Working from home has a lot of perks but it can often be challenging to stay on task with so many distractions. These simple changes can help you learn how to be more productive while working from home.
How to Be More Productive
Working from home offers you some amazing flexibility but it does put the responsibility to be productive firmly on your shoulders. Staying on task can be a challenge when you have kids coming and going, household chores staring you in the face, and the flexibility to set work aside when you’d like to. These tips will help you be more productive while working from home.
Create a dedicated home office
One of the most important things you can do when working from home is to create a space where you are free to work without distractions. Ideally, this is a dedicated home office. If you do not have the space for a dedicated office, create a workspace that allows you to focus. I know remote workers who have had great luck turning their master bedroom closets or guest rooms into a home office space, while still retaining their original use when it is needed.
Take the time to set up your space in a way that allows you to work effectively. Create an organizational system that gives every needed thing a home and keeps frequently used items easily accessible. Don’t underestimate the benefits of personalizing your space with photos, decor, and anything else that you need to feel more comfortable while you work.
Pay special attention to your desk and office chair set up. Having an ergonomically designed workspace makes it easier to stay on task and can prevent back and neck pain in the future.
Dress for Success
This phrase may make you roll your eyes a bit but there’s truth in it. Dress in a way that makes you feel confident and professional. Put shoes on. Do your makeup and/or style your hair. Taking the time to get ready for your workday and keeping your appearance in line with the way you would get ready for a day in a physical office can help set the tone for your work day and keep you in the right mindset to be productive.
Do the most important tasks first
It’s tempting to work on the most urgent task first. Those urgent, but mostly not impactful tasks on our to-do list can suck up such a huge amount of time. In an office setting it is hard to get away from those things when a co-worker is standing in front of you with a new request. As a remote worker, you are often better able to manage your time. I’d highly recommend reading the book Essentialism. This book is the best I have read about prioritizing tasks and finding the things that have the biggest impact on our productivity.
I’m a seasoned procrastinator so I know how tempting it can be to put off larger, more important tasks that are weighing on you. I get the appeal. Making a conscious effort to do those important tasks first not only assures that you get the truly important things done but also has a way of bumping some of those non-essential items off your to-do list.
Identify your Time-Sucks
Our days are often filled with time-sucks, those things that take our time and attention away from the truly important things on our schedule. Often these things either don’t need to be done by us or don’t need to be done at all, but they have a way of pulling us in and distracting us. Tony Robbins has a great list of the 10 biggest time-sucks here. Identify the time sucks in your life and either automate them, delegate them, or eliminate them.
Turn off Email Notifications
How many notifications do you have popping up on your phone and computer during the day? If you are like most people, it’s a lot. Every time your phone or computer pops up an alert you feel drawn to that. It’s a distraction. Often it fully distracts us and sets us on a different task entirely.
Even being sidetracked for a few minutes at a time can really add up to a huge amount of wasted time throughout the day. In the book, The 4-Hour Work Week, Timothy Ferriss recommends scheduling time to check email once a day. Rather than jumping to grab your phone or swipe over to the your email on your computer every time an alert pops up, schedule time to respond to all emails for the day.
I know I’m guilty of checking my email first thing in the morning (something Timothy Ferriss highly discourages) and before I know it I’m sidetracked responding to emails or finishing tasks that someone has asked for. This puts other people in charge of the way we spend our time. Leave email for a scheduled time and you’ll be far more effective for the rest of the day.
I am constantly reevaluating how I spent my time working from home. Small changes can make a big difference in your productivity. Hopefully these productivity tips for remote workers will help you work more effectively during the day.