How to Work from Home and Stay Productive
Many of us are working from home indefinitely thanks to COVID-19. But although this is great for personal safety, it can have serious side effects for productivity.
In fact, many people struggle to work from home and stay productive since they’re not used to their work and home lives being so blended. Others have trouble staying focused with extra distractions or disengaging from work when their office hours are up.
Let’s break down the strategies you should use to work from home and stay productive.
Invest in Excellent Web Hosting for Your Company Site or Business
If you’ll need to stay at home, you won’t want to head back to the office to check on your company’s servers that keep your business’s website up and running. In that case, check out some of the best web hosting options online – these services will allow you to effectively rent server space and control everything from a distance.
These companies are affordable and many of them come with excellent bonuses or incentives for new folks just signing up. We recommend managed hosting options to see about renting server overseers who can take care of updates, security and other maintenance tasks while you focus on what makes your business or blog grow.
Use Great Software for Collaboration and Meetings
The right tools can make your days where you work from home highly productive and enjoyable. You would be surprised as to how many high-level CEOs use popular productivity apps, some of which are completely free.
Of course, tools that are unintuitive or otherwise frustrating to use can also make remote work an irritating and unenjoyable prospect. That’s why you should only use excellent software for any video collaborations and meetings you need to attend or schedule.
What if you need to host a conference or webinar, or lead a team collaboration meeting? In that case, LiveWebinar is a great choice. It comes with tons of top-tier features, including the ability to share your desktop in real-time with coworkers, create and present interactive forms and slides, and easy storage since you can use a personal cloud database for all your work files and projects.
Be sure to prioritize top-tier tools no matter what you need to use. Invest in a quality webcam and headphones so you can see and hear your coworkers easily and you don’t all have to talk over one another. A good mechanical keyboard may also be a wise investment, at least if you spend most of your time typing away on keys.
Don’t forget a comfortable chair, too – your seat at the office may have been great, but you should get yourself a new comfortable working chair if you’ll be punching up reports from home for the foreseeable future.
Keep Your Work and Recreational Space Separate
New freelancers, or regular professionals who are now working from home due to COVID-19, often make this rookie mistake: they work in the same place where they would watch TV or surf the Internet. This is a problem.
Essentially, your brain is wired to consider certain places as “work” locations and “rest” locations. If you confuse your brain about this, it’ll be a lot harder for you to focus and get to work since your brain will expect that it’s time to relax.
This is partially why it’s never recommended that you do homework in bed – it’s really tough to stop from going to sleep as you study!
By the same token, you should designate a specific workspace for any days where you work from home. This can be your computer desk, the kitchen table where you bring your laptop, or even a small home office. Whatever the case, just make sure you aren’t spending your free time in the same place as you plan to do your work.
Make a Schedule – Then Stick to It!
It’s all too easy to let the day slip by when you stay home to do your work. To avoid accidentally falling behind on your workload, make a schedule and stick to it as best as possible.
For the best results, come up with a schedule the night before and write it down on a notepad. Then place the notepad next to your designated workspace (as described above). This way, you’ll immediately have a checklist to work down and a schedule to stick to without having to motivate yourself to create it come morning.
Making a schedule is a great way to mimic the natural flow of a day at the office without actually being there!
Get Dressed, Take a Shower, and Adhere to a Regular Morning Routine
Doing work in your pajamas is a recipe for laziness and missed deadlines. Instead, if you want to work from home and stay productive, you need to get dressed in office attire, take a shower, and otherwise stick with a regular morning routine. That also means making yourself a good breakfast.
We’d especially emphasize getting dressed in work clothes. Again, this all goes back to what your brain expects and how it’ll behave on a deeper, subconscious level. If your brain recognizes that you’re in pajamas, it’ll be a lot harder for you to collect your thoughts and focus on work when the rest of your body seems to be in lazy mode.
Similarly, if you get dressed in a suit, you’ll automatically stand up straighter, sit up taller, and get to your work with the punctuality and professionalism that your company hired you for in the first place. Not to mention that this will avoid any embarrassing video calls – no one wants to see their coworker in their pajamas by accident during a work call!
Don’t Forget to Take Regular Breaks
Even though you’re working from home and don’t have to deal with the regular stresses and irritations of work, you still need to give yourself regular breaks away from your desk or workspace. Your brain needs time away from the “working zone”, wherever that happens to be in your home, and it’s only in other places where it can fully regenerate and gather itself before the next big productivity push.
We’d highly recommend taking regular walks and going outside. There’s no better way to revitalize yourself and get some fresh air in your lungs than taking a stroll every couple of hours at a bare minimum. If you do most of your work on the computer (which is most of us these days, to be honest), you should also periodically look away from the screen to prevent eye strain.
All in all, the nature of your break doesn’t matter so much as you taking it in the first place. Be sure to get up, stretch your legs, and move away from your work desk every couple of hours just like you would in a regular office environment.
Use Music to Concentrate and Get in the Zone
Our homes are often filled with different distractions compared to those we might be used to filtering out at the workplace. Instead of the telephone going off and receptionists coming by with the mail, your home might be filled with the sounds of:
- neighbors playing with their pets outdoors
- kids running around outside
- a contractor rattling around in the upstairs apartment
- traffic from the nearby window
All of these distractions can be annoying and progress impeding. It’s a good idea to come up with a playlist of relaxing and concentration boosting tracks so you can get into the zone and focus on work for a couple of hours. This state of flow is great not only for your productivity but also for your enjoyment of your job.
You can use music to brainstorm remote work goals or projects, finish a task already begun, or start the day on time instead of letting yourself slowly ramp up to a state of top productivity.
Keep a List and Track Your Tasks/Progress
It can be tough to know where you are with your daily progress when your boss isn’t coming by for a regular status check. But you can be your own boss by keeping a list of your daily tasks or objectives and keeping it close at hand. If you struggle to stay on track, sign up for online “bootcamps” with an accountability buddy to stay on track.
Every time you complete a task or make progress on a major project, check something off the list. This is great not only to make sure you don’t backtrack or forget something, but also for your personal satisfaction. Many of us are motivated by completing the day's work and seeing numbers go up or boxes get checked. Indulge in that instinct and make your own progress reports to complete.
When the Day is Over, Log Out!
This last tip is important for your own sanity and for the next day’s productivity. When it’s time to clock out, clock out! Don’t fall into the same trap as so many other home contractors and freelancers and continue working even when your office hours are through.
You absolutely must separate your working time from your relaxation time since you’ll be doing both from the same place. If you don’t, it could have severe consequences for your next day.
Many professionals who work from home find that they get burned out from their work a lot more easily than normal. But that’s likely because their brain never fully “leaves” working mode and doesn’t feel fully relaxed. Any recreational time won’t be as rich or fulfilling.
Turn the cell phone off, log out of your work accounts, and ignore any email pings or message requests. It can all wait until the next day, when you can be productive and follow all of the above tips again!
The transition from a regular workspace to working from home is difficult and often tiring for many. It can be quite a hurdle to overcome, and tons of working professionals experience difficulties in maintaining the same productivity level they had before they took their work from the office to their home desk.
But it is possible to work from home and stay productive. Just follow all of the above tips and you’ll likely see serious improvements in no time.
Happily combines a love of writing and new technology as a copywriter, and enjoys the puzzle of putting together a good article. In her spare time she likes to catch up on the latest, greatest books, bake chocolate chip cookies and ponder her next travel destination.More posts