Remote work is much more common these days as technology makes working from home easier and businesses are more comfortable offering hybrid working solutions. These days, more of us are working either fully remotely or remotely for a few days of the week, with a hybrid work schedule now a popular option.
While working from home has various advantages such as avoiding commuting and increased flexibility, it also comes with some unique challenges. One of the most significant challenges for those who work remotely is maintaining productivity while working in an environment that may not always be conducive to work. Staying focused and motivated can be difficult, especially if there are lots of distractions and blurred lines between work and personal life.
The good news is that there are many strategies that remote workers can use to help them stay more productive and focused when working from home, even amid distractions. In this post, we’ll look at some simple strategies that you can use for a more productive work from home day. They’re designed to help you eliminate distractions, get a good routine going, prioritize tasks, and take care of yourself to maximize your productivity.
Create a Designated Workspace
One of the most helpful things that you can do if you are going to be working from home regularly is to create a designated workspace for yourself. This could be a room in your home that does not currently have another use, like a spare bedroom, or a corner of a room that will generally be quiet throughout the day such as your bedroom or the living room.
While it can be tempting to work from the couch or even your bed when you’re working remotely, these environments are not conducive to work and might hinder your productivity. Some tips for setting up a functional workspace include:
- Choose a good location: Choose a location in your home that will serve as your workspace. It could be anything from a corner of the living room to a spare bedroom, or even a large enough closet that you can convert into a mini office.
- Get comfortable: Once you’ve chosen a good location, be sure to have comfortable office furniture that is ergonomic and supportive. Being uncomfortable can make it harder to focus on your work.
- Personalize your space: You can use things that inspire you to make your workspace your own. For example, you might like to add some ornaments, photos of loved ones, or even inspirational artwork or quotes.
Stick to a Routine
The lack of structure that comes with it can often be one of the biggest challenges of working from home. Without co-workers or a boss there to hold you accountable, it can be easier than you might think to lose focus and fall into bad habits. Because of this, it’s important to create a routine that works for you and stick to it. Some tips to keep in mind when it comes to creating a routine include:
- Set a schedule: Start by putting together a schedule for your workday. Include specific times for starting and finishing work along with scheduled breaks.
- Establish a morning routine: It’s a good idea to create a morning routine that will help you get into the right mindset for work. This might include meditation, exercise, or simply taking a few minutes to go over your to-do list before starting.
Deal With Distractions
The abundance of distractions that can pull your focus away from work is often one of the biggest challenges of working from home. When your home is also your office, there are plenty of things that can distract you from working such as household chores, family members, or social media. Even if you’ve set up a home office that’s designed for the purpose of work, distractions can still find their way into your space. Thankfully there are several things you can do to keep distractions to a minimum.
- Set boundaries: Make sure that your family or housemates know that you are working and should not be interrupted unless it’s an emergency.
- Turn off notifications: Disable notifications on your phone, computer, and other devices to reduce these kinds of distractions.
- Use noise-canceling headphones: If noise is distracting for you, you might find it helpful to invest in a good pair of noise-canceling headphones or earplugs that will help you focus on work. For meetings and conference calls, a good headset with microphone is a great idea, allowing you to focus on what’s being said in the meeting and ignore household noise.
- Close unnecessary tabs: Reduce the temptation to multi-task by closing any unnecessary tabs or windows on your computer when working.
- Take breaks: Taking regular breaks will give you time to refocus and recharge, which can actually help to reduce the risk of you becoming distracted. Even if it’s just a short break to walk around or grab a drink of water, this can help you avoid becoming burned out.
When you are working from home, it’s often easy to become overwhelmed by the number of tasks that you need to get through. That’s why it’s crucial to prioritize your tasks to make sure that you are focusing on the most important ones. Some tips to keep in mind when it comes to prioritizing tasks include:
- Make a to-do list: Start by making a to-do list for your day or week. Doing this can help you stay organized and focused, and make it easier for you to stay on track.
- Identify urgent tasks: Identify any tasks that are urgent and need to be completed first, or straight away and make sure that these are noted.
- Determine importance: Once you’ve identified urgent tasks, go through the remaining tasks to determine the importance of each one. Once you’ve done this, you can then prioritize your tasks in order of importance.
- Break tasks down: Breaking larger tasks down into smaller steps can help you make them more manageable.
- Focus on one task at a time: Instead of multitasking, you will find it easier to focus on completing one task at a time. This will help you avoid becoming overwhelmed and make it easier to stay focused.
Use Technology to Your Advantage
Technology can be a very powerful tool when it comes to increasing your productivity when working from home. Some of the main ways you can use technology to your advantage include:
- Automate tasks: Automation tools like IFTTT or Zapier can be very useful for automating repetitive tasks and freeing up your time to focus on the more important ones
- Use productivity apps: Productivity tools and apps like Asana or Trello can be an ideal way to manage your tasks and stay organized throughout the working day.
- Use time-tracking software: RescueTime, Toggl, or similar software programs can be ideal for helping you track where you are spending your time and identify areas for improvement.
Stay Connected With Your Co-Workers
Working from home can be quite an isolating experience, especially if you are used to working in a traditional office setting. Because of this, staying connected with your co-workers is essential for maintaining a sense of collaboration and teamwork. The good news is that there are several things that you can do to stay connected with your co-workers when working from home, including:
- Schedule regular check-ins: Regularly checking in with your colleagues will help you maintain a sense of connection along with making it easier for you all to stay up to date on projects.
- Use video conferencing: Video conferencing tools can be an ideal way to hold virtual meetings and brainstorming sessions, even if nobody is in the office.
- Use chat tools: Chat tools like Microsoft Teams or Slack can be easier than email for communicating with colleagues, allowing you to stay connected throughout the day. You can easily create a group for your team or send out messages that you need everybody in the business to see.
- Participate in virtual events: Attend or even organize virtual social gatherings or team-building events as a fun way to stay connected as a team.
Take Care of Yourself
Finally, it’s important to prioritize self-care when you are working from home. This can easily be neglected if you don’t have an office or workplace to go to. However, taking good care of yourself will help you avoid burnout and be more productive. Some tips to keep in mind when it comes to taking care of yourself when working from home include:
- Exercise: Regular exercise is a great way to increase your energy levels and reduce stress, so it’s worth incorporating it into your routine.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will help you stay focused and alert.
- Get enough sleep: Make sure that you get around 7-9 hours of sleep a night to avoid burnout and maintain productivity.
With working from home now more popular than ever, having solid strategies in place will help you stay focused and productive when working remotely.