A growing number of us are granted the comfort of working from home by the grace of the almighty Internet. However, as nice as it may seem to skip that rush hour traffic and work in our pajamas, it can be tough to maintain productive work days at home. I’m still honing my at-home work skills but have definitely learned a few techniques that help me stay efficient! Below are my top 7 productivity tips.
1. Get up in time for breakfast.
I know, I know. This is something everyone preaches for productivity in any area but there is a reason for that! By eating breakfast, you’ll get your metabolism rolling for the day and even create a bit of energy for the work at hand. We take for granted the energy gained by working with other people in an office. Even short conversations or noticing people walking by our desks causes a spark in brain activity. When we work alone at home, we don’t have that interaction and miss out on the added energy. Eating breakfast helps to fill that gap.
2. Shower & dress like you’ll be in an actual office.
The second most helpful thing I’ve discovered to boost my productivity is getting out of my sweats in the morning. Get up, shower and put on something presentable. You don’t need to wear a suit and tie but make sure it’s something that will pull you out of sleep mode. There’s just something about wearing sweats that puts me in a “snow day” mentality. When I get out of my pjs and ready for the day, my attitude adjusts accordingly. Dress to work! It’s psychological.
3. Coffee – always.
For the health conscious people out there, you may already know that coffee has been proven to have numerous health benefits, including lowering your chances for some types of cancer. It often gets a bad rap but I am of the mindset that one or two cups of coffee per day is not detrimental to our health regardless of how you feel about it. Everything in moderation! For me, coffee is a great jumpstart to my morning routine. If you can’t be bothered to brew a pot, invest in a quick and easy single-serve machine. Do whatever helps you start each day with a bang. If you’re not a coffee fan, find something else that gets you going, like caffeinated tea, and add that to your routine.
4. Create a specific area just for work.
This is similar to the pjs psychology. Home is to be our refuge and place away from work. By creating a space that is solely designated for work, you can mentally leave your home area and enter a workspace. It’s also important to be able to relax when you’re not working at the end of your day. Find a way to separate your spaces.
5. Good lighting!
Legit lighting is something I seriously can’t work without. Low light makes me tired and unable to focus on anything. Even with coffee and breakfast, I cannot move forward without proper lighting! Have you ever tried working in a dark coffeehouse? It worked sometimes in college when I was on a time-crunch for a paper due, but without that deadline adrenaline, I can’t hack it. One cool thing about working from home is that you have control over the type of lighting at your desk. Company offices often have fluorescent lights, which give me headaches. At home, I have warmer lighting set exactly where I need it.
6. Work hard; play hard.
The “work hard; play hard” philosophy is something that was drilled into my head during my youth. It covers several different scenarios. First, when you’re at work, be at work. “Be” there and knock it out. At home, it’s easy to be distracted. Do whatever you need to pretend you’re not home. Something I’m working on is to have standard hours of work. If you don’t set up specific hours, it’s tempting to blend home and work time. It’s easier to separate your worlds if you don’t jump back and forth between work and play. Second, if you’re having a rough time focusing or staying on task, take a break. Step away from the computer for a bit and then come back. It may also help to get up every 45 to 60 minutes and move your body. Sitting immobile at a computer slowly drains energy levels. By taking periodic breaks, we can work harder and more consistently. Third, find different ways to enjoy your time outside of work. Enjoying life helps renew our energy for work. Work hard; play hard!
7. Assess what works best for YOU.
Finally, every person is different! Assess your days working at home to see which things (lighting, breaks, routines, etc) help you become more productive and visa versa. If you have a great day, write down whatever you did. If you were distracted, do the same. Figure out what works best for YOU. It takes time to adjust to working from home. Allow yourself the time you need to figure out the right routine for you.
I hope these tips help you maximize your productivity when working from home. Like I said, everyone is different. If you have additional tips please share them in the comments below!