60 Ways To Be Productive When You Work From Home (Psychology Today)
Posted by Laurie J Cameron
Working from home has become the new normal. I know we talk about sleeping where we work, but it has significant challenges despite the ease of stretch pants and no commute. Psychology Today offers 60 tips to increase productivity while working from home. How have your work habits changed since going virtual?
When you work from home, there will be a million different things vying for your attention—the television, Facebook, your kids, your pets, the dirty laundry, the dishes in the sink that haven’t been washed since yesterday, Facebook, the nice weather, Zoom sessions with co-workers you haven’t seen in a while.
Oh, and did I mention Facebook?
So how do you get all your work done productively, efficiently, and without distractions while also ensuring that you don’t become an overworked loner? Here are 61 of the best ways I know.
1. Have a separate working space. Even if it’s not a dedicated office set-up, it needs to be something that’s yours and used for work only.
2. Don’t have a television blaring in the background. Find a comfortable workspace where you have the peace and quiet to think and make important decisions.
3. Set fixed office hours. This could be 9 am to 5 pm or 1 am to 1 pm, doesn’t matter. What matters is that you work those fixed hours every day and don’t deviate from them ad hoc.
4. Determine your best creative times and create a work schedule around those times.
5. When working on something important, hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign outside your door. Make sure your family understands that you’re not to be disturbed when that sign is on the door. Don’t use it too often.
6. Get dressed every morning. Wear something comfortable, but not so comfortable that it makes you want to jump back into bed.
7. Stock up on office supplies and make sure you replace them regularly so that you don’t have to stop in the middle of a busy workday to buy post-its.
8. If you have noisy children in the house, buy noise-canceling headphones.
9. Make sure you have your technology and equipment set up before an emergency need comes up for it. Better yet, set up your equipment when you first start working from home and then check it on a set day each month to make sure it’s functioning correctly.
10. If you have children, paying for childcare can be a very good investment. Grandparents, by the way, come free. (If you’re in lockdown, consider creating a schedule with your partner so that one has the kids while the other works.)
11. Take the weekends off.
12. Take an hour for lunch every day. If your family is at home, spend that hour with them.
13. Get out of the house every single day, if you can. A quick walk around the block every morning can be the key to good mental health, especially if you’re locked in at home all day long.
14. Take the time to get on Zoom meetings with like-minded people and people who work in the same or similar businesses. It not only helps improve your efficiency and productivity, but can also be a source for ideas and commiseration.
15. Get organized. Have systems in place that increase your workflow and reduce the amount of time you spend checking things and following up with people.
16. Track your time. The sooner you figure out how much time you’re spending on each task, the sooner you can find ways to minimize the inefficiencies.
17. Don’t be a slave to email. Reply to all non-urgent emails once in the morning after you start work and once in the evening before you finish.
18. Don’t take on too much. You don’t want to overwork yourself to a point where it becomes counterproductive.
19. Don’t take on too little. Many people who work from home have the tendency to slack off when there’s no boss telling them what to do and giving directions on how to do it. Try not to fall into that trap too often.
20. Celebrate all your big and small victories. You don’t get promotions or pats on the back when you work from home so remember to reward yourself for a job well done.