Working from home is nice. I would much rather work from home than go into an office where people are distracting me and keeping me from doing what I want to do. I’ve been working from home for almost 10 years. I’ve been very unproductive, but I’ve also learned how to be very productive – or on bad days at least somewhat productive. Following are some of my best tips for staying productive while working from home.
1. Don’t Stay In Your Pajamas
It seems like a fun idea, but it’s not. Getting dressed in actual clothes helps the day feel less like a lazy Sunday and more like a day of work.
There’s a mindset that goes along with PJs – relaxing, bedtime, cuddling under a blanket. Getting work done is not really what comes to mind when you put on your PJs.
I have stickers for my planners that say ‘PJs All Day’ and I’m always tempted to schedule a total PJ day on a workday like Friday, but, honestly, when that day comes, I need to change into clothes or else I feel uncomfortable while I’m trying to work.
Save your PJ days for your off days. Your productivity will thank you.
2. Create An Office Space
When I first started working from home, I worked from the kitchen, living room, bedroom, or anywhere else I wanted to. But, I found that creating a space designated for work is important. Really important.
Even if it’s just a space in a room designated to work time, it will feel like you are going into work.
If you use a laptop and move around the house a lot, you will be less focused on work and more focused on those areas and what they mean to you.
For instance, sometimes I think it’s a good idea to take my laptop outside and work on my porch. While that’s a nice idea, and I may stay focused for a few minutes, I often find myself checking out my plants, checking out my neighbors, getting into my reclining chair and watch the leaves shake or the clouds float across the sky. It’s not a place where productivity happens.
Plus, all the stuff I need to work – like my big computer screen, my planner, and my bulletin board, are in my office area, so it’s easier to stay in the flow there. If I move around my house, I have to either carry around everything or go back and forth when needed, which is just a waste of time.
3. Get Out Of The House
I love being at home, but, I find that when I get out of the house and give myself a break from my workspace and workplace during the day, I actually get more pumped to get back and work. That’s why on my breaks I will often go for a walk or sit outside with some coffee and disconnect from the house for a few minutes.
It’s similar to working in an office. Getting out of your space or place can help you take a mental and physical break from work, which gives you more motivation to work when you get back.
4. Create A Work Schedule
I’ve found this to be essential for being productive. While I would like to be free and wild and do whatever my heart tells me to do, I find I get nothing done that way. In fact, I can easily get overwhelmed because there are so many different choices, and that overwhelming feeling can lead to feeling anxious, tired, and choosing to do nothing at all.
Now, I’ve created a schedule, on paper, with the hours of 5 am to 8 pm on it. I started by plugging in exactly what I wanted to finish during these times, and as I’ve gone along and figured out what works and what doesn’t, I’ve changed my schedule to fit my flow and needs.
For example, I used to have to work on my websites from 8:30 am to 3:30 am. But, I found that I was always tired around 1 pm and wasn’t able to totally focus on the blogs that I had scheduled after that time. So, now, I work on my blogs from 6 am to 1 pm and I’m able to stay focused and productive.
5. Schedule TV, Fun Internet Time, And Phone Calls For After Work
You don’t have a boss to tell you to get back to work. You have to do that stuff yourself. Being your own boss means telling yourself when you can’t slack off.
If you don’t schedule in your free time, you will find yourself making excuses to browse the internet for a few minutes, watch YouTube, turn on the TV, and eventually waste hours doing nothing.
I schedule in my TV and fun internet time for after 3:30 – when I’m completely done my work.
I know that watching YouTube when you are working out of the home can feel like a reward. But when you are working from home, it just feels like a waste of time. You have continuous access to that stuff, and it’s not a treat or a luxury, it’s just a distraction. Honestly, it feels so much more rewarding to turn on YouTube and watch something after I’ve spent a whole day actually working.
6. Watch Someone Else Being Productive
When things get bad and you don’t feel like working, find someone being productive and watch them during your breaks.
At work, you are motivated by your co-workers. But, when you work from home it’s just you, and you may need to watch someone else getting things done in order to motivate yourself to do it.
For me, a quick video on planning usually helps motivate me to stick to MY plans and get back to work. Sometimes I just need to watch someone who works from home and is killing it online. It’s a reminder that dreams don’t work unless you do.