7 Ways to Increase Productivity Working From Home
7 Ways to Increase Productivity Working From Home include actionable tips that you can implement daily, in order to get everything done!
For the past (long) while, my careers have involved a ton of movement throughout the day: group exercise instructor, physical therapy aide, personal trainer, yoga teacher. Office work was rare, unless I was meeting with a new client or responding to e-mails.
As a social media strategist, I work from home about half of the week. Tasks I need to complete are done almost exclusively on a desktop or phone, which means there are about 396 things that can (and do) distract me. You can only imagine added distractions around the house: laundry, cleaning, cooking, and the comfy couch...
The Problem With Working From Home
If you work from home, maybe you can relate. It's incredibly easy to get sidetracked by just about everything when work is done from home, whether it's house tasks or...the internet. And social media.
When I first launched this business, my work-from-home days lacked structure. It looked a bit like this:
- Wake up early (but snooze and lounge in bed for a while)
- Make a nice breakfast and hot coffee (while perusing my personal social media handles)
- Wonder why I started office work so late in the morning
- Get sidetracked (constantly) by things around the house or browsing the web
Yikes! Big productivity no-nos all around. Can you relate to my rookie scenario? Luckily, with some discipline and structure, my days now look different. A LOT different.
7 Ways to Increase Productivity Working From Home
Be Deliberate About the Time You Wake Up
I almost wrote, "productivity involves waking up early", but I don't think that's always the case. Some of us feel more productive if we wake up at 5 AM, others would rather get up closer to 9 or 10. This article from A Life of Productivity makes a point that people who wake up earlier are productive because they're deliberate about their wake-up time, not because of the actual time they get out of bed. Early risers have an actionable plan for when they get up and stick to it.
So, if you think waking up early will help you be more productive, go for it! If you prefer to start working from home a little later in the day, so be it. But whichever you decide to choose, BE DELIBERATE. Set an alarm (and actually get up when it goes off) and stick to your morning plan.
Set a Schedule
When I first started working from home part-time (see above's rookie "schedule"), there was no structure. I snoozed my alarm, laid in bed, took my time with breakfast and coffee, and then all of a sudden it was close to noon! How...
Setting a schedule of when to start work, when to break for lunch, which tasks to complete when, will help working from home feel a little more like an "in the office" day. How regimented the schedule is will be up to you, but having a foundation will be key for boosting your productivity working from home.
Use a Timer
One of my friends suggested using the Pomodoro method timer to stay on-task, and I highly recommend trying it out! Each Pomodoro is a 25-minute cycle followed by a 5-minute break. After four cycles, a 15-minute break is scheduled.
Sounds too regimented? I thought so too, but knowing that you have 25 minutes to really hunker down and get stuff done keeps me focused and motivated; after that I'll have five minutes to stretch, walk around, do some burpees...
Plan for Breaks
There's something to be said about getting in the zone, but being in the zone for four hours straight without getting up to move or keep the blood flowing can be detrimental to our health in the long run. Planning for breaks can help us clear our heads, allow us to re-focus, and give us some time away from looking at the computer screen (prolonged screen time can have a negative effect on our eyes and health).
Put Your Phone on Do Not Disturb
Simple, yet oh-so-effective. Nothing is as distracting as my iPhone when I'm working from home! Text messages, e-mails, Instagram, Facebook...the list goes on. Turning on the Do Not Disturb feature on the iPhone is a great way to get rid of all of those outside distractions and boost productivity. Phone call notifications can be left on, which is great in case someone needs to reach you!
This tip goes along with why getting in the zone can have negative effects on our health. How often have you focused on work and, hours later, remember that you haven't gotten up AT ALL?
Sitting for prolonged periods of time is incredibly detrimental to our bodies, and one way to combat the effects is to move continuously. Prioritize exercise THROUGHOUT the day, not just during your structured workout time. This all goes back to the trusty timer - use those 5-minute breaks to physically move and be active!
Besides the long-term health benefits of prioritizing exercise, it really does feel good to move. Increased blood flow, mental clarity, and release of endorphins - all great reasons to move more!
Label Your Priorities
Take a glance at your to-do list. Which of those items are non-negotiable, and have to be done today? Focus on those as your priorities, and the rest can be taken care of later. I like to label the items on my list in the following way:
- Important, Urgent (IU)
- Important, Non-urgent (INU)
- Non-important, Urgent (NIU)
- Non-important, Non-urgent (NINU)
After adding labels, I know I need to focus on all of my IU's first. That helps me stress less and increase productivity.
Increase Your Productivity Working From Home
Working from home can be a struggle. With various distractions around the house or on the web, it can be hard to focus and prioritize our work tasks, which lowers productivity. Practicing effective tips can be a start to boosting our productivity working from home: setting timers, making a schedule, and being deliberate about our morning routines are all things that we can implement in order to accomplish more each day!