I always dreamed of working from home. The thought of not having to commute and being able to work from the comfort of my own home sounded like bliss. And let’s be real, working from home is the dream for a lot of people. The downside is that it’s easy to get tempted by so many distractions and temptations when you work from home. The idea of being able to go on a Target run on a random weekday might sound like a luxury, but it can turn into a form of procrastination if there’s no one telling you to get back to work.
Depending on if you work for yourself or have a remote job, your schedule could be completely flexible or as rigid as a 9-5. Maybe you’ve been blessed with 1 day a week of working remotely, or maybe you’ve found yourself working from home because of certain situations (ahem, COVID-19).
Whatever your reason for working from home, you need to have some serious self-discipline and willpower to make it work. I’ve been working from home since I left my 9-5 in 2016 and I’ve had to change some personal habits to help me be more productive.
For some context, I split my workday between running my blog and a contract job for a company that’s completely remote. I’m extremely lucky that I’m able to set my own hours and make my own schedule, but I’ve really had to learn to be responsible and hold myself accountable.
Since I’ve learned a lot about how to stay on task and reduce distractions, here are my top 10 working from home productivity tips. P.S. Most of these tips will apply to you even if you don’t work from home.
10 Working From Home Productivity Tips
1. Stick to a schedule
I always liked the idea of working from home instead of the rigidity of being in an office from 9-5. Those hours seem so arbitrary, and it’s silly to think we can be productive for 8 hours straight. That being said, I’ve found that sticking to regular hours does make it easier to regulate my work. Of course, I have the freedom to throw the washing in while I’m working or make a trip to the supermarket but regular work hours help me to get more done. I recommend starting and ending work at a similar time each day. You don’t have to be at your computer at 9 am sharp, but you’re still responsible for getting your work done on time.
2. Make time for yourself before and after work
It’s easy to roll out of bed and head straight to your desk in the morning or work right up until bedtime. Since you’ve been blessed with no commute, make the most of the extra time you have. Do something for yourself like going for a walk, working out, making a hot breakfast, meditating, or reading a book. If there’s one thing you’ve always wished you could do before or after work, try adding it into your schedule. This will ensure that your work doesn’t take over your entire day.
3. Get ready
With no one to judge you for your clothing choices, you might end up working from your PJs all day. This is fun to do sometimes, but you might feel lazy after a few days of living in dirty sweats. A lot of the time I do wear leggings (which feel like a step up from pajama pants), but I do find that putting on an actual outfit and doing my makeup makes me more productive. The plus side of doing this is that you’ll be ready to go if you have an unexpected video call or have to run an errand.
4. Don’t watch TV unless you’re doing mundane tasks
It can be tempting to work with Netflix playing in the background, but I’ve found this distracts me more than anything. There’s really no way to focus on both your work and the show, so try not to put your favourite show on unless you’re doing tasks that don’t require much mental effort.
5. Create a productive atmosphere
Though I don’t recommend watching TV while you work, I do recommend a few YouTube videos that help create a calming working atmosphere.
Take advantage of working from your own space and make yourself 100% cosy. Light a candle, put on some background noise, make a cup of tea, and get to work.
6. Get important tasks done in solitude
If you’re around others when you’re working from home, get your most important tasks done in a quiet space by yourself. I personally enjoy having other people around when I’m doing mundane tasks, but I need my focus and quiet time to get the important things done. Some people think working from home is more distracting than an office, but I used to work in an open office where I could hear other people’s conversions, phone calls, and meetings all day long. This taught me to go into another room or listen to music to block out the distractions when I need to focus.
7. Track your time
If you struggle to be productive at home (or in general), try tracking your time with something like Google Calendar. Tracking my time has helped me realise when I’m spending too much time on useless tasks. My personal distractions involve dancing around the living room, watching the dog outside my window, and organising my shoes. When I time how long these things take, I realize how much they’re taking away from my work time. Tracking your time can open your eyes to your procrastination habits. An added bonus is that it can encourage you to be MORE productive because you feel like you’re being watched by the clock.
8. Switch up your environment
There are some people who can only work from their desk, but I am not one of those people. I have to switch things up to keep myself motivated and inspired. Though I have a designated desk space in my apartment, I’ve found myself working from the couch, the kitchen table, the bedroom floor, standing at the kitchen island, and (unashamedly) FROM MY BED!!! NFG!!
Sometimes I have to work from a coffee shop because having people around makes me procrastinate less. The point is that switching things up keeps things interesting, and working from home gives you the luxury of doing this. Even with a small space, you can try different set-ups to boost your productivity.
9. Mind your food habits
Eat lunch at a normal time and try to eat your meals away from your workspace. I’ve also found that prepping meals ahead of time is also super helpful. Even though I can make my lunch at home, most of the time I don’t want to spend much time cooking at lunchtime. Having something made ahead of time makes life a lot easier. And let’s not forget snacks. It’s really tempting to snack all day when you have access to the pantry, but try sticking to a snack schedule if this is something you struggle with. For example, I pretty much always take a break around 2:45 for a snack.
10. Remember to take breaks
When you don’t have a designated lunch break, it’s easy to stay glued to your desk for 8 hours straight. Try working in 30-50 minute increments and take a break afterwards. Step outside for some fresh air. Do a few quick stretches. Get up and go for a walk. Text or call another human being if you feel isolated from others. You don’t want your work from home life to burn you out, so make it a priority to take regular breaks
Hope these tips helped