How to Work Productively From Home
Working from home is the dream; not having to set your alarm for the crack of dawn so you can make the commute across the city, no traffic, no train strikes, you could wear your pyjamas to the office, or bring the office to your bed! However, working from home is not as easy as it sounds; with no structures or routines how can you make sure you are productive and meet deadlines? How can you keep yourself motivated to get through the workload or cover all the study you need to do? Here are some tips to help you stay focused and make the most productive use of your time when working from home…
Start the day with a to-do list that is clear, to the point and realistic in terms of what you can get done in one day. It’s also good to prioritise the tasks on your list, to make sure you focus on getting the most important things done first. As you go through the day keep coming back to that list, review what else may need to be added, or whats not going to get done.
Take regular breaks.
There is a reason that offices and workplaces have break times, after a certain amount of time, if we don’t take a break from a task we become unfocused and less productive. Try to get up from your desk every two hours, even if it’s just to go to the kitchen to make a coffee; stretching your legs and clearing your head will help you refocus on the task at hand.
Cut yourself off from distractions.
Some people are great multitaskers, but regardless how good you are at multitasking, the more things you are focused on at one time, the less productive you’ll be at completing each task. Put your phone on silent and turn it face down so you can’t be distracted by notifications. Don’t work in front of the TV and if your work space is near a TV, make sure it’s switched off. If you are the kind of person who hates working in dead silence, make sure you select sound that is stimulating rather than distracting; choose music without lyrics so that your mind isn’t focusing on comprehending the song instead the task at hand.
Know when to stop.
Give yourself deadlines and know when it’s time to walk away from your work; when working from home there are no office hours so it’s easy to convince yourself that you can give another hour to a project you’re working on. When your tired you can’t focus properly, give yourself a cut-off time that you finish your work everyday.
Allow yourself to escape.
The benefit to working at home is that when you feel yourself pulling your hair out and getting no further with a task, then you can get up and walk away from it for a few hours. Leave the house, take in something new, take your work with you; sometimes all you need is a change of scenery and there is nothing tying you to your desk.
Let people know you’re working.
If you live with other people, be it flatmates, friends or family, working from home is not an excuse to spend all day everyday socialising; if you have goals that need to be met or deadlines then spending time chatting is not going to get you any closer. Let people know that you’re on a schedule, and treat your work as you would if you were working away from home.
What are your biggest distractions when working at home? How do you stay motivated and productive? Let me know in the comments below.