It's True: You Can Be Productive While Working at Home and Here's How...
You may already work from home or in light of current world events, you may be asked (or required) to work from home for a certain period of time.
Whatever your reason is, it is important to set yourself up well and use your time wisely to be productive while working at home.
There are many advantages to working at home. Here's how.
Being productive is a huge advantage of working at home...I am willing to bet that you are way more productive at home than at the office, as long as you have set yourself up properly.
Spending less time commuting, reducing stress and improving work-life balance are even more benefits of working from home whether it's on a full time basis, one day a week or just when you need to get focused project work done.
Having greater control over reducing distractions in your home environment is a serious advantage to working from home.
There's no one asking you "just one quick question" or telling you about the fantastic movie they saw on the weekend and your phone isn't ringing off the hook.
Managing distractions allows you to focus on one task at a time and gain serious traction on completing your important projects and tasks.
Saving time is another great reason you are more productive when working from home.
Think of all the time it takes you to commute to work, grab your morning coffee at the coffee shop, say good morning and catch up with co-workers, etc. before finally firing up your computer and getting settled in to work.
You have much more flexibility on when you decide to work based on your energy levels and brain power.
Your calendar is clearer as you generally don't have 4-6 time sucking meetings to attend when working from home so you are able to accomplish so much more.
If you need to do a load of laundry, take something out for dinner, walk the dog, go to the doctor/dentist or grab some groceries you have the flexibility to do these errands during the day. Then you can get back to work after your home to-do's are handled with a more settled and focused mind.
This way of working is truly a more balanced work-life integration.
Here's how to set yourself up to be more productive while working at home.
Keep your same morning and evening routines.
We are creatures of habit so it is important to maintain your weekday routines as close to your normal work schedule as possible while working at home.
Keep your same bedtime routine and go to sleep at the same time.
Get up early and get ready for the day. You don't necessarily need to wear a suit, nylons or your best jewels, but do your hair, put on a bit of make up and wear clothes you wouldn't mind answering the door or going outside for a walk in.
The exception is if you have a video/virtual meeting - keep it professional by always looking the part even when working at home.
Maintaining your normal morning and evening routines while working at home will keep you from feeling you are on holidays and you will be super productive by getting a ton of work done!
Set up your physical work space properly.
If you don't have a home office already set up, select a location in your home that is optimal for you to work in.
Preferably it should be where you can have peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of the household, kids, TV, etc. and distractions can be kept to a minimum.
It also needs to be a space that you will be physically comfortable working in for the long haul. Organize your office or workspace with proper ergonomics and furniture in mind so you don't end up experiencing back, wrist or neck issues.
Having a clear desk or table surface to place your computer or laptop on plus a notepad, project files and a few basic supplies close at hand is key.
Set yourself up with all of the technology you will need to attend virtual meetings/training sessions, etc. from home.
Proper lighting is also critical. Natural lighting is ideal during the day but if you are working where there are no windows or at night, overhead lighting with a task light for your work surface is a must.
Keep distractions to a minimum.
Distractions will knock you off your productivity track every, single time. Attention management is a powerful tool and is the secret sauce of people who are productivity ninjas.
When you are sitting down to focus on work, turn off your phone and TV. Minimize your email inbox and turn off all notifications. You get to decide when it is convenient for you to return phone calls and process your emails.
Resist the urge to check your social media accounts, the stock market or Google as these things are all designed to keep you going down as many rabbit holes as possible for as long as possible.
Use the Pomodoro technique by setting a timer for 25 minute blocks with a 5 minute break or 50 minute blocks with a 10 minute break.
Block time in your calendar to complete work and stick to it.
Focus on what's important.
Keep a to-do list and write everything down. When your brain knows you have all of your important tasks written down in one place, you relax. Yes you still need to do the work, but your calendar is now set up with blocks of time to be productive with limited distractions.
Use tasks in Outlook, OneNote, Evernote, a paper planner/notebook or any other system that works for you. Your to-do list is the place where your tasks from various sources are captured.
Your to-do list helps you know exactly what you need to do and how much time you need to block in your calendar to get things done. There is also a real rush in crossing off tasks and seeing how much you accomplish!
Tackle your most unpleasant or least favourite task first and get it over with right away.
Having an accountability partner is critical for some people to stay on track. Is there someone on your team you can be accountable to and visa versa?
Talk about when and how you check in with each other - is it daily, weekly? For instance, you could connect every morning and go over your plans for the day and then again at the end of the day to report on what you accomplished.
Be accountable to your boss and your team with regular project updates as well. Set up a regular virtual team huddles, use a team project tracking and communication software such as Microsoft Teams.
Working from home can be isolating so it is important to keep ties with people both at work and socially.
Establish with your boss and/or your team how you will stay connected. Determine what makes the most sense for your work and the communication levels required to keep your company goals, projects and bottom line in mind.
Keep connected socially in person (if safe) or virtually. Go for a walk in a park. Have a Skype coffee date with a friend. Set up a Facebook group for your book club or women's group to regularly converse and stay connected.
Log off at the end of the day.
Once your work is done for the day, tidy up, shut down and walk away.
Working from home makes it even more important to log off and set good boundaries.
We all need time with family, time in nature, time to exercise, time for self care, time for fun, time for creativity, time for our souls.
It's True: You can be productive while working at home.
It's true: You can be productive while working at home.
For more tips, read our post on top 10 productivity secrets on how to reduce stress and be more productive. Read the post here.
Now it's time to enjoy your freedom and live your best life.
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Let us know how you stay productive while working at home by leaving a comment. We love to hear from you!
If you have a question, need help getting organized or becoming more productive at work or at home, comment below and we will get back to you.
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