Work from Home? Here are 5 Ways To Remain Productive
Some studies have found that working from home leads to greater productivity and higher morale. Others suggest that those benefits are at best temporary, and that prolonged time spent working from home actually saps one’s productivity and, eventually, will to live.
It may seem like the perfect setup. There are no traffic snarls, no weather delays, and no drama over the perfect thermostat setting. Working outside of a traditional office setting does, however, create challenges for maintaining a consistent level of productivity. You will find yourself struggling to stay on track and not get distracted by the lure of your bed or the TV.
How do you make sure that you stay focused and productive when working from the comfort of your own home, without getting toocomfortable? Here are 5 tips for making it work:
1.Wake up early.
Waking up just in time for work in may be difficult, after all who doesn’t like to sleep as long as possible? But you should know that it takes about two hours for your body to fully wake up and adjust to its best concentration level?
Illustration by fuzzyscience
In the morning when you first get out of bed, your melatonin levels are still relatively high, which is often the reason for early morning grogginess. Jumping right into work when you haven’t given your mind and body the appropriate amount of time to adjust can inhibit your productivity.
If you commit yourself to specific hours like you do at the office, you’re more likely to get work done during those hours. Now I’m not saying you should write down what every minute of what your day looks like, but I do recommend at least creating a to-do list of tasks that need to be accomplished.
A nice app to use is the Pomodoro Timer. This Chrome extension lets you add tasks and schedule them by the approximate amount of time it would take to complete them. Each task is automatically added in 25 minute bursts. Because working in shorter amounts of time, followed by a quick five minute break tends to keep your level of focus up. How? By forcing you to work more intensely without burning out. You’re also less likely to waste time surfing the internet and looking at silly things. When you schedule your breaks, you also tend to stress out less about taking those breaks.
Make a conscious effort to minimize these distractions during your working hours:
- Music:Don’t spend hours creating the perfect mix. Pick your station or album using Google Play Music, Spotify, then leave it alone for at least two hours.
- Pets:A quick pat while you work is fine, but a cat on your keyboard can seriously impede your productivity.Keep pets crated, as they normally would be during working hours.
- Children:If children will share your space during a work period, talk with them about the importance of your quiet, focused time and demystify your activity by offering them opportunities to “work” with you for short .
- Visitors:Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you are available for every visitor or package delivery. Don’t be afraid to turn down knocks at your door with a quick “I’m sorry, but can we chat another time
4.Communication is essential
Especially because you won’t be stopping by your colleagues’ desks for quick chats, your communication tools–and your dedication to using them–are important.A few tools to consider:
- Email:Ideal for more formal check-ins and sharing or requesting more complex information, documents, or resources.
- Instant Messaging:Better for less formal check-ins and updates, as well as quick questions that need quick answers.
- Video calls (i.e. Skypeor Google Hangouts): Good for discussing ideas or meetings with groups of people, since video allows you to make the connection between voices and faces.
5.Make plans after work.
A major side-effect of working at home is that it can quickly turn you into a lazy recluse. Try to make plans after work when possible. You don’t need to go out and party every night of the week, but give yourself a reason to get out of the house. Go to the gym, or for a walk. Plan a movie day, or dinner and drinks with friends.
When you work at an office, you leave when the day is over. This allows you to refocus your mind and shift your outlook. Working remotely can blur the lines between what is work and what is home, which has been said to lead to increased stress and a reduced ability to maintain focus. It’s important to separate yourself from your house every so often in order to avoid the downward cycle towards a lack of productivity.