Working from home is considered a luxury to many. Those that want it, desire a work day of freedom and productivity. Those that have it, struggle to stay focused and on task. There are plenty of others that fall between these two extremes but working from home isn’t as easy as it looks. Distractions, choosing the right environment, and actually doing the work are a daily struggle for some. Here are 5 Ways to Stay Productive When Working From Home.
1. Go to work
Have a dedicated space and keep it clean and organized. Your space should be a place that has everything you need to complete your tasks with minimal distractions. Your future self will thank you for taking 5 or 10 minutes at the end of a work day to prepare your environment for the following day.
Are the pencils sharpened? Is there enough paper in the printer? Is my to-do list organized? What meetings do I have tomorrow? Is the coffee maker ready? Taking this time to make sure you hit the ground running during your next work period will lead to higher productivity as your environment is clean, tidy, and prepared.
2. Pump up the jams
Millions of people love to listen to music during their work day. For those that work from home--music plays a vital role in the preparation of their work environment. Important to note, however, is that some individuals find music with lyrics, or constant interruption, to be jarring and take them out of their workflow.
Ambient music is terrific for providing background “noise” and the benefits increase creative production. Choose a radio station that provides said ambient music--don’t spend hours creating playlists, it’s another distraction.
3. Remove the distractions
If your space has a door, now is the appropriate time to close it. When you arrive for work you should have minimal distractions. Be professional and turn off the things you know will distract you most--phone, email, the entire internet.
If others are present while working, let them know your work hours. If you’re a pet owner, remember to not let them become distractions--instead, find ways to incorporate them into your schedule. When you achieve a workflow, the last thing you want is to be interrupted by a package delivery. Try scheduling your packages for pick-up or arranging to drop them off at a location. If visitors stop by, don’t be worried about letting them know you’re working.
4. Give me a break
Take breaks, after 3 hour period of flow, stand up, get a drink, workout, make a meal, etc. Don’t get lost. Not only will this lead to exhaustion, but it’s likely to throw off your entire schedule and prevent you from completing the work you need.
Taking care of yourself is a must. Keeping a water bottle beside you, making sure to get enough throughout the work day, is an essential first step in self-care. Determining when to step away can also be a challenge. The importance of keeping regular breaks in your work from home schedule will help you stay more productive and allow for less burn-out.
5. Stick to the schedule
Have everything prepared at the start of your work period. This will help you accomplish a good flow and earn the most out of your time. Using a time clock application could also prove beneficial for tracking time spent working on projects and overall time management (i.e. tracking breaks, meetings, important dates, etc.).
Part of the advantage of working from home is the added flexibility you may gain in your personal life. Try your best to schedule your work schedule to match the needs of your natural schedule.
The importance of obtaining “flow” is crucial to a productive work period. This is true whether one works in an office or from home. Those in the latter group know that distractions are a plenty when working from home. Following these 5 Ways to Stay Productive When Working From Home will make sure that the next work day will be a successful one.