Journal logo

How to Practice Successful Work-at-Home Productivity

by Morgan Danielle 8 days ago in advice

Ignore distractions and get more done with these tips

How to Practice Successful Work-at-Home Productivity
Photo by Mikey Harris on Unsplash

The benefits of working from home makes up an extensive list. But without separating yourself mentally from ‘home-life’ and ‘work-life’ the drawbacks could overshadow those benefits. Whether you work from home a few times a month, daily, or operate as a freelancer with no ‘home base’, these specific changes will help you put into practice a healthy work-life balance for WAH life.

What Can You Do to Be Productive When Working at Home?

To stay productive while working at home, you’ll need to put in some upfront effort. Working from home introduces problems such as:

  • Interruptions and lack of understanding from housemates
  • Isolation and tendency toward lack of discipline
  • Less work/life balance and separation

Luckily, all of these problems can be addressed. Follow along for actionable advice on improving how much you get done while working from home.

Take Smart Breaks to Refresh Your Focus

You get a lunch break at a 9-to-5. And depending on how strict your company is, you’ll have time for other short breaks throughout the day. Working at home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take breaks. It simply means you should take smart breaks.

Don’t try to pull off a straight 10-hour workday with only sixty-second bathroom breaks. On the opposite end of the spectrum, don’t let a 15-minute break turn into an eight-hour break.

How do you do this? Simple:

  • Schedule your lunch break for each day instead of waiting until you’re hungry or tired
  • Leave your workspace entirely during your break
  • Plan your day into focused chunks broken by short breaks for refocusing

Adopt a Routine (And Stick to It)

Routine is essential for all areas of life. While, yes, creativity thrives with a change in scenery, you need to find a routine that sets the tone of your day. When you get ready for work, you need a trigger that tells your brain it’s time to focus.

On days that I plan to get to work starting in the morning hours I wake up, get dressed and ready for the day and work on the urgent things around the house unrelated to work. This gets tasks out of the way that would otherwise interrupt me while working.

Perhaps making your coffee and sitting down to check your email is that trigger. It might be starting a load of laundry. Potentially you could start your day with a shower, business casual, and a full face of makeup — even if you proceed to spend your entire workday alone in your home office.

The point is to do a set routine of tasks that trigger a sort of muscle memory to get yourself into work mode.

Select a Spot for Every Work Type

Different environments jog different memories, emotions, and levels of focus. This tip is especially pertinent for those who have multiple defined task types or separate jobs.

For example, this is how I divide my work mind using physical changes:

  • I complete work for my remote marketing job from my dining room table
  • All self-publishing work and website maintenance for my personal projects are completed in my office
  • Freelance work is completed from the center of my bed or while sitting on my bedroom floor

You working from home gives you the freedom to makeshift your own workspaces. You’re not stuck in a cubicle.

Make the space work for you to help yourself associate different spaces with different activities. It will help you focus more quickly and stay in flow for longer.

Another approach is to shake it up when your mind becomes restless. Essentially you’ll hot desk by yourself.

For the uninitiated, ‘hot-desking’ is when multiple people use different work spots over various time periods in a day. This is a common, budget-friendly option at co-working spaces. It also happens to be a scenario you can create in your own home and surrounding areas to spur renewed focus.

I have approximately nine different places that I have worked at in the past two weeks. All of these spots are either within my own home or within walking distance of my apartment.

I challenge you right now to list out 10 different locations, both in your house and within walking distance, where you can work.

When you become bored and distracted simply take yourself to a new setting.

Take Control of Your Attention (And Don’t Spend It Where You Shouldn’t)

Whether it’s your spouse, roommate, or pet, someone is going to want your attention. The hardest part about working from home is convincing others you are working from home.

If the work-at-home lifestyle is a new change for you, this will be a difficult hurdle to overcome. You can control yourself but you’ll have to train those around you to control their attention as well. This is especially important if you don’t have a home office with a door you can close and lock.

Have an honest and upfront conversation with your spouse or roommates about your situation. Be sure to touch on the following points:

  • Your schedule
  • Where you’ll be working
  • Any conference calls you’ll be making (plus time)

If your housemates need to contact you, suggest they leave a note, email, or text message. This allows you to be in contact with them without them barging in, disrupting your focus.

Whether it’s your spouse, roommate, or pet, someone is going to want your attention. The hardest part about working from home is convincing others you are working from home.

If the work-at-home lifestyle is a new change for you, this will be a difficult hurdle to overcome. You can control yourself but you’ll have to train those around you to control their attention as well. This is especially important if you don’t have a home office with a door you can close and lock.

Have an honest and upfront conversation with your spouse or roommates about your situation. Be sure to touch on the following points:

  • Your schedule
  • Where you’ll be working
  • Any conference calls you’ll be making (plus time)

If your housemates need to contact you, suggest they leave a note, email, or text message. This allows you to be in contact with them without them barging in, disrupting your focus.

Pets and children introduce a different issue. You can’t usually bring them to understand the importance and reasoning behind why they need to leave you alone. But you can help them stay comfortable, relaxed, and (hopefully) out of your hair.

Give your pet a spot to curl up at your feet that is comfortable. Make sure that they are fed and have enough water before you begin your workday. If you have a dog make sure they have been walked and are settled down. Same with any small children in the house.

Set Clear Limits and Boundaries

Have a needy best friend or a mom that always wants to meet up? It’s a blessing to have your life filled with people who want to spend time with you. But it can lead to some tricky situations when you’re on deadline.

Talk to those you care about — friends, family, significant others — and let them know pressuring you to leave work is not okay. They certainly mean well when they give you a call on their day off and insinuate you aren’t really working.

There’s isn’t a magic hotkey or pencil wand you can wave to make people understand your working boundaries. It takes time and transparency.

But don’t give in and forfeit time you should be working. It will only add up later and cause you to work longer hours as you rush to catch up.

Capturing the Elusive Work-Life Balance as a Remote Worker

By following this outline for work-at-home productivity you will completely refresh, rejuvenate, and reset how you currently operate as a remote worker.

At first, the changes will feel difficult to implement. But following these steps will lead to higher productivity and improved happiness both when you’re working and when you’re not.

advice
Morgan Danielle
Morgan Danielle
Read next: Why Denny's Is the Perfect Starter Job for a Cook
Morgan Danielle

Orlando-Based Creative | Copywriter, Content Writer, Author

See all posts by Morgan Danielle

Find us on socal media

Miscellaneous links