10 Tips to Improve Productivity When Working From Home
Whether it is starting our own online business, taking on freelance jobs, or bringing work home with you, more of us are starting to explore the option of working at home. And it’s very understandable. Who doesn’t want to earn a living without having to leave the comfort of your house?
But working from home can also be difficult. The number one hardship is often getting distracted and giving in to the temptation of procrastination. So how can we create the perfect work environment at home that will maximize our productivity?
Poll: Working at Home
How long have you been working from home?
1. Designate One Spot Just for Working
We’re creatures of habit, so if we engage in a particular activity in a specific location, our brains will come to associate that location with that activity. So if you normally like to binge Netflix shows on your desktop computer, you’ll find it very hard to switch to work mode on the same machine.
To take advantage of this, choose a part of your house or apartment where you will only do work. Ideally, choose a space with a door that separates yourself from the rest of your house. Equip your home office with the same, or similar, tools that you would normally have at the actual office.
2. Plan, Plan, Plan
When you’re working at home, it’s even more important for you to know exactly what needs to be done and when. That way, you’ll know you’re always working towards your goal and not veering off course. Use a to-do list and a calendar to keep track of your tasks and deadlines. To-do lists are also a great place to dump any distracting thoughts and tasks that come up while you’re working.
Set aside ten to fifteen minutes at the end of every day to map out what you need to accomplish the next day and set your weekly work and personal goals. Visualizing what you need to do for the next week will decrease stress, clear your mind, and help you sleep more soundly.
3. Don’t Work in Your Jammies
As nice as it would be to roll out of bed and start working in your comfy onesie, you may be sabotaging your productivity. Even if you’re not heading out to work, it’s still important for you to go through a morning hygiene routine and to get changed into something other than what you wear to sleep. When you’re groomed and dressed in something you can go out in, you’ll feel refreshed, confident, and more prepared to tackle your to-do lists. Having a designated lunch break and a time when you’re going to stop all work-related activities will also help to create more structure in your day.
Maximize your productivity by grouping similar tasks together and knocking them out in one go.
4. Get Out of the House
Working from home can make you feel a little stir-crazy after an entire week spent in the house. When you’re itching to be anywhere but at home, it can be hard to focus on anything else. So for a change of scenery, take the work to your favorite cafe or have your lunch break outside to get some fresh air.
5. Complete Your Work in Batches
Maximize your productivity by grouping similar tasks together and knocking them out in one go. Do you have lots of e-mails to write and people to call? Get all communication-related tasks done in one go before taking a break and moving on to the next category of tasks. As you organize your tasks by category, you’ll be more able to prioritize and clear easier to-dos more quickly so you can devote more time to your essential tasks.
6. Determine Your Business Hours
If you have other family members at home while you’re working, post a copy of your schedule on the door or in a prominent place in your home so your children or other loved ones will know when you should not be disturbed. When you have your work schedule posted up, your family members will also be more likely to respect your work hours and less likely to ask you to do household tasks when you’re trying to meet a deadline.
7. Know Your Vices
Identify what distracts you. When you know the things that undermine your productivity, you can take steps to eliminate them from your work environment.
If you know you can’t get any work done when your house is a mess, make a point to clean up before you start working. If you have an urgent deadline to meet, put cleaning up on your to-do list and find a neat workspace where you can’t see the mess. That way, you can temporarily forget about the things that distract you and focus completely on the task at hand.
Buy a chair that provides good back support is the perfect height that allows your feet to rest comfortably on the floor.
8. Control Your Technology
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, texts, personal e-mails, our phones are constantly buzzing with non-urgent, and often irrelevant notifications. It’s distracting enough when we’re not working, and can be devastating when we need to. Scrolling through our FB and Instagram feeds can easily suck up hours of our precious time.
So, either turn off or silent your phone and put it somewhere out of your line of sight. And if possible, do as much work as you can without connecting to the internet. Turning off the wifi on your computer will further help to eliminate the temptation of logging on.
9. Make Yourself Comfortable
When you’re working at home, you’re likely doing most of your work on the computer and staring at screens all day. Your neck can get stiff, your eyes can get tired and won’t focus as well, among other symptoms of fatigue.
So make sure you’re working comfortably. Buy a keyboard that’s comfortable for you to type on, position your screen directly at eye level, have your arms at a comfortable height, and buy wrist supports if needed. Buy a chair that provides good back support and is at a height that allows your feet to rest comfortably on the floor.
10. Choose the Right Colors
Colors can have a profound effect on your mindset. Certain colors can make you feel more energized while others are calming and relaxing. So make sure the place you choose to become your home office is decorated with colors that are not too bright. It’s best if colors blend into the background and are harmonious, so they don’t draw attention and distract you from your work.
Poll: Designated Work Hours
On average, how many hours do you work a day from home?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
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© 2018 KV Lo