Working from home is great. It provides flexibility and freedom to work on your own terms. However, it can also be challenging and requires a lot of motivation, drive and some serious productivity to get things done. If you already work from home or are thinking of starting a new home-based business, here are 7 tips to improve your productivity when working from home.
1. Create a routine
Even though working from home means you can work the hours you want, it’s important to allocate clear working hours to ensure you get stuff done. This way you’re more productive during your set work hours and you also enjoy the non-working hours, too.
Getting up at the same time every day is also important. When you work from home, it’s easy to fall into a habit of rolling out of bed whenever you want or staying up later than you should. This causes so much confusion on your brain and body clock and wreaks havoc on your productivity levels.
Creating a regular routine that you can stick to is key when working from home.
2. Get dressed
Waking up and heading straight to your computer while still in your PJ’s may feel like you’re being super productive at first, but it often leads to a mid-morning slump of tiredness.
Studies have shown that getting dressed has a psychological effect on how you work during the day and participants felt more authoritative, trustworthy, and competent when wearing formal business attire at home.
Even if you don’t fancy donning a suit to sit at your kitchen table, simply getting out of your PJ’s will affect how well you work. It’s a physical and visual distinction that helps home-workers set boundaries. Otherwise, you could feel like work never ends.
3. Create a designated workspace
As comfy and inviting as your sofa may seem, it’s important to have a designated workspace where you can focus on tasks. Whether it’s a fully equipped home office or the corner of your dining table, having somewhere that signifies ‘work’ will help your brain distinguish what’s work time and what’s chill time.
Make sure you keep this space organised and clean as a cluttered desk means a cluttered mind and results poorly on productivity.
4. Avoid distractions
When you work from home it can be easy to get distracted, especially if you’re not the only one home. As well as having a designated workspace, try and eliminate the things that take up time during your day and prevent you from getting things done. These could include:
- Turning off social media notifications
- Checking email at a certain time
- Allocating your food shopping delivery for out-of-work hours
- Getting chores done during out-of-work hours
- Preparing your meals the night before
Additionally, planning your day the night before is the best way to wake up with clear intentions for the day.
5. Get out and about
Being at home all day, all week can sometimes stunt your creativity and productivity. If all you need is your laptop and WIFI to work, it’s a good idea to mix things up and try new workplaces such as co-working spaces, coffee shops, libraries etc. Being around other people can help simulate the energy of a working environment and improve productivity levels.
6. Don’t be a pushover
Working from home means you have the flexibility and freedom to make your own decisions and work on your timescale. It’s particularly handy on days when something happens and you’re available to save the day, e.g. if one of your kids is sick and needs a day off school.
However, working from home can also mean that people end up asking you to do things for them just because you’re not working from a regular office. Don’t become the person that everyone relies upon and set boundaries with people by helping where you can but also saying no when you really should be working.
7. Be real with yourself
The key to successfully working from home is to understand yourself, analyse your routine and establish when and how you’re most productive. Some people are super-productive first thing in the morning, some people need a while to wake up and get their brain in gear.
There’s no magic method that works for everyone. Knowing the best time of day to work will ensure that you’re not only productive but that you can do more quality work.
- When do I have the most energy?
- When do I feel motivated and driven during the day?
- What lifestyle habits help or hinder me?
You should also consider this when you plan meetings or calls. If you know the best time to get stuff done is first thing in the morning, plan everything else after that so you’ve already completed the essential tasks of the day.
Working from home is all about being realistic with yourself and trying different ways of working. Once you’ve found what works for you, you can enjoy all of the benefits that working from home has to offer.
Do you have a virtual office for your home business? Check out the benefits of having one here.