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Working from home, or working online, can be a great way to make money and spend more time with your family. However, it can also be difficult to stay productive when there are so many distractions around you… that new show on Netflix, the dog, or the million other things that need to be done around the house.
In this blog post, we will discuss some tips and best practices for staying productive when working from home or working remotely. This is applicable to freelancers, small business owners, mompreneurs, and remote workers or remote employees. We will talk about how to set up a workspace that is conducive to productivity, how to create a work schedule that works for you, avoiding distractions, and how to manage your time wisely. Follow these tips and you will be able to work productively from home!
1. Why work from home
There are many benefits to working from home, including:
Flexibility to work around your family’s schedule
When you work from home, you have the flexibility to work around your family’s schedule. This can be a huge benefit, especially if you have young children. You can work when they are napping or in school, and you can take breaks to spend time with them when they are home. This flexibility can also be helpful if you have a family member with a medical condition that requires frequent doctor’s appointments or other commitments. You can work around their schedule as well.
Ability to work from anywhere with an internet connection
As long as you have an internet connection, you can work from anywhere in the world. This is a great option for freelancers, work-from-home moms, or people who work remotely. You can work from the comfort of your own home, a coffee shop or library, or even while traveling! Your internet connection lets you have a video meeting or a video call with co workers in a virtual office setting. That means working remotely is easier than ever before.
More time for family and personal responsibilities
Time spent commuting to an office adds up. When you work from home, you don’t have to spend time commuting to and from work. This can save you a lot of time each day, and that time can be used for family and personal responsibilities. You can also work during nap time or bedtime, which can be helpful if you have young children. Working from home can help you have a better work/life balance.
No need for expensive work clothes
One of the benefits of remote working is that you don’t have to wear expensive business attire. When you work from home, you can work in comfortable clothes that you feel good in. This can save you a lot of money on clothes, and it can be more comfortable than wearing tight or restrictive clothing.
If you’re in a professional setting where you still need to get dressed up for video meetings, here’s a little trick I learned from my business friend Tracy Phillips…
Business on top, party on the bottom.
That means you can fix your hair and wear a nice top, and still get away with wearing yoga pants or comfy jeans because folks on your video meeting will only see you from the chest up anyway! Your co workers will never know you’re wearing your fuzzy slippers.
2. How to set up a work-from-home space
Setting up a work-from-home space can be a challenge, but it’s important to make sure that you have a space that is conducive to productivity. This can be anything from setting up a dedicated office space in your house to simply having a comfortable chair and desk where you can work. Regardless of whether you have a dedicated office or a little workspace within another room, here are some tips for getting it set up to work for you
Have a designated workspace
When you have a designated workspace, it helps to set boundaries between your work life and personal life. This can be helpful if you are working from home with young children, as it will help them understand that when mom or dad is in their workspace, they should not be playing around or bothering them. It can also help you to be more productive, as it will help you to focus on work when you are in your workspace.
Make sure your workspace is in a quiet area of your home
If you can, try to set up your workspace in a quiet area of your home. This will help you to avoid distractions and stay focused on your work. If you frequently hear Netflix calling your name, try to set up your workspace in another room away from the temptation of the TV.
Make sure your workspace is organized
When your workspace is organized, it will be easier for you to find what you need and work more efficiently. Try to have everything within reach so that you don’t have to get up often.
Make sure your workspace is comfortable
Your workspace should be comfortable so that you can work for extended periods of time without getting uncomfortable, or worse, causing yourself pain. This includes having the right chair, desk, and lighting.
If you’re setting up an office, make sure your desk is a comfortable height and that you have an ergonomic chair to sit on while you work (i.e. not the dining room or kitchen chair).
Decorate your workspace to match your personality
Your workspace should be decorated to reflect your personality. This can help you to feel more comfortable in your space and work more productively. When I work from home, I like to have photos of my family and friends around me so that I feel more connected to them. You can also decorate with plants, artwork, or anything else that makes you happy.
3. Creating a work schedule that works for you
Figuring out your ideal working hours is vital to boost productivity.
If you have young children at home, for example, you may need to work during their nap times or after they go to bed.
If you have a pet, you may need to schedule breaks for walks or playtime.
And if you live with roommates or other family members, you’ll need to take their schedules into account as well.
Here are some tips for creating a work schedule that works for you:
Determine the hours you are most productive
When you work from home, it’s important to find the hours when you are most productive and work during those times. This may be different than the work hours you have when you are in an office setting. For example, I am most productive from early morning to mid-afternoon, so I try to work during those hours when possible.
Consider your obligations, commitments and preferences
When determining your work schedule, it’s important to take into account things like family obligations, other work or team commitments, and your own personal preferences. For example, I also know that once I start having client calls and meetings, I find it hard to get back into my focused, creative work so I only schedule calls later in the day. Other people may prefer to work later in the day when their house is quiet and they can focus without interruption.
Build in time for breaks
When you work from home, it can be easy to work for hours on end without taking a break. However, it’s important to build in time for breaks so that you can recharge, avoid burnout, and stretch your legs. I like to take a few minutes every hour or two to step away from my work and take a quick walk around the house or outside for some natural light and fresh air. This helps me to come back to my work with fresh eyes and a new perspective. My lunch breaks are at least one hour breaks so that I don’t rush my meals and have time to relax before jumping back into work.
There is no “right” way to work from home, so find what works best for you and go with that! Your working hours need to make sense to you for it to help your labor productivity.
4. Avoiding distractions while working from home
When you work from home, it can be easy to get distracted by things like your phone, noise from other people in your house, or your pets. Here are a few tips for avoiding distractions while working:
Close your door (if possible)
If you have a door to your workspace, close it to avoid distractions from family members or pets. This will help you to stay focused on your work. Of course, this may not work if you have small children that you need to supervise if nobody else is home. In that case, try to find the best time in your day to work eg. during nap times.
Put your phone away
If you are like me, it’s easy to get distracted by notifications on your phone. To avoid this, put your phone away somewhere where you cannot see or reach it while you are working. This will help you to stay focused on your work and avoid getting sucked into social media or other distractions. If you must keep your phone handy, turn off notifications on your phone or use the do not disturb feature.
Turn off the TV
If you have a TV in your workspace, turn it off so that you’re not tempted to watch it while you work. It’s also a good idea to avoid watching TV altogether when you are meant to be working, as it can be distracting and time-consuming.
If you find yourself getting distracted, take a break and come back to your work with fresh eyes and even help you come up with new ideas. Scheduled breaks (from our previous step “Creating a work schedule that works for you”) are an excellent time to indulge in entertainment distractions or catch up with family. Free time is just as important to your productivity as working time.
5. Time management tips for working from home
Time management is especially important when you’re working from home. Traditional office life with set office hours, planned lunchtime and other breaks, and set workdays, help to keep office workers in a set routine. For remote workers, it can be easy to let work take over your life. Nothing else in this post will help you be productive while remote working if you don’t manage your time. You could think of time management as the cornerstone for increased productivity for remote working. Here are a few tips for managing your working time when you’re at home.
Set goals with timelines or deadlines
One way to manage your time is to set goals with timelines or deadlines. This will help you to stay focused and avoid procrastination. For example, if you have a goal to write a report, set a timeline for when you want to have it completed. Then, work backwards and set deadlines for each section or task that you need to complete. This will help you to stay on track and avoid getting overwhelmed.
Prioritize your daily tasks and activities
Another way to manage your time when working from home is to prioritize your daily tasks and activities, including a morning routine if you want or need one. Having a to do list is important. Prioritizing your to do list will save your sanity and boost your mental health. This means that you should work on the most important tasks first, and save less important tasks for later in the day or week. This will help you to stay focused and avoid procrastination.
Leave buffer time between tasks
When you are deciding what to work on for the day, and the order/priority of your tasks, leave buffer time between tasks. This will give you time to transition between tasks, take breaks, and handle unexpected delays or disruptions.
No matter how well you plan, there will always be the occasional unexpected event that disrupts your work day. Build in time for the unexpected by adding buffer time to your schedule, as well as leaving some work tasks unplanned. This way, if something comes up, you can handle it without throwing off your entire day.
Batch similar tasks
Batching similar tasks together will help you to be more efficient and avoid multitasking or context switching, which can be ineffective and lead to distractions. For example, if you need to answer emails, schedule a block of time where you will only answer emails, and don’t do anything else during that time.
When you’re constantly switching between tasks, it can be difficult to stay focused and productive. This is because when you switch contexts, you have to spend time getting back into the swing of things. This includes getting reoriented to the task, remembering what you were working on, and dealing with any distractions that may have occurred while you were away.
Be realistic with your time expectations
You can set realistic time expectations and deadlines by knowing how long something takes you to complete. Work at a pace that is comfortable for you and don’t try to do too much at once. This will help you to avoid feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or like you’re not meeting your goals.
If a task is new to you or you haven’t done it in a while, take your best guess at a time requirement and double it. Once you’ve done that a few times, you’ll have a better understanding of how long something takes you and you’ll be better able to set your own time expectations to do that particular task.
Of course, our time expectations can be misjudged even if we’re experienced at something. Distractions, being sick or simply having a bad day can affect our concentration and productivity. If you built buffer time into your daily schedule,
Learn from others
There are many resources available to help you learn about time management and productivity. One way to learn is from others who have already figured out what works for them.
You can find helpful articles, blog posts, books, courses, and more on this topic.
There are also people who offer coaching or consulting services to help you improve your productivity. If you’re interested in this, do some research and find someone whose work style and approach resonates with you.
Two of my absolute favourites are Cara Chace and Todd Herman.
Cara Chace is an entrepreneur and mom herself, and understands busy schedules. She does an amazing job at teaching people how to plan and break down a workable workweek.
Her course, the Theme Day Planning Method: Flexible Time Blocking for Entrepreneurs Who Never Have Enough Time, is an excellent time management course that’s not intimidating to work through, no matter where you are in business or what your life looks like.
Click here to check out her Theme Day Planning Method course.
If you’re not ready to commit to a paid course, click here to download her free Ideal Work Week printable.
Todd Herman is the GOAT when it comes to productivity and peak performance. His award-winning 90 Day Year system is “[a] Multi-time winner of the ‘Best Leadership & Skill Development Program’ Stevie Award, validated by the ROI Institute, and attributed by countless business owners as the system to their success.”
The 90 Day Year system has skyrocketed my own productivity immensely and I cannot recommend it enough. If you’re serious about your building your business, being ultra-productive and getting out of your own way so that you can hit your goals faster than you thought possible, check out The 90 Day Year.
Regardless of whether you try one of the resources linked above or hit up Google for books and articles, take the time to learn about productivity so that you can work smarter, not harder. This will help you to achieve your goals and feel less stressed. Implementing even a few of these tips can make a big difference.
Working From Home Productivity FAQs
Has work from home reduced productivity?
There are a lot of factors that come into play when it comes to work from home productivity, such as the type of work you do, how your work is structured, whether you have children or other responsibilities at home, and your work/life balance. The working remotely productivity myth is that unsupervised remote work means less work gets done, and it isn’t for everyone, but there are many people who can attest to the opposite being true.
Some remote employees find that remote work allows them more flexibility and they’re able to get more work done because they’re not distracted by office politics or other office workers’ conversations. Others find that they have to set stricter boundaries for themselves in order to be productive and that remote work can be more challenging because of the distractions at home.
If you’re struggling with productivity while working from home, there are many resources available to help you learn about time management and productivity. The bottom line is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It really depends on the person and their work situation.
How do you ensure productivity when working from home?
There are a few key things to keep in mind when it comes to productivity when working remotely:
- Set boundaries for yourself and stick to them.
- Create a work schedule and stick to it.
- Take breaks and get up from your desk regularly.
- Have a dedicated workspace at home.
- Prioritize what you need to do that day. If your productivity slips at some point, you’ve already taken care of the most important aspects.
What are the pros and cons of working from home?
There are a number of pros and cons to working remotely, from home or online, but the main ones are that you can save on childcare costs, you have more flexibility when it comes to hours, and you can work in comfortable clothing.
On the downside, there may be distractions at home (such as pets or children), work/life balance can be difficult to maintain, and it can be hard to stay focused.
It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of working from home before making a decision, as it may not be the right option for everyone. You may find that you work best in an office environment or you may prefer to work from home most of the time.
Is work from home better than work from office?
There is no clear answer to this question as it depends on the person’s work situation and preferences. Some remote workers find that they are more productive when working from home, while others find that an office environment suits them better.
It’s important to experiment with both options and see what works best for you. You may find that you like remote work some of the time and working from the office other times. The most important thing is to find what works best for you so that you can be productive and happy with your work situation.
The Ultimate Guide to Productivity When Working From Home – On a final note
If you’re looking for tips on how to be productive while working from home, these tips will help. Creating a work-from-home space that is comfortable and organized, setting a work schedule that works for your lifestyle, and avoiding distractions are all important factors in staying productive when working from home. Additionally, time management skills are essential when it comes to getting things done without having to leave the house.
Do you have any other productivity tips for those who work from home? Let us know in the comments below!
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