I am sharing these 15 productivity tips on working from home as the entire world is on lockdown due to the Covid-19. It’s a bit surreal but it’s time to make lemonade out of lemons and make the best of it.
Working from home is exciting! You can stick two fingers up to the dreaded commute and hang out with your kids/cat/dog over lunch.
However, once you have overcome the sheer excitement of being able to work in your pajamas, you will be faced with a startling fact:
You actually have to WORK, while working from home
As someone who transitioned from a traditional 9-5 job in a bank to a full-blown remote working role 3 years ago, I have discovered tips and tricks along the way to help you stay focused, motivated and productive while working from home.
There are also a number of common pitfalls that can happen, when you work from home, so I want to help you avoid them.
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Productivity Tips On Working From Home
1. WAKE UP AND THINK OF ONE GOAL FOR THE DAY
Have you ever written a long list for the day, crossed loads off and then felt a bit disgruntled or distracted that you haven’t finished your list?
Don’t get me wrong, I love lists, but for now, I want you to try this:
When you wake up, as you are lying in bed with your eyes closed wriggling your toes, think of ONE THING you want to achieve for the day.
Plan this one MAIN thing even before you get out of bed. Then get it done as soon as possible.
It will be tempting to add more things to the main goal.
For now, get the main thing done. It will make you feel productive and motivated and it will get you in a positive frame of mind early on in the day.
Then you can tackle anything else.
Setting a main goal helps you identify what’s truly important to you. All successful athletes and entrepreneurs set a main goal and you should too.
It’s one of the best productivity tips on working from home
2. HAVE A DEDICATED WORKSPACE
I used to work on my kitchen table. Then I moved to my balcony, then my bed, then to a table in my bedroom
I figured, this is what working from home is all about! Flexibility, right?
I spent so much time setting up and moving that I was distracted all the time. You see, the human brain needs routine and familiarity to be productive
Having a dedicated workspace can help you stay focused because you’re dedicated to that one spot, and you can get working without distractions ASAP.
It is EXTREMELY important for your workspace to be comfortable and conducive to working. Keep your dedicated workspace tidy and free from non-work-related stuff. Eliminate all distractions and clutter.
It is worth getting an adjustable laptop stand that will allow you to sit and stand at your dedicated workspace. This one here has a USB Ports, an LED Light and Storage Space. Nifty eh!
3. ELIMINATE DISTRACTIONS
How many times have you stopped to check a notification on your phone or clicked on a news article that popped up in your feed and spent 10-15 minutes reading other stuff?
If you do you this a few times a day it can add up to hours. Which now means you need to work later. It’s the biggest productivity killer.
Here are some tools to eliminate distractions from your laptop and phone and will make it harder for yourself to mess around on social media.
Noise Cancelling headphones block out noise so you can focus on your work. These ones have comfy ear pads and a deep bass for any music you want to play.
- Offtime – allows you to block what distracts you most: social media, games, and even text messages.
- Self Control – Only available for Macs. You can block certain time-sucking website and set a time limit (24 hours max). Even if you restart your computer, you won’t be able to access what you blocked until the time is up!
- Freedom – A great app that blocks the entire internet for up to eight hours at a time. Good if you need to write a paper with no WIFI.
- Stay Focused – It has a Google Chrome extension that restricts the time you spend on time-wasting websites. You can set time limits to spend on each site, like Instagram Twitter, etc. Once you use up that allotted time, the site is blocked for the rest of the day!
- Flipd– helps you cut back on screen time by locking certain apps on your phone for a set period.
- Moment – Tracks how much time you spend on your phone and on what areas, so you know exactly how much and where you are wasting time in your day.
Distractions also come in many other forms, such as a spouse or kids.
Spouse: Tell them you need 4 hours in the morning where you can’t talk unless it’s an emergency. Be strict, no casual chats during the 4 hours while you are working.
Kids– Have a thumbs down, thumbs up sign on your door that shows if you can or can’t be disturbed.
Here are 11 practical tips to work from home with kids so can you can actually get some work done.
4. WORK WHEN YOU ARE MOST PRODUCTIVE
Everyone is most productive at different times of the day. For example, I am a morning person, so I am most efficient and focused in the morning. But after lunch, I lose focus and get sleepy.
My aunt (who is a high powered CEO ) prefers to have a lie-in and start her day late as she works better at night.
A great productivity tip on working from home is to find your most productive periods in the day and schedule the most important work in those hours.
5. SAVE CALLS FOR THE AFTERNOON
When I wake up in the morning I sound like Billy Goats Gruff i.e. Really ROUGH. No one needs to be subjected to that.
I also find that I don’t think too much when I am talking to people, I focus on listening. It seems to be easier on my brain.
One of the most useful productivity tips on working from home is to use the morning to utilize my brain and think, focus, analyze, write and the afternoon to take calls and listen while relaxing my brain.
6. DRESS LIKE YOU ARE GOING INTO THE OFFICE
Even though you’re working from home, you should still try to dress up as if you’re working in an office. This will increase your capability to stay focused and dedicated to your work and will also increase self-confidence because when we feel good on the outside, we’re most likely to stay good on the inside.
It also gets you into a professional, efficient state of mind.
Confession – I often take Skype meetings in a full face of makeup and a work shirt with gym shorts on. Sometimes you gotta make compromises and wear what is comfortable too.
7. MAKE A LIST FOR THE DAY
This is a useful productivity tip on working from home that I use every day.
Every day, I wake up and write all the things to complete in the day. Using a list will keep you focused and on track with all the tasks you need to do for the day.
You can use good old paper and pen, but I also use the FREE project planner called Trello.
Super cool, efficient and chic. Try it, it’s free!
8. MAKE A SCHEDULE FOR THE DAY
Using a schedule will help you work in batches. Everything will be organized and planned out. A schedule sets your priorities and you can see what time you’re available. So, creating a schedule can boost your productivity and can help you be more efficient.
Also – knowing I only have 30 minutes before my lunch break makes me type fast like a madwoman. That way, I can enjoy that chocolate brownie over lunch, as I feel I deserved it!
9. PREPARE YOUR MEALS THE NIGHT BEFORE
It’s very easy to spend ages whipping up and cool lunch .. because you can. But just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
A great productivity tip on working from home is to plan your meals the night before so you can focus on eating and relaxing during lunch.
You shouldn’t be making the actual meal because next thing you know, you have taken a 3-hour lunch break and now have to work late to finish your projects.
10. SET AN END TIME EVERY DAY
Working from home can be exhausting, all that time staring at screens is hard on the eyes.
If you don’t watch out, you can end up working till bedtime. There is no or bus train to catch, and your laptop and deadlines are sitting right there asking you to attend to them.
Set a definitive time to finish for the day and stick to it. That way, you will focus and channel your inner work God/Goddess when you realize you only have 1 hour to finish writing a proposal before you have to end your day.
Be strict with yourself.
11. TAKE A SHORT BREAK AND DO SOME CARDIO
Everyone says to take breaks but when I started working from home, I noticed I would scroll through social media on my breaks on my phone.
This is counter-productive after you have been staring at a computer screen for the past few hours.
A fantastic productivity tip on working from home is to get up and start stretching, get those butt cheeks so solid, you can bounce tennis balls of them!
Sometimes, I do jumping jacks or sit-ups or walk on the spot. I also google short YouTube fitness videos that help me stretch and get the blood pumping.
Trust me, even if its 10 mins, 3 times a day, your body and mind will feel better and more productive
12. BE CREATIVE WITH YOUR WORKSPACE
Your workspace is where you will spend multiple hours typing furiously sending passive-aggressive emails to difficult colleagues
I am not a very creative person, so my desk used to have nothing.
Then I bought some plants for my desk and suddenly, all I wanted to do was hang out at my desk and do work. It worked wonders!
Enhance your workspace by adding a few quirky-cool decorations to spice things up. It will make you feel happy and when you are happy you are more productive.
13. FIND A VIRTUAL WORK BUDDY
The right group of people can help you to stay motivated. So, try and find people who do the same jobs as you. You can help one another by sharing ideas and setting work goals. The right people can help achieve your goals and can even help you stay focused.
You could both agree to achieve 3 tasks for the morning and keep each other accountable. This is also a usefulproductivity tip on working from home that ensures you don’t end up feeling isolated.
14. COMPLETE DIFFICULT TASKS FIRST
Difficult tasks are like large stones that you need to push away to keep going.
If you complete the easier tasks and slowly move your way up to the difficult ones, your motivation can run low and you can completely lose your motivation for completing these set of tasks.
So, make sure you complete the difficult ones first and then you can move your way up to the other ones with ease.
15. CREATE A REWARDS SYSTEM
Deep down we are all secret children. A really good productivity tip on working from home is to reward yourself with treats or fun activities to keep you motivated and productive.
So, tell yourself, if you complete 4 tasks, you can take a trip to the bakery for a cheeky cupcake or nice walk in the park.
Or maybe you reward yourself with a 15 min nap, I do this all the time.
I hope these productivity tips on working from home can help you kick ass with your work goals and finish work on time.
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Do you have any productivity tips on working from home? Please share them in the comments below.