As someone who has been working from home for years now, I know how easy it is to become complacent and lose focus. I’ve uncovered various hacks to keep me at the top of my game while sitting on my couch.
For people leaving an office job and beginning the at-home work journey, it is especially important to find ways to remain on top of things so your work quality doesn’t suffer from such drastic life changes.
If you have found yourself on the productivity roller coaster that has derailed and can’t seem to make it back to the top of the hill, then try implementing these steps to get back on track.
1. Create A Schedule And Hold Yourself Accountable
Many of us have the habit of working by a schedule. Let’s be honest…we’ve had a schedule since we were children. School started by 8 a.m., breakfast and lunch were at the same time daily, and school let out at 3:30 p.m.
Having a schedule as you work at home can be tremendously beneficial at keeping you on track and focused. But now that you have the freedom to manage your own time without your boss watching you, make sure to hold yourself accountable.
If you expect to have a project done by Wednesday, then have it done by Wednesday. If you’re supposed to be up by 6 a.m., then make sure you get up.
2. Create A Work Station
Set a designated area in which you can get your work done. Some people choose a desk to sit at, and others prefer to stand.
Regardless of what you choose, keep in mind that this doesn’t need to be expensive. If you have a cheap foldout table at home, you can use that to put your laptop and other items on. You can also use the dinner table, coffee table, or the floor even. Make it work for you and your lifestyle then grab a chair and get to work!
3. Get Up and Get Dressed
When we work in a professional setting, we get up and get dressed for work every morning. Most jobs don’t allow you to wear your pajamas to work (or maybe I always chose the wrong jobs).
Accordingly, act the same at home. If you feel tired, sleepy, or less productive in your pajamas, then try getting dressed in daytime clothes when you wake up. This could remind your brain that, yes, you are still at home, but you are still in work-mode.
4. Get into a Routine
After you’ve worked a job for so long, you tend to get into a routine. Wake up, brush your teeth, get dressed, eat breakfast, and head to work (or some variation).
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you should abort your habits. In fact, you’ll be much more productive by maintaining them. You can still wake up at the same time, eat at the same time, and start working at the same time. It may be more motivating for you to always take breaks at the same time too.
5. Take Breaks
As you work at home, it can be easy to get so tunneled into your work that you forget to breathe. Just like working at the office, you should have some scheduled breaks somewhere in your schedule or routine.
Having scheduled breaks can help you when you’re feeling burnt out and need some motivation to push forward for another hour until your break time. Also, having a timed break can ensure that you don’t rest for too long and lose your momentum.
You wouldn’t go take a 3-hour nap in your office, nor would you take 12 breaks, so don’t do it at home either. Go get a snack, take a breather, use the restroom, or whatever else you need. But make sure you get back to work! If you’re feeling extra motivated, then find more ways to make money in your spare time.
6. Let The Household Know Your Hours
For many, work hours are close to the same as they were back in the office. If this is the case for you, make sure everyone in your household knows what hours are set aside as work time for you. By doing so, everyone is less likely to bother you during this time and you can get more done with less distraction.
For others, you may have found alternative ways to make money from home that may include late-night jobs. This may be ideal for you since you could work while others in the house are sleeping. This may be especially advantageous if you have little ones that you spend most of your time caring for during the day.
Some professions, like online teaching, could require you to work these hours. On the bright side, you’ll be done working before everyone else has even started their day!
7. Avoid Distractions
When you don’t want to do something (like working) it’s easy to let any little thing become a distraction. Stay focused on the task at hand. The faster you get your work done, the quicker you can go do whatever it is you think you need to do so badly.
Put your phone down. Check your messages later. No, you don’t need to sweep the floor right now. The dishes can wait. Wash your car later (it’s probably going to rain tomorrow anyway). Those shelves have had the same dust all week—they can wait a few more hours. Do you get where I’m going with this?
8. Isolate Yourself
One of the easiest ways to avoid distractions if you have a household full of people is to isolate yourself. Find a quiet place where you can actually hear yourself think. This could be in your bedroom with the door closed, the closet, the garage, or outside even.
Find that spot where you can get away from everyone else for a while. You might even let the kids make money to keep them busy throughout the day.
9. Strive For Greatness, but Don’t Overwork Yourself
When you’re managing your time at home, it is easy to want to work all through the night to get something done. The problem is that as you begin cutting into family time and personal time, you quickly start burning out.
That’s why it’s important to stick to your schedule. Would you work 4 extra hours with no pay in the office normally? If not, then don’t do it at home either. Make time for yourself and your family.
10. Reward Yourself
You’ve worked hard all day. You deserve a reward! When working outside of your home, typically your daily reward is clocking out and finally going home. Since you’re already at home, you must find alternative ways to relieve your brain after a long day’s work.
Reward yourself by watching your favorite show you recorded. Go for a walk. Take a trip to the store (but try not to spend all the money you just earned today). Take some time to listen to music and dance around the house. Whatever brings you joy, do it. Just don’t reward yourself with a bucket of ice cream every evening unless you’re prepared to gain a few pounds.
Working from home can open the gateway to less productiveness. Sometimes all it takes are a few small adjustments to efficiently get things done.