Staying Productive When You Work from Home
More people than ever before are working from home because of the coronavirus. Even as the lockdowns end because of the pandemic, a lot of employers are going to have their workers stay home for the foreseeable future. This is particularly true of tech companies.
Major tech companies were the first to move to work-from-home models at the start of the pandemic, and they’re going to be the companies that keep employees home the longest in most cases.
Many entrepreneurs already work from home as well, and thanks to the technology that connects us to the rest of the world it’s feasible to run a successful business from anywhere.
With that being said, while you might have all the tools to work from home, how do you stay on track and keep yourself accountable?
The following are important ways to stay productive when you work from home.
Set a Schedule
If your schedule looks a little different every day when you’re working from home, it’s going to impair your ability to stay productive.
It’s important that you set a schedule and follow it throughout the day.
For example, have a set time you wake up each weekday morning. Create blocks of time where you’ll do specific tasks. Perhaps just as important as setting a start time, also set an end time for yourself.
If you regularly overwhelm yourself with work, then it’s going to cause burnout, and that will impair your productivity in the long-term.
As you’re starting to set a schedule, you’ll have to experiment and find what works for you.
A good rule of thumb is to try and get up an hour earlier than you would ordinarily, so you have a little free time in the morning before you actually have to start working. If it’s tough for you to get up an hour earlier, try going to sleep an hour earlier as well.
If it’s an option for you, you might set unconventional work hours if that’s how you work best. For example, maybe you start midday and work into the night if you own your own business.
Even if your hours aren’t conventional, you should still have a schedule and stick with it as much as you can.
Set Aside a Workspace
When you work from home it can be tempting to sit on the sofa or in bed and work when you have the opportunity. However, it’s best from a productivity standpoint to set aside space in your home dedicated exclusively to working. This would also apply to a home studio as well.
At a minimum you should have a desk and a chair, and this space is designated only for work will help you focus when you are working and also have clear work-life boundaries.
You need to make sure that you have the necessary equipment because if you are having technical issues because your laptop is old or your Wi-Fi isn’t fast enough, it will hamper productivity. You may have to spend a little money initially to create a good working space, but it will pay off.
Your workspace should be uncluttered. Even if you don’t have a dedicated room, try to make the area where you work away from the main flow of traffic or activity in your home.
Block Your Time
Somewhat along the lines of creating a schedule is blocking your time or breaking it into chunks.
Usually, the maximum amount of time you’re going to be able to spend on any one area of focus is around two hours. For some people, this window might be quite a bit shorter.
Set up your schedule around these blocks of time, and try to do your most challenging tasks at the time you feel most productive. For some, this is early morning, but not for everyone.
In between your chunks of worktime, take breaks and move your body.
Have Both a Morning and Night Routine
You should have a specific routine that you follow in the morning as you’re starting your day and in the evening.
For example, maybe your morning routine starts with a cup of coffee and checking emails. Then, at night as you’re ready to log off, your routine could be creating a to-do list for the following day.
We often don’t realize how important our routine is to our workday, and a routine may be inherently built into going to an office each day. That routine can go out the window when you work from home unless you consciously make it a priority.
Working from home either as an employee or an entrepreneur can be rewarding, but it’s not an environment that’s without challenges. Be aware and proactive so you can remain productive.