Working from home? Here's how to boost your productivity
For some, getting home at the end of a working day means relaxation, watching TV shows and taking long showers. For others, home is a functional space of living and working in one. While working from home is a dream come true for many, it does take an immaculate amount of self-discipline to work and stay focused when the likes of Netflix, social media and even house work are so close by. I'm not going to lie; working from home used to be super hard for me as well. And it still is sometimes. It's unbelievably simple to get distracted, being in the comfortable, relaxed environment you call home. Luckily, there are many tips and tricks to help increase productivity and stay focused. Here's how I make the mental shift from living to working and stay motivated while getting work done from home.
Let's face it, who doesn't like to sleep in for as long as possible? It is tempting to stay in bed when working from home, especially on weekends. I try to resist the temptation and wake up at the same time as I would when going to the office. Treating it like a “regular” job with a regular schedule makes me wake up feeling less exhausted. I set some time aside in the morning to get dressed, make some proper breakfast, get some cleaning up done and get straight to work after with a fresh mind. I found out for myself that I am at my peak productivity in the morning (late nights excluded), and I like to get heavy tasks and potential distractions out of the way for the afternoon. I also designate certain days for certain tasks.
Another crucial thing I insist on is getting dressed in the morning, and I can only recommend you do the same. While sweatpants and a cozy jumper might seem like the more comfy option to go, I find the longer I wear my messy clothing, the more messy I’ll feel. Getting dressed puts me into a productive mindset, without giving me too much of a comfortable feeling.
If there's one thing I find myself struggling with, it's getting work done without making up a schedule up first. While one of the advantages of working from home is definitely the flexibility with your work schedule, not having pointed out what to do at what part of the day rather sabotages my productivity. When getting too busy, I end up feeling like I am barely able to keep my head above water. Writing down a list of things to take care of, and prepare a schedule for the day ahead is super important for me to make the most of my working day. It definitely helps that I'm a huge supporter of to-do lists. There are so many reasons to write things down, two of the most important ones being the guaranteed organisation and clearer thought process. Knowing and prioritising exactly what needs to be done for the day is crucial for me. In addition to that, I must say I love that feeling of of satisfaction when checking off each note from my to do list when it has been completed.
Dedicated work space
As appealing as the thought of sitting in my PJs on the couch all day is, with my Macbook on my laps, I just try to resist the temptation when working from home. Similar to how what I wear subconsciously dictates what I’m in the mood for, where I am at home also matters. If working from home, it is essential to find a spot in the house that can be turned into a workspace. If I’m in my bedroom, I’m usually relaxing, watching Netflix, or sleeping. If I’m in the kitchen, I am cooking, cleaning up or eating. And if I am on my couch, I am resting, relaxing, or reading. So, I always work at my desk – because if I am sitting at my desk, in front of my computer, I am working. Having a specific place to work definitely helps me avoid distractions, focus on the things in front of me and overall accomplish more. I found for myself I needed a workspace that is not my bedroom. While my bed is completely out of question if I am to get any work done, I'm least productive when working in my bedroom in general. Not only do I tend to feel really sleepy when working in my bedroom, but it also seems to me that I can never really relax, rewind and get my head off work when sitting in the same room during the day as I sleep in during the night. I also need my desk to be clean and clutter-free, space dedicated to my planners, notebook and pens only. A tidy workspace helps keep a tidy mind, which helps make the day more productive.
It’s become so easy to get distracted when working from home. When it comes to me, I found my major distraction to be checking social media. It is so easy to pick up your phone, open Instagram, scroll through the feed, like a few pictures and woops!, before you know it, 20 minutes have gone. It is also particularly tough to get back to productive work after having been distracted for a while. While turning off my phone during work hours just doesn't work for me (I get a really anxious fear of missing out when my phone is switched off), I do put it on vibrate and turn it face-down so I'm not constantly distracted by notifications. That way I am still available for calls, yet do not always check Instagram and co. I also spend some time focusing on my major distractions before settling down to work in first place. I make sure any washing up and other household things are done, important messages are answered to and all social media updates are checked. I'm definitely more likely to focus on my work afterwards.