 AM, Zulu” to discuss your cross-functional… you get the idea. As you probably know, those same cross-functional whosawhatsits can be addressed readily through a staff memo or email chain. Or better yet, since we live in the ‘20s, use Slack or some other team-based chat program.
Own Your Time, Or Someone Else Will
The last one on our list of tips for working from home: Set boundaries, but be wary, you have to obey others’ boundaries too, else yours have no weight because they have nothing to gain by respecting yours, makes sense, right? Setting boundaries will allow you to control your work-life balance.
Anything that needs more discussion than text can provide can often be handled via a pre-recorded video through Loom or another video-based application. By limiting your calls—to specific times or days, you can limit the number of interruptions you face each day. Distractions that make you change gears can cost you more than 20 minutes per occurrence.
Written by Cat Symonds; Edited by Carmina Davis