If you’re working from home, you may learn quickly how easy it is to get distracted and how difficult it is to get motivated. Below are five tips for maintaining productivity while working at home.
I, personally, am not good at this one. But, when I do it, it makes quite a difference. Getting dressed, brushing your teeth and running a brush through your hair (even if you’re just going to throw it up in a bun) before you sit at your workspace for the day is a game changer. If you are willing to also actually do your hair and makeup, even better! I, however, am not that type of person. My personal, basic rule of thumb is to get ready enough so that I’m comfortable answering the front door.
If you can get in the habit of getting ready before sitting down at your desk, you’ll feel better and work better throughout the week.
Designate A Workspace
Working from the couch with Netflix playing is all fun and games until you can’t move and you’ve unknowingly binged every show and now you have nothing to watch when it’s actually time to relax. If you have a spare room where you can set up a desk and a couple organizational items, do that! Try to make it as cozy as possible. If not, set up shop somewhere with a real chair (or room to stand), and space for your notebook and pencil cup. Being close to an electrical outlet is a bonus so you don’t have to move to charge your laptop. If you set up at the kitchen table, for example, try to pack up your things at the end of the day and set back up in the morning (see “Set Boundaries“).
Make Lists & Set Goals
It’s science! Studies have shown that people perform better when they write down what they need to do. I love lists. And I get great satisfaction from crossing something off my list. If you’re finding it difficult to stay motivated from home, try writing down all the tasks you would like to accomplish for the day or for the week and check them off as you go. These lists will also come in handy when it comes time to reward yourself for accomplishing your daily goals.
When you work in an office, being at home typically means you’re not working. Wether that’s because it’s the weekend, a day off, a lunch break or you’re done for the night, you’re away from your desk and your computer so not working is relatively easy. When you work from home, being “done for the day” isn’t as easy as it sounds. With your computer close by, open, on, maybe notifications are pinging, it’s easy to “hop on” for a minute and respond to an email or a Slack message. This is dangerous territory. Try to set boundaries for yourself. If your job allows it, this can mean being unavailable before 8am, from noon to 1pm, and after 6pm, for example. Being “available” or actually working all day and night can take a toll on your health, motivation, eyes, sleeping pattern and sanity.
This tip is refers to small, mental tricks more so than treats, although treats may also be used. I find it difficult to keep myself from doing the things I want to do instead of the (work related) things I need to do at home. Often times there are errands (aka shopping) I want to do or a house project I’m in the middle of that distract me from my work tasks. So, I reward myself by allowing myself to do the things I want, but only after crossing a certain number of items off my list (see “make lists and set goals“). Try to prioritize here and get the more urgent, important tasks done before rewarding yourself. Also set a goal to get back to work after a certain amount of time so as not to get too carried away at Target.