Stay Productive While Working at Home
Working from home can be a great change of pace if you’re used to being in the office but it can also be exceptionally challenging. This is especially true if you’re easily distracted or prone to procrastination.
At the office, meetings or the opportunity to socialize with coworkers might distract you, but these things also keep you in check. Structure and peer pressure can help you stay surprisingly productive, even if there are some distractions along the way. So how do you stay productive without the structure and peer pressure? Here are a few tips that help me stay productive when I work from home:
1. Create a Dedicated Workspace
Even if you don’t have the space for an office in your home, creating a dedicated workspace is the key to staying productive when you’re working from home. Designating and creating a dedicated workspace allows you to make the switch to work mode mentally and allows you to minimize procrastination by collecting all the tools you need in one place. The key here is to make the space comfortable and put everything you might need within arm’s reach. This way, you’ll look forward to using the space and you won’t need to get up in search of the right tools.
To get started, I recommend taking care of the basics with an external or secondary monitor to pair with your laptop, a comfortable office chair, and an ergonomic keyboard. These tools will make working comfortable, helping you to stay productive. In addition to this, I recommend putting together a list of other tools and office supplies that you might need so you don’t have to go in search of them when the need arises. Consider items such as pens and notepads.
2. Stay Connected
Staying connected to coworkers and clients when you’re working from home can be challenging but several tools can help. While email and your phone are staples when it comes to staying connected, a number of other tools can help you stay connected. Personally, one of my favourite tools is Slack, an instant messaging tool designed specifically for productivity. VPN, or Virtual Private Networks, make it possible to connect to the servers at your office to access files and collaborate with coworkers. Depending on the way your workplace is set up, other tools such as Google Hangouts may prove to be useful.
3. Stay Accountable
Earlier I mentioned that your co-workers can keep you in check and the reason that this is true is that they keep you accountable to your work. When you’re working from home, you won’t have the luxury of accountability unless you’re working towards hard deadlines. This is where a tool like Focusmate can come in handy. Focusmate bills itself as virtual coworking, pairing you up with other virtual workers to help you keep one another accountable to your tasks. It’s a powerful tool that will help you thwart distractions and get things done.
4. Use Music to Stay Motivated
Even if you’re not in the habit of listening to music while you work, it can really help you stay motivated and productive. However, the key to this is choosing the right music. So while you might enjoy Top 40 beats, they might not be your best bet for staying productive. In fact, anything with lyrics might be distracting so look for music without lyrics like Classical music or Nature sounds. Research actually shows that these types of music can improve mood, focus and cognitive function.
5. Stay Off of Social Media
Social media is a productivity killer both in and out of the office but it might be easier to sneak a peek here and there when you’re not under your coworkers’ or boss’ watchful eyes. To help you stay off of social networks when working from home, I recommend signing out of all your accounts. This makes it more difficult to access these sites to kill time or procrastinate.
What are your productivity tricks when working from home?