Ways to be Productive When Working from Home
Working from home isn’t always the dream work scenario, if you’re struggling check out this post on how to be productive when working from home.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues around the world, many people will find themselves working from home. Working from home may not be easy for everyone and there will be an adjustment period before workers are settled in. Much of the structure going to a workplace provides is absent when working from home. It is up to the individual to stay productive and finish their work even during these unusual times. Thankfully, there are many ways anyone can stay productive while working from home.
By following the suggestions below, you can set yourself up for success and stay productive while working from home.
Supportive and Structured Environment
When you are working from home, your environment greatly affects your productivity. Create a home workspace that has good light, (natural sunlight is ideal), enough space, and minimal distractions. Working from home allows you the freedom to build your own personal workspace, but set yourself up for success by creating a home workspace that helps you stay productive.
Your work zone should be comfortable, but not to the point of leisure. It can be tempting to sit on your bed to work while staying comfortable but resist the urge. Working from your bed will lead to lower productivity and focus because your brain associates your bed with sleep, not work. Your home office should not be a space you associate with anything other than work. It is not always possible to separate an area for only work, but do your best to create a “work zone”. Establishing a work zone also helps you differentiate between work time and home time so the hours don’t blur together. You enter your home work zone when it is time to work and you leave the work zone when work is done for the day.
Working from home also lets you control the noise level of your workspace. Some people function best with a quiet room while other people want white noise or a podcast in the background. There are a wide variety of white noise apps with hundreds of track options ranging from rain to static. There are also more podcasts than ever as people are starting shows from their homes during the quarantine. Many celebrities, influencers, personalities, and content creators are filling their new free time by creating new content for people isolating at home. If you decide to put a podcast or something similar on in the background, be careful to not let it distract you from work. Background sound should help, not hinder your productivity.
Manage or Eliminate Distractions
It is very easy to become distracted while working from home. There is no one looking over your shoulder to make sure you are staying on task and it is up to you to stay focused. There are far more distractions at home than in a traditional office, so you should devise a plan to combat distractions.
If you live with other people, whether it be a spouse, roommate, kids, or a combination, you should inform your housemates of your work hours and what you need from them to stay productive. If you need a very quiet workspace, tell your housemates what specific hours need to stay quiet. It may not be possible for everyone, especially kids, to leave you alone while you work, but talking with your housemates can at least give them a basic awareness of your needs so you aren’t bothered with trivial matters. Working in a room with a door that separates your space from the rest of the house is a good way of creating distance from distractions and keeping your workspace quiet.
Even if you section yourself off from your housemates and other areas of the house, there are likely still some distractions within your workspace. Most people who work from home do so from a computer and computers come with a lot of potential distractions. Instead of denying yourself all distractions set a schedule or a rule where you allow yourself to take a break after accomplishing a task. Think of checking Twitter for 5 minutes like a sweet snack or a reward for staying on task for a specific amount of time. If you can stick to a rule that moderates distractions, you don’t have to eliminate them entirely. However, if moderation is not working, it is a better idea to eliminate as many distractions as possible so you can remain productive.
Avoid Cabin Fever With Self-Care
Working from home can be freeing, but many people will struggle with staying at home all the time. Cabin fever can greatly affect your productivity so it is important you take steps to combat going stir crazy. If you have a backyard or balcony, try to take a break outside to feel the fresh air and change your surroundings. Take the time each day to do something that you enjoy whether it be watching a movie you have been meaning to start, reading your favorite book, or tending to your garden. Exercise is another way you can keep your mind and body active. You can also take a walk around your neighborhood so long as you follow public health advisories.
It is important you stay productive while working from home and there are many things you can do to help yourself. Create a supportive work environment, manage distractions, and practice self-care to prevent cabin fever. By actively taking steps to stay productive, you can successfully and comfortably work from home.