More people than ever are working from home. And if you’re in that boat, you’re likely to find the same thing that I’ve found: while working from home has its benefits, it’s a challenge to stay productive and distraction-free.
It’s all too easy to dive into your workday still in your pajamas, brewing coffee while reading emails, and soon get swept away into the dishes or the laundry, all while telling yourself that you’ve got all day to get your work done! But by the end of the day, you find you’ve achieved next to nothing that was originally on your to-do list.
Having worked primarily from home for years, I can pass along some tips that I’ve found to be incredibly helpful to keep me focused, productive, and motivated to get my work tasks done… without distracting myself with less important house chores.
Whether you’re working remotely for an employer or starting a new business, you can use these work from home tips to help you stay productive!
Stay productive AF with these work from home tips
- Maintain your usual routine. Set your alarm. Go to bed when you normally would. Roll through your morning routine as normal, including working out, washing your face, and getting dressed. Staying on a schedule is a form of self-care and prevents you from feeling frazzled.
- Dedicate a space to work and minimize distractions. Working from your couch while you binge-watch Netflix isn’t the most productive way to get things done. We’re not nearly as good at multitasking as we think we are. Designate a desk or chair as your “work zone” and utilize it only while working. Likewise, let your family members know that when you’re sitting in your work chair, you’re working and should be left alone.
- Designate office hours and commit to them. When working from home, it’s SO EASY to convince yourself that you have all day to get things done. I mean, you can work anytime, right? Might as well spend the morning listening to podcasts or drowning in a sea of Pinterest pins. Either the night before or right away in the morning, determine when you’re working and what you’ll be doing. Commit to it.
- Block out physical distractions. Avoid watching Netflix or listening to podcasts while you work. If the noises of your house (like other people) distract you, wear noise-cancelling headphones or play instrumental music to block out the noise. Keep distractions like your phone away from your designated workspace.
- Block out digital distractions. On your computer, keep only one or two tabs open in your browser — whatever you’re working on in the moment. Too many tabs means too many possible distractions. Try to start with a fresh browser window (closing out any others) each time you switch tasks. And if the temptation of social media is too much, download a browser extension to block them for a set period of time OR work offline (Google Docs and Sheets let you work offline, then automatically sync when you go back online).
- Utilize the Pomodoro Technique. The Pomodoro Technique is pretty simple: Set a timer for 25 minutes and work for that whole time. Then take a timed 10 minute break — get up from your desk, check your phone, get another cup of coffee, etc. Reset your timer for another 25 minutes and repeat. Something about having a timer going keeps me accountable, and I don’t burn out from trying to stay focused for hours at a time. Pro tip: you can adjust the specific timeblocks for whatever works for you. Try 20 minutes work/10 minutes break, 90 minutes work/30 minutes break, etc.
Do you have any tips to share to make working from home less painful? Share them in the comments below!