Working from home is not only a growing trend due to current world events, but something a lot of people strongly desire to do! Working from home has it’s benefits (no commute time, more comfortable environment, more freedom etc.), but it can also be a challenge to get set up correctly. Working from home requires discipline, time management and the means to do so. Below, I’m going to cover 5 of the best tips for being productive while working from home and how you can stay on task!
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5 Tips For Being Productive While Working from Home
Below is a collection of 5 tips for being productive while working from home. These tips are collected from trusted sources & hopefully ease your transition into working from home! Note that these tips may not work for you and that’s okay! Working from home is a series of trial and error, and finding out what works best for you!
1. Get Dressed
Just as you would get dressed to head out to work, getting dressed to work at home is key! The simple act of getting up, getting ready (showered, dressed, a splash of makeup even) keeps you from easily sneaking back to bed. Naturally your wardrobe may appear more casual, however keep PJs and sweats off the table.
Getting ready to work provides a structured routine that will aid in you getting into the mindset to work. For me personally, I can’t be barefoot or in sweat pants. As soon as I put on pants and shoes (even slippers with a bit of a sole just to feel like shoes) I automatically feel like I’m in ‘work mode’. Wearing my glasses and Apple watch are also great ways to make me feel ready to sit down to work!
Check out more about this particular tip and some great others from an article by the New York Times.
2. Environment is Key
While there is no right or wrong environment to have, determining what environment works for you is key! This could look like a home office space, your kitchen table, a coffee shop nearest to you (pre-COVID-19 closures) etc. Don’t currently have a designated space to work from? You can pack up items such as your computer, important files etc. into a bin and take out the bin whenever you’re ready to work!
It’s important to note that everyone’s work from home space may look different – and that’s okay. What spurs productivity and creativity in one person may completely idea block another! What’s important is that you’re setting up to work in a space that is conducive to your productivity.
Forbes agrees! (side note, they also strongly suggest against working in your bedroom/putting a desk in your bedroom. While I completely agree with this, I currently unfortunately have to have my desk in my room! This is something I look forward to changing when I move out!)
3. Schedule Your Time
Whether it’s deciding on a designated start/stop time, designating time for breaks or blocking off chunks of time for specific tasks, it’s no secret that scheduling your time can help you get ahead and tick off those items on your to do list. While some people flourish on rigid schedules, some people can’t (and that’s okay!). Ideally, you want to create concrete start and finish times but the rest is up to you. Some tips I find helpful for scheduling include:
Colour Blocking: get out your planner and get ready to colour block! Use your stationary to block off chunks of time for specfic tasks (ie. 8am-830am in yellow, yellow = answering emails).
Creating a To Do List: stupidly simple, yet necessary. Write down 3-5 things you want to get done that day (keep it short and simple. Running to do lists can make you feel overwhelmed and underproductive for not completing everything on that list.)
Completing a Task Before Starting the Next: This is a personal preference, but I like to finish tasks before I move onto another. This includes writing a blogpost, scheduling Tweets, answering emails etc. While some may argue that other methods (ie. Pomodoro – setting timers (ex. 45 mins) to work on a task and then bump to the next one on your to do list) work more effectively for them, I find this one effective for me! Feel free to choose whichever method you like and know that there is no right answer here!
In this Hubspot article, people definitely agree with starting early in the morning and picking a definitive finish time, among other tips! Entrepreneur.com has some kind words for us and let’s us know it’s okay if work sometimes spills over into life with these top tips from 10 CEOs.
4. Ensure You Have Food Prepared Ahead of Time
This is definitely some food for thought! I don’t know about you but once I get into the kitchen, it can be tricky to get me out of there. Not to mention everything that comes with the cooking – cleaning, dishes, the distractions etc. Having food prepared ahead of time is a saving grace – not only are you able to just grab and heat up/eat something already, you can maximize the amount of time you take for your breaks & worry less about cleaning! Some tips for prepping food include:
Meal Prepping: Prepare food just as if you were going to be leaving the house to work. This can include one meal for several days or create a couple dishes that can be mixed and matched depending on your mood!
Leftovers: Create a bigger batch at dinner so that you’ll have leftovers. Simply prepare a plate the night before and keep it in the fridge!
Easy to Grab Snacks: Whether it’s a granola bar, fresh cut fruits and veggies, or an apple sauce, have healthy snacks prepared and ready for you to literally grab and eat!
Again, you can find this tip and many other tips from this article by Entrepeneur.com!
5. Stay Goal & Task Oriented
Keeping clear goals in mind is key to staying task oriented. For myself personally, this means writing down 4 monthly goals in my Content Planner (as well as 3 month, 6 month, 9 month & yearly goals). I then break down each goal into a series of actionable tasks, and those tasks get broken down further until they become my daily tasks.
According to this article by the New York Times, being strict with our goals and timelines as well as making sure we’re setting S.M.A.R.T. goals keeps us accountable to achieving those goals! You can read more about this and other tips here.
It’s important to remember working from home is a learned skill, but it is absolutely achievable. What works for some, may not work for others. Finding your own groove when working from home is key to ensure you maximize your productivity! Remember to incorporate breaks and meals, drink lots of water and get outside when you can. Whether you’re just starting to work from home regardless of whether it’s by choice or not, you can do this!
I would love to hear your top tips for staying productive while working from home in the comments!