Working from home can be a great benefit for those of us who can effectively do their job remotely and whose employers allow it, but it can also be a challenge when you are starting out. Here are five tips to help you stay productive:
1. Make a plan.
When you sit down at your computer, know what you need to accomplish for the day. Make a physical list, use a piece of paper, and check off tasks as you work through them. This will help you keep your focus on what needs to be done (this is also not a bad habit once you get back into the office).
2. Set boundaries.
Being at home is tricky. You are at home which is where your family is. It’s where you spend your free time and take care of the household among other things. It can be difficult to separate being at home and being at work in your home. When you are on the clock, focus on work and being productive. Make sure everyone else at home knows that when working you don’t have time for personal interactions and chit chat, unless it’s an emergency or you are on a break.
Alternatively, there can be a tendency to overdo it in the other direction. Just because you can work at home doesn’t mean you need to be on the clock whenever you are inside your own four walls. Set aside time after work for personal activities like spending time with family and friends and shut the computer off when the workday is done.
3. Get dressed for work.
Studies have been done that suggest that the simple act of getting dressed for the role you are in will make you more productive in that role. When you get dressed for work you signal a shift in your day. It tells your brain, “It’s time for work now”. This same message doesn’t get communicated however, if you are sitting in front of your laptop in your pajamas. So, get dressed for work every morning even if nobody will see that you did so. It’s easier to stay on task if you're dressed for the part.
4. Take breaks.
It's important to take breaks throughout the day to stretch your legs or get some fresh air. This will help you clear your head and make it possible to refocus more quickly. Get up and move around every hour or so, this will help keep you from getting stiff or cramped up which could lead to headaches. If you're feeling antsy, take a quick walk around the block or do some stretches at your desk. If you are the type of person that might overdo the breaks then set a timer so you know when it’s time to get back to business.
5. Create a designated workspace.
If possible, create a separate space in your home specifically for working. This will help you stay focused and avoid distractions. Its best if you can close the door to your space and shut out any distractions. For this reason, an office, is preferable to a communal area like a living or dining room. Also, keep an eye on clutter, a messy desk can lead to a cluttered mind, so keep that work area tidy.
These are our 5 tips for making the most of your home office, but we want to hear from you. How do you stay productive when working from home? Share with us!