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5 Tips for Staying Productive While Working at Home

by Jess Snader on December 28, 2020

Working from home can be the best thing to happen to you, or the worst. Everyone who works remotely has to relearn how to be productive in a new, but yet familiar, environment. You have to figure out when you'll work, where you'll work, and how to set yourself up for success in this new lifestyle. We've laid out 5 tips that can help you stay productive and accountable while working from home.

1. Location, Location, Location

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Designate a specific area to work. This biggest challenge about working from home is keeping your work life and home life separate. When working in an office, you have your own workspace where you can sit down and be productive. When you're home, you have to create this setting yourself. This could be anything from a certain room, a desk, or a table, but it should be separate from your home life so you can associate it with work. It shouldn't be your room or the family couch. When working remotely, you can create triggers in your head that link to work such as reading the news, making a cup of coffee, or exercising. To keep yourself in the right mindset, avoid doing nonwork tasks during work and vice versa. Keep those separated and this will help you be more productive on both sides.

2. Get Up and Go At 'Em

Get up and get dressed. At home, the transition from your bed to your workplace can be slim to none, but in order to be productive, it is just as important to get up, get dressed, and do your regular morning routine. You don't need to dress to perfection, or fully formal, but changing your attire from something you would relax in to something you would work in makes all the difference. Getting dressed doesn't just mean get dressed, it also means take a shower, brush your hair, and take care of yourself. After all, you're bound to have a lot of video meetings so you might as well look the part.

3. Have a Plan

Create a schedule. Working from home puts you in charge of yourself. There's no office peer pressure or manager to make sure you're doing your work. You have to be responsible for yourself. Creating a schedule will help you segment what you need to accomplish for the day. Once you've set a schedule, make it known to your coworkers and your friends and family. This way, everyone in your life will know if and when you're free and you can set boundaries and expectations. Along with a schedule, it is equally important to create a list. Having a list of tasks you want to finish before the day's end will help keep you motivated and productive throughout the day. Spending time figuring out what you should accomplish ahead of time will make it less tempting to change your schedule.

4. Communication is Key

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Talk to everyone. Working from home doesn't have to be as lonely as it seems. In order to stay productive, it's crucial to continue interacting with your coworkers, your team, and even people you might not yet be acquainted with. Communication about meetings, feedback, assignments, and decisions will keep everyone on the same page and allow you to keep moving forward in your work. Having a plan on how often you will communicate and what the expectations are will make things easier. While email may be a good avenue for speedy communication, it may not always be the best option. Working from home will definitely call for more emails being sent, so it could get lost in the clutter. Chat apps, phone calls, or video calls are other great options for communication. These alternatives will help cut down on miscommunication and the feelings of social isolation. 

5. Take a Break

Give yourself five minutes. In today's technological world, it is easy to become engrossed by everything around you. Your phone is attached to your side and your computer is always right in front of you. Don't let the cross between your work life and home life get you so absorbed that you don't take breaks. Instead of just watching videos or scrolling on social media at your "desk", schedule five minutes of time away from your work station. Throughout the day in the office, you get up and walk around your building, you visit a friend, or you go get more coffee. Scheduling time like this at home is crucial to your productivity. Leaving your desk, even for just five minutes, can help you refocus your energy and be more productive afterwards.

In order to be the most productive, you have to figure out what's best for you. Following these tips can help point you in the right direction, but the ultimate routine for productivity is up to you. Here's more tips on how to be productive from home. You can also visit our blog post about how to stay productive during virtual meetings.