Working from home can sound like a dream when you’re cooped up in a cubicle and dealing with office politics. But the reality is it can be a challenge to be productive from home when the fridge, TV and Facebook are all easy distractions. Here are a few tips to help you stay productive while working from home.
1. Be your own HR
If you were starting work in a company office, HR would make sure you have an ergonomic chair and all the supplies you need to be productive. Be your own HR, and ask yourself what you need to do your best work. Your chair should be comfortable so you aren’t distracted by backache. Hunting for supplies like stamps, envelopes or staplers, can really cut into your productivity, so have supplies available and easy to reach.
2. Signal work time
Find a routine that let’s your brain know it’s time to shift into working mode. Going from bed to desk while still in your pajamas doesn’t really give your body the signal it needs to make the shift. A routine could be as simple as showering, dressing and grooming, or it could involve a quick workout to get the blood pumping and your body awake. Whatever routine is right for you, you’ll feel better working from home if most of your day is spent dressed. That way, if you get a sudden call for a meeting, you’re ready to go.
3. Focus help
If you find yourself constantly visiting the kitchen, wandering off to check the mailbox or other procrastinating maneuvers, it can help to have a timer. There are timer programs for computers, or you can go low-tech and use an actual timer that sits on your desk. Try giving yourself 30-45 minutes of focused work, then a short break- and if breaks are stretching out too long, set the timer for those too!
4. Keep your space
In an office, we tend to keep our desk and work area presentable and neat because that’s what’s expected in most businesses. To stay productive, try to end each day with a desk cleanup and quick organizing session. It’ll keep clutter from piling up, and staying organized will save you time and productivity. Having to dig through piles to find a document you need will eat into your time and add stress you can do without.
5. Head off distractions
Your phone will ring, emails will come and friends and family who know that you work at home might not realize how much their interruptions cost you in productivity. You have to have a plan for dealing with inevitable distraction. Close your email program and schedule when you’ll check it, turn the ringer on your phone off, and have a talk with friends and family before it’s an issue. Let them know when you’re available and when you need to be working.
There are lots of benefits to working from home, but keeping your productivity up can be challenging. Try a few of these tips to keep your days productive and your work at its best.