Working from home has become a norm for most professionals, thanks to social distancing and lockdown brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. The biggest challenge for most people working from home, however, is staying productive in the highly distracting home environment. Creating a productive workspace, now more than ever, is essential to being more productive while working from home.
With children around the home and neighbors operating noisy machines across the streets, it can be quite a hassle to focus. That coupled with less accountability and limited communication from managers has made it very hard to be efficient and meet goals.
However, some people have managed to move their work offices to their homes and are still as productive as they were in their job places or even more. So, what have they done differently from the usual all? Well, here are expert-approved work from home tips that you can use to create a more productive work from home space.
Plan tomorrow, today
To get the most out of your day, you need to have a plan. Figure out what you need to accomplish and set out the time you’ll take for each task. Ensure you keep your schedule simple and be realistic about what you need to achieve. Overwhelming yourself with tasks while working from home can hurt your productivity.
Prior planning is key to saving time, enhancing efficiency, and helping you focus. Spend a few minutes on the night before to create your plan. This way, you’ll go to sleep while ready for the next day. Besides, planning your workday on the day of can take away from doing the actual work.
Many tools can assist you in creating an effective schedule for working from home. Tools like hub planner and Eisenhower Matrix are excellent for organizing and prioritizing your tasks. You can set urgent tasks first and include breaks in between tasks.
Dress for the office
Dressing for the occasion can set your mind right for that moment. When you dress as you would when going to work, the mind switches to a working mood. Consequently, your concentration levels increase, and you get an added sense of purpose.
The routine you follow when reporting to work should be reinforced when working from home. Wake up early and prepare yourself for success by showering, cleaning your teeth, and dressing right. There’s always a temptation to wear sweat pants or an oversized T-shirt when working from home. While these are comfortable, they may make you feel unmotivated and sluggish, which can negatively impact your day.
Create a Dedicated Workspace
Many people working from home enjoy the freedom of working from anywhere in the house, including the couch, bed, the backyard, or an easy chair. That’s a grave mistake because it can hurt your productivity. The mind sets in moods depending on the surrounding. If you work from the bed, your mind will process that as time to sleep. Similarly, working from a cozy couch can suggest it’s time for relaxation.
The best practice should be to create a workspace with a spacious desk, supportive office chair, and workplace tools similar to your office space. A dedicated at-home office creates the right mood for work. As such, make sure you personalize your home office space and consistently use it to enhance productivity.
Take Regular Breaks
You don’t have to work all day to achieve your day’s target lest you suffer from burnout. Rest should be an essential part of your schedule and it will help you to avoid stress and to reboot your brain. Take short breaks and get away from your work desk. Besides taking breaks to make lunch, you should consider taking a stroll to recharge and get ready for the next session. Spending time outside with others between your work schedules is beneficial not only to your mental health but also your social life.
Working from home can easily make you skip breaks and drift into the evening unknowingly. This makes you work harder and put in extra hours, which can affect next day’s performance. An accountability partner can help you commit to these breaks.
Make the most of your flow times
We are all more efficient at different times of the day. While some people are night owls, others are more productive in the morning. You need to recognize your flow time, which are times when you’re most active, efficient, and productive. Schedule your tasks around that time and save your most demanding tasks for the most productive hours.
If you’re a morning person, make it a habit to wake up early in the morning and start working. Similarly, night owls should work late and avoid distractions during that time. To stay productive, schedule breaks at times when you’re least productive.
One advantage of working from home is having the opportunity to get inspired without distracting your coworkers. We all have different ways to get motivated. You can keep the TV on in the background or play soothing soundtracks or even loud pumped-up jams, depending on what gets you moving.
If you’re not a music buff, you may consider listening to a podcast while doing repetitive tasks to thwart boredom. They’re also people who don’t like noise when working. If you fall under this category, you might find it beneficial to turn everything off and work in silence.
Stay Away from Social Media
Use of social media during work hours can harm your productivity. Social media is very engaging and addictive, and if kept in proximity, you may spend the whole day on social media without doing any of your constructive work.
Always stay away from social media while working from home. Remove all social network shortcuts, sign out from all your accounts, and delete social network bookmarks from your work computer because it only needs a click to get sucked into the endless stream of tweets, posts, and images. Eliminating these gateways is the best way to stay on track and increase productivity.
Tips for Working from Home
Creating a productive environment that is ideal for working from home can be tricky. The above tips can be a great starting point to effectively move your office to your home and achieve your targets. Find the tips that work best and personalize them. You will be surprised how productive working from home turns out for you.