How to Be More Productive When Working From Home
Check out these effective tips for increasing productivity
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many companies to require employees to work from home. Many people were not prepared for the “telework” lifestyle at all. I know I wasn’t.
I have to say, though, I have learned to enjoy it. There are pros and cons to working from home, just like anything else. When it first happened, my productivity went down the drain. Recently, I was able to take suggestions and figure out how to increase my productivity.
My days are now more productive than ever. I get more done now working from home than I did when I was at the office.
It takes a lot of discipline and willingness to work from home effectively. Working from home certainly takes some getting used to.
However, if you are willing to follow these simple steps, you can successfully increase your productivity when working from home.
#1 Setting up your workspace
This is crucial. I don’t like to say any tip or suggestion is more important than another because they are all important and necessary to follow. Without the proper workspace, though, you aren’t going to get as much work done to begin with. It is like setting yourself up for failure. The rest of the tips go hand in hand with this one.
When the pandemic first started, I didn’t even have a desk. I was working with two table trays in the living room. I was constantly being distracted by my family, the TV, the mail man, etc.
Your workspace needs to be free from others. Pick a specific area in your home. This will allow you to concentrate on your work. It also mentally prepares your body to work when you are in that area.
Many people do not have an entire separate area to dedicate to a workspace they never expected they would need. With that being said, just choose the area in your house with the minimum traffic flow. A quiet environment is very important when you are trying to increase productivity. Don’t set yourself up to be distracted.
#2 Start your work day early
I am not saying that I miss the commute, but I do miss one part of it. During my commute, I was able to wake myself up and mentally prepare myself for the work day. I don’t have that option anymore.
Or do I?
I recently started walking in the morning before work starts. This allows me to clear my head and prepare myself for the day I have ahead of me. I know that some of my best work is done in the morning. So, by getting up early and going for a quick 20-minute walk or jog, I am waking myself up mentally and physically.
Doing this has also made me more hungry in the morning. I have never been a big breakfast person. For some reason, I just wasn’t hungry when I first woke up. I would pound some coffee and be on my way. The walks that I have taken in the morning have made me more hungry, lowered my daily coffee intake to almost nothing, and increased my productivity tenfold.
Get up early and tackle the most difficult and important tasks. This will make the rest of the day seem ridiculously easy.
#3 Trick yourself into believing you are going to the office
Even working from home, you should still set you alarm, get dressed in nice clothes, and stick to your normal morning routine.
Just because you are telecommuting doesn’t mean you should abandon all of the things that made you feel productive at the office. I can’t even begin to tell you how sluggish I felt those first few weeks staying in my pajamas while I worked. It just doesn’t help your productivity to know and feel like you are dressed for bed.
You have to act like your own manager when you are working from home. Don’t allow yourself to become burnt out or to lose focus. Structure your day as if you are working at the office. Consider using a tool like Google Calendar to stay on top of things.
Working from home is not a vacation. It is a privilege. I am grateful that I am able to work from home during this pandemic. So, it is important to me to show my appreciation. Therefore, I take all of the steps necessary to increase my productivity. Then, maybe I can work from home forever (wouldn’t that be nice).
#4 Schedule breaks for yourself
I am sure your company has a policy on breaks. I find breaks to be very important when it comes to productivity. In fact, I take a 5 minute break every 25 minutes. This is allow me to work with complete focus for 25 minutes straight. I am sure your company won’t mind if it increases your productivity. And I can assure you that it will do just that.
If possible, leave the house. Make sure you take all the proper safety precautions for the pandemic. I know that getting some fresh air always helps me. It can make you feel refreshed and ready to finish the day.
I believe it has also been important for me to make sure I am getting out after hours too. I don’t mean do anything unsafe. Just get outside. You can take a walk, cook on the grill, etc. There are so many options. Avoid cabin fever at all costs.
#5 Avoid all distractions
Distractions kill productivity. This can be anything from a personal intrusion by a loved one, email, social media, phone calls, etc. People need to respect the fact that you are working, regardless of if it is from the comfort of your home. I hate that some people think working from home means your work is less serious or important. That is absolutely untrue.
Each distraction causes you to lose focus. You may forget to do something or miss a deadline. This is why one of the most crucial components of increasing productivity is to minimize all distractions. Let people know that during whatever hours you are working that you are unavailable and cannot be interrupted unless it is an emergency.
It can be difficult to make the change from being in an office to working from home. Though, if you put in the effort, it comes with many benefits. Since I started to telecommute, I have increased my productivity tenfold. I hope this helps you to be able to do the same!
Thank you for reading!
This post was originally published on Medium.