Whether you work from home naturally or due to other circumstances, staying productive while at home is a challenge. You’d think that it would be the dream. Being able to work at home and work in your pyjamas all day.
As glamorous as it is at first sight, there are a lot of challenges from working at home. One of the biggest is staying productive as we realize our homes or apartments are filled with distractions.
So here are some simple tricks that you can do to stay productive while working from home.
Create A Dedicated Work Space
The first biggest thing to do is to have a dedicated work space. And no your bed doesn’t count. You want this space to be a specific area in your home and ensure that it doesn’t get in the way of everyone else living in the house as well.
With this in mind, some good places are spare or guest rooms or maybe a den or a place in your basement or garage. The key here is to make sure that your work stays in one place and it’s not scattered around in various rooms. That and you also want it to be free of potential distractions so places like the living room or kitchen aren’t good either.
Muffle Sound As Best You Can
Until you get into a proper workflow noises can cause a lot of distraction. Furthermore any kind of loud noises can also potentially break concentration and focus too. To mitigate that, keep this in mind when creating your work space and also look for other things that can muffle sound.
Examples are some noise cancelling head phones or ear buds. You can also listen to ambient and soft music which can muffle sounds too. Studies show those lower our heart rate and blood pressure so we don’t feel stressed while working.
But Still Make Plans For Interruptions
Despite our efforts though, there will be interruptions. Just because you’re working at home people think it’s okay to interrupt you since you’re readily available. And even if you take all kinds of measures, there is bound to be scenarios where you will be interrupted.
To mitigate that, it helps if you put together if-then plans. The idea is if you are interrupted, then you go through a sequence of actions. For example, if you get a call from a family member, then you can respond with “I’d love to chat, but I’m doing work right now. Can I call you later?”
Having A Go To Work Routine
Even though you’re working from home, I find this to be essential for people to get into the initial working mood. After all, if you working from home, it’s easy to wake up, get breakfast, and then do nothing all morning.
Especially if you don’t have a lot of work on your plate.
As such, I think that creating the idea in your head you are “going to work” can help people. Even if your desk is ten or twenty steps away from you. It also helps a lot if you go to your work space immediately when you wake up. Creating the idea in your head that this is where you work now can make it easier for you to get into work mode.
Develop Your Work Attitude At Home
To help with those who are new to working at home consider asking yourself how you would behave at your work place. Are you someone who doesn’t wish to be disturbed? Do you mind the occasional co-worker to pop in for a chat?
The idea behind all this is to create an environment of your own office or place of work and adopt it at home.
If you’re really focused on work, set some strict boundaries for breaks, how long you’re working and when people can come in. For the more lax people, have some restriction but not as severe.
While you can’t replicate your place of work exactly, you can make it similar enough that you can get into your working mode and stay productive.
Keep Work In The Work Space
Along the same lines, don’t bring your work back home. Since you are working from home, it’s more like keep your work tools in your work space. Treat that space as the space you go to when you need to do work.
I’d also suggest you have storage space to put away any kind of tools you use. If it’s a room, close the door. You want to ensure you’re removing work from your mind once you are done with your work for the day.
Go For A Walk/Exercise
An unusual tip but it’s a solid one. Even amongst the coronavirus, exercising is alright in most circumstances. Mind you, you don’t want to be doing this constantly, but getting out for a walk and practicing social distancing works three-fold.
You’re improving your health a little. It gives you more energy to face the day. And by keeping your distance, you’re limiting the spread of the virus.
But on the note of productivity, anything to get your body moving will energize you if you do it long enough. Furthermore while at home, make sure you are doing stretches and start your day off with a quick workout routine.
Keep In Touch
Regardless of what your occupation is, working from home can get pretty lonely. Even if you are living with other people, sometimes seeing the same people and only those people can put us on edge. Sometimes we desire a little more communication beyond our roommates/family.
Thankfully, there is a way to help with that and that is to use video communications to keep in touch. There are dozens of video conference platforms to consider. You’ve also got a smartphone that will also let you keep in touch with people too.
Be sure to leverage those things as sometimes talking to someone else outside of your smaller circle can help.
Have A Work Schedule
Probably one of the biggest challenges for those making the transition between working in an office to working from home is having a schedule. When you go to work at your office, you often have specific tasks you know you have to do already but at home that seems to vanish.
To help with getting that back, make sure to have some kind of work schedule in place. Consider putting together a to-do list or a list of things to complete by the end of the week. When you have some structure of what you want done and how to get it done, it’s easier to get into the work flow.
Finding Meaning In Your Work
When it comes to productivity, it helps that you have various sources to pull energy from. But what’s also important is that we remain positive as well. When working at home under these circumstances or in any others can be disheartening for some people. As such, it’s key that we keep our moods in check and are in good spirits.
What also helps significantly is finding meaning in work. This is key because no matter what, there are going to be tasks you have that you don’t enjoy. And now that you’re working from home, this can lead to you procrastinating on that task.
So if you surround yourself and remind yourself of your purpose and meaning for this work, you can find a way to get through those mentally challenging tasks.
Staying productive while working at home has many obstacles beyond what you’d experience at an office but that’s not always a bad thing. When working at home, you can begin to understand how you work and what you can be doing to stay more productive.
The skills you can gain from working at home can be applied to your work now and in the future.