Written by: Maria Rummel
Whether you are a freelancer, work remotely for a large corporation, or run your own business out of your basement, the concept of working from home can either be an amazing blessing or a huge curse to your productivity.
WFH (working from home) isn’t easy. In fact, it can be pretty difficult if you’re not disciplined. Add in things like roommates, pets, or kids, and staying on task can sometimes seem next to impossible. But you are not alone. According to data collected by Gallup, 43% of American employees reported working remotely in some capacity. With this trend on the rise, we have collected the following tips to help you stay focused and highly productive regardless of what’s going on around you.
1. GET IN THE WORKING MINDSET
While the lure of staying in your pajamas all day may seem tempting, doing so might actually be holding you back. If you’re going to be productive, you have to remember the “work” part and forget about the “from home” part. Treat each day as if you were heading to the office. Get up, take a shower, get dressed, grab a cup of coffee, or anything else that would be part of your morning routine.
2. DESIGNATE A WORK-ONLY SPACE
Sure, you could easily get your hours in from the comfort of your couch, but you should differentiate between your work space and your downtime space. If you don’t, you might blur the lines between working and just being at home. Your work hours will be less productive and you might have trouble signing off and kicking back at the end of a busy day. After all, you never really left “the office.”
3. HAVE A PLAN
The day before you plan to work remotely, try creating a scheduled list of what you need to accomplish and prioritize those tasks in order of importance. Creating this list ahead of time will help you eliminate planning time in the morning and stay focused throughout the day. Not to mention, crossing items off your list will make you feel efficient and productive.
4. MINIMIZE DISTRACTIONS
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but since life at home is inevitably full of distractions, it’s important that you make a conscious effort to minimize productivity-killers. Keep pets crated or in an area where they won’t be constantly vying for your attention. Remind friends and family that your home is your office so please, no unexpected drop-ins. If you have children, keep them occupied or, if possible, arrange appropriate care for them during your working hours.
5. WFH – AWAY FROM HOME
Just because you are working from home, doesn’t mean you actually need to be at home to reap the benefit. If your reason for working remotely does not have to do with a need to be at home, try getting up, getting dressed and getting out of the house. Working from a local coffee shop, library, or co-working space can help you get in the productivity zone and minimize the tempting distractions you experience in your living room or office.
6. SET DEADLINES
When working away from the office, it can be easier to fudge on your deadlines. Does your EOW mean 5 pm on Friday? Or before the open of business on Monday? Setting concrete deadlines with both a date and time will help prevent you from procrastinating and pushing projects into your nights and weekends.
7. KNOW WHEN YOU’RE THE MOST PRODUCTIVE
Not everyone is at the top of their game first thing in the morning and some people are more focused at night. Your opportunity to work remotely can help you capitalize on the hours you are the most productive. Identify what time of day you accomplish the most and then plan your schedule accordingly. Just make sure to loop in your clients and team so they know the best times to reach you.
8. KNOW YOUR STYLE
Nobody knows your working style better than you do. When you’re in the office, if you take frequent breaks or workout during lunch, you should try to do the same when you are working from home. Be honest with yourself about what factors might be causing you to lose focus throughout the day. Whether it’s having your smartphone within an arm’s reach or being logged into your personal email, make it a point to eliminate these distractions so you aren’t constantly tempted.
Working from home can be very rewarding, but if you’re not able to stay on task, you won’t have much success.
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