For many people, especially those tethered to their office building, the notion of working from home can seem pretty attractive. Typically, people imagine one of two scenarios. Either you’re milling around in your PJs, working with all of home’s comforts at hand, or you’re at a café, typing while leisurely sipping a latte.
They’re not wrong to be envious – the flexibility of working from home is great for many reasons. But just like in an office environment, ultimately things need to get done. If you’re working from home, here’s a few strategies to help keep you productive and on track.
1. Make your space great
There’s an interesting study that came out recently that tested the impact of desk space on productivity. Office workers were either given a bare office desk or allowed to personalise their own desk with family photos, pot plants and other decorative elements. Perhaps unsurprisingly, those with the personalised desks worked with 30 percent greater productivity than those with the bare desks.
I’m going to take this as an official endorsement of what I already suspected to be true – make your space great and good work will follow. Play music, light a candle or use some uplifting essential oil in a diffuser, decorate your desk with a living potted plant and a quote or card that makes you happy – whatever works to make your desk environment a stimulating one.
2. Love what you do
This one should be a given but it’s worth reiterating. You’re going to be so much more productive if you genuinely love what you do.
Hopefully you got into your job because you enjoy it, however, it can be natural, especially when working from home, to go through a motivation slump. If this is you, it's worth reflecting on why this is the case. Maybe you’re not taking enough breaks and giving yourself the time to be inspired by your work or mull over ideas. Or perhaps, you simply need to talk your work over with someone to be recharged. Regularly discussing ideas with others can be huge motivator and without proper support networks, working from home has the potential to be isolating.
If you find yourself in this position, research groups that you could join to connect with other remote workers or find events to meet others in your industry. Bring back your passion and you’ll find productivity will follow!
3. Set timers and mini milestones
One of the hardest parts of working from home is resisting procrastination. Sure, it’s great having all your home comforts at hand, but that also means you need to work hard to stop yourself from getting off track. (Or take the nap if you are genuinely exhausted and wake up and work your project to completion. Do you!)
A good way to keep yourself in check is to give yourself mini milestones. Break down your work into micro tasks and set time frames to get each task done. Reward yourself with a cuppa and YouTube video after you finish your that report, or take yourself out for lunch if you have everything done by midday. Having a concrete goal in mind will help you in resisting temptation and keep you focused.
4. Exercise early
For those that aren’t morning people, this advice probably isn’t going to be well received, but hear me out! There are plenty of benefits to working out in the morning, especially for those working from home.
For one, habitually working out in the morning helps to start your day on track and focused. Research suggests, for example, that exercise both enhances energy levels and improves concentration. In fact, some studies have suggested that exercise is as effective of a stimulant as coffee! Working out early means you can take full advantage of this boost for your day’s tasks. In addition, if your workout involves something where your mind can wander (such as swimming or running) it’s a great opportunity to brainstorm or plan for the day ahead.
I know that getting up early can be a struggle though, especially in the winter months, but I find it keeps me warmer all day when done in the morning, and I seem to be more productive in the afternoons so my good intentions to exercise later would go by the wayside of work. My pro tip: leave your exercise gear right by your bed. That way, when you get up in the morning you have no excuse, it'll soon become something you love to do, #promise!
5. Have a reward for a week well done
It’s a great feeling to finish the week having achieved all you set out to accomplish, so celebrate that feeling! Allow yourself a nice dinner out or enjoy a glass of wine on Friday. Not only do you deserve a reward for work well done, giving yourself one will help you stay motivated to complete your tasks for the week. One of the advantages of working from home is that you get to be your own boss – fair, firm and fun. So, treat your work like any good manager would: set targets, pull yourself back in line when you get off track, recognise accomplishments and relish the benefits that working from home can bring!
How do you work from wherever you are?
What's your best productivity tip?
Let us know in the comments below.