7 Tips to Help You Stay Productive When Working from Home

Work from home with notebook, coffee and laptop
Work from home with notebook, coffee and laptop
Photo by Bongkarn Thanyakij

With the growing COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have been tasked to work from home. Besides making it easier to practice social distancing, it can be a great time and money-saver as we skip the commute and possibly spend less on meals and entertainment. On the other hand, I’ve heard an understandable amount of concern from friends and co-workers about distractions at home.

Fear not! You can make the best of working from home with the following tips.

1. Establish a daily schedule with clear working hours

Set an alarm and get ready for the day on a regular schedule as if you were heading to office. Set aside time for meals and know when to end the day. This helps you get into the right mindset for each part of the day, instead of procrastinating and allowing work to expand and fill more time than it normally would.

2. Designate and declutter your work area

Be it a desk or entire room, designate a workspace to help you get into the mindset of getting things done. Put away unrelated items. Even if a minimalist desk is not your cup of tea, a clearly defined and organised workspace reduces the potential to feel distracted and facilitates focus.

3. Create a to-do list with clear deadlines

Be it with classic pen and paper or digital, list your tasks and specify deadlines. Strike them out as you go along for that sweet dose of positive reinforcement. Give yourself reasons to feel like you’ve been on a roll and you’ll be more motivated to get things done.

4. Set boundaries with people at home

Working from home with others present can be challenging. This is especially if they are not familiar with working from home and assume you can do whatever you want. Set boundaries with people. Let them know to give you space and keep the volume down as you’re working and may even be on conference calls. They may even be incentivised, as allowing you to get work done means you’ll be available to spend time with them sooner.

5. Avoid non-work related distractions

Close extra browser tabs and avoid scrolling through social media while on a task. Saving Facebook, Instagram and Tiktok for breaks or when you’re done with the day helps manage procrastination and improve productivity.

6. Communicate actively with co-workers

If you’re working with a team, stay connected and be ready for discussions be it with Skype, Teams or other platforms. Consider scheduling calls on certain days of the week for progress updates. Knowing that others are getting things done and expecting your input can help enhance accountability and productivity.

7. Incentivise yourself with a reward at the end of the day

Be it a sumptuous dinner, an episode of your favourite series or a session of your favourite game, reward yourself. Create a sense of anticipation by giving yourself something to look forward to. When you’re working from home, getting things done means you’ll get to enjoy yourself soon after!

What are your favourite tips for working from home?

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