Working from home certainly has its perks. You’re in comfortable surroundings, and the stresses of office politics are no concern of yours. If you’re hungry, you don’t have to travel far to get some food…as long as you’re prepared. Plus, you can wear whatever you want…but does that mean you should?
Keeping up the productivity when you’re working from home isn’t as easy as you may think. Distractions can soon creep into your day-to-day routine. Before long, bad habits develop and your productivity can take a serious hit. If you want to stay on track when you’re working from home, you need to put these 7 tips into practice. You’ll be a productivity machine in no time.
1. Get up early
When you’re working from home, don’t fall into the same old trap of ‘treating’ yourself to a lie-in. Before long, these little ‘treats’ become your routine. Break the cycle and make sure you’re up early with the rest of the normal working world. In simple terms, getting up early gives you more hours to get things done. That extra hour you were going to spend in bed can be put to better use answering emails, or planning for the day ahead.
2. Dress for work
Yes, you heard that right. Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you can lay around in your pyjamas all day. You could, but it’s likely to be a hindrance to your productivity. By getting dressed for a day of work, even at home, you’re setting yourself up in the best way possible. The way you dress can affect the way you come across in emails and over the phone. The way you feel will influence how you interact and converse with people, so being dressed and ready for work will put you in the right frame of mind for the rest of the day.
3. Create your own space
Much like you’d have your own desk in an office, you need to have a workstation set up. This could be your dining table, bedroom desk, or it could be an entire spare room that you convert into a home office. If you’re lucky enough to have an entire room, personalise it to make sure you’re comfortable. Put your own personal spin on it. Whether that’s redecorating everything from walls to wood flooring, or just including a few accessories; personalisation helps you to feel comfortable and relaxed, so you can focus on your work.
4. Prepare meals in advance
In most office, you’d be limited to a certain amount of time for your lunch. Even if you’re the boss, you need to set an example. Working from home, you don’t have this problem. Whilst it might seem ideal, this is where your productivity can suffer. If you’re heading to the kitchen to cook something up every breakfast and lunchtime, you’re eating into precious working hours. By doing meal prep in advance, you ensure you’ve got enough meals ready to be eating nutritious food without negatively effecting your output. Take a few hours on the weekend to prepare your meals for the week.
5. Organise your workspace
So, you’ve got yourself a workspace set up already and you’re busy working away. As the days roll on, you’ll begin to find that space becomes less and less tidy. In fact, it can become the stuff of nightmares if you don’t do regular housekeeping to keep it organised. Every couple of days, spend 15-20 minutes organising the various papers and notes you’ve got. Nothing hinders your productivity more than having to search through piles of paper to find an all-important sticky note with a client’s phone number on.
6. Lock away distractions
You may think that working at home, on your own, will prevent unnecessary distractions from colleagues. Whilst this may be true in parts, there’s always another distraction just around the corner. Or, in this case, in your pocket. You may need your phone for some aspects of work, but it can also become a major distraction. Try putting it on do not disturb mode when you really need to concentrate, or put it away altogether for a little while. The same goes for the TV – having the odd break is okay, but don’t get caught up watching your favourite series. Allocate a certain amount of time for breaks then get straight back to it once that time is up.
7. Know when to stop
This might seem counter-intuitive, but it makes sense when you look at the big picture. You need to know when it’s time to unplug and take some time for yourself. Whilst working long hours may help to get more work done, overdoing it could prevent you from doing your best work. Tiredness can set in, mistakes can be made. Correcting these mistakes can take even more time out of your day. So, after a long day, you need to know when to switch off. Read a book, watch TV, and spend time with your family.
Tomorrow’s a new day; let’s make it a productive one!
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