Staying Productive While Working from Home

Posted July 31, 2015 by
Sarah Landrum photo

Sarah Landrum

Working from home is an excellent opportunity. It allows you the flexibility and freedom to create your own schedule, the ability to work when it suits you and provides a level of comfort that can be hard to find elsewhere.

It’s also not a walk in the park. Ask anyone who works from home, or who has worked from home at some point in their professional career, and they’ll echo a similar statement: working from home is great, but finding the motivation to be productive and to avoid distractions can be a challenge.

Looking to branch out and try something new? Want to give working from home a chance? That’s great. Follow the tips below for staying productive while working from home.

Separate Your Office From the Rest of Your Home

Even if you don’t have the space to create an actual home office that has its own room, having a place that’s dedicated solely to your job —a large closet, a corner of a room that could be blocked off from the rest of the room or another creative space — is critical for success in working from home.

When you set up on the couch, you’re surrounded by distractions – televisions, the kitchen, other people and additional forms of entertainment. When you’re in a space that’s devoted to working, you’re more likely to focus it and to accomplish what you need to during a given period of time.

Focus on Comfort

If you’re uncomfortable in your newly designated office space, you’re less likely to be able to focus on your work and to find the motivation to be productive. Therefore, comfort is key.

To stay comfortable, consider investing in:

  • An office chair that provides solid back support. Test it before you buy it.
  • The office supplies you need to keep moving for awhile: paper, ink, filing cabinets and anything else that will keep you from running to the office supply store each day.
  • Proper office lighting to help with focus while minimizing headaches.
  • Declutter at the end of every day. There’s nothing like coming into a clean space to keep productivity at its highest.

Set a Schedule

Flexibility is great and is something you can look forward to when starting to work from home. But, it’s possible to take advantage of it, which could work against you in the long run. To prevent both work avoidance and burnout, set a reasonable schedule for yourself. Think about which days you can put in a little more than other days, and when you’re functioning at your highest level. Be sure to factor in lunch breaks, housework, errands and any other responsibilities you have that fall outside of the work spectrum. Once you’ve created your schedule, stick to it. If it needs modified in the future, make the modification, but be sure you’re setting guidelines for yourself.

Take Breaks

Taking a break here and there is just as important as working according to a schedule. In fact, breaks should be a part of your schedule. But, because you’re working from home, you have the freedom to include more than a standard 30-minute lunch break. Take advantage of it!

Each afternoon, schedule time for yourself, even if it’s as little as 30 minutes. Get outside and get moving. For best results, incorporate an activity that recharges you and helps you focus. Not sure where to start? Consider purchasing a new bike and checking out new places around your home. Take a yoga class. Go for a quick walk or run. Take the dog out for some Frisbee. The options are endless but the bottom line remains the same: taking breaks is critical for finding extra motivation while working from home.

Leave Work at Work

When you’re done at the end of the day, leave work at work. This can be difficult when you live where you work, but it’s important if you want to be fresh to start work the next day.

If possible, shut your office door at the end of the day. Close up the laptop and leave it where it belongs. Turn off notifications on your phone. Whatever you need to do to separate your working hours from your free hours, make sure it happens.

Dress the Part

Who doesn’t want to work in their pajamas here and there? It sounds like fun, right? It can also hamper your productivity. To focus on your job, consider dressing the part. This doesn’t mean that office attire is required. Instead, think about what you’re wearing and if you’d feel comfortable taking a video call while wearing it. If so, you should be good.

Working from home provides freedom and flexibility that can be impossible to find in a 9-5 office environment along with countless other benefits. Focus on staying productive by incorporating the ideas listed above into your plan and venture forward. Chances are, you’ll be glad you took the leap.

Sarah Landrum is a freelance writer and the founder of Punched Clocks, a site dedicated to helping young professionals realize happiness and success in their careers and live life to the fullest. Follow her @SarahLandrum and subscribe to her blog for more great tips.

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