Everyone dreams of working from home. The commute to work is the best and lounging around in sweats while working sounds amazing, but it has its pitfalls. Working and living in the same space can make it difficult to stay productive and keep your sanity. Here are a few strategies you can implement to help avoid the pitfalls of working from home
Have A Morning Routine
There’s no better way to confuse your mind and body than by starting the day without a plan. Yes, that does mean that working in your PJ’s all day and lazing about in bed while answering emails is a BIG no! Try to approach each day as if you’re headed to the office. Hop out of bed, drink your morning coffee or go for a jog. Anything that gets your day started and that works for you.
It’s not always easy when you work from home, but try your best to change into clothes that are not your PJ’s. I know it’s tough, but changing into clothes that you would wear when you’re around actual people is a great way to make you feel a bit more productive.
Create A Schedule
Whether you enjoy using apps like Trello or a daily planner, creating a schedule is a great way to stay focused and productive. I’ve been guilty of grabbing my laptop or cellphone first thing in the morning and working on tasks, but it’s a slippery slope to nowhere when you work from home.
Create a list of all the tasks that you need to complete (write a blog post, reply to emails) and carve out time for each task with a well-structured schedule. You’ll be able to see exactly where your time is going. Ticking off each task as you complete it will also help you feel more productive and will keep you on track.
Now that you’ve created a task list and set up a schedule, it’s time to start crossing them off your list. Multi-tasking might sound like a great way to get lots done, but it can negatively impact your productivity. Besides, who wants to schedule calls while you’re trying to relax on your morning walk?
This method has helped save me so much time and allowed me to stay focused. So what is time blocking?
You’ll need to break large tasks into smaller pieces and give yourself a deadline. Depending on how big the task is, I’ll usually set a timer for 25 – 40 minutes. During this time, make sure to only focus on the task in front of you without any distractions. This means avoiding your phone or checking emails on your computer. Once time’s up, take a short break and start the process again. Do this until you’ve completed each part of the task. Sometimes being a freelancer means you’re trying to do everything at once, this allows you to complete tasks without feeling like you’re getting nowhere.
This is another great way to stay productive, especially if you enjoy repetition. With this method, you’re batching similar tasks together. For example, you could spend the entire day writing blog posts for the week and another day scheduling social media posts.
Create A Dedicated Work Space
Spending the day enjoying the comfort of your sofa may seem like a great idea, but create a space that signals to your brain that it’s time to start working. This could be at your favourite coffee shop or a comfortable space at the kitchen counter, any space in your home that’s not for relaxing. It’s important to differentiate between work and home and create clear boundaries.
Stick To Your Working Hours
When you work from home, it’s easy to get sucked into working “after hours”. If this isn’t a priority, you’ll be editing blog posts and photos well into the night. Create working hours and stick to them. Whether you choose to work from 9 to 5 or from 12 to 8 pm, it’s important to call it quits and switch off for the rest of the day. This is also essential when it comes to your mental health and honouring your partner and family time.
Go For A Walk
When work and home co-exist in the same space, stepping outside is a great way to unplug and recharge. Find a balance that works for you. Dedicate a few minutes each day to step outside and enjoy nature. This always helps me when I’m struggling with a particular task, and I need to clear my head. It also helps to get your body moving and gives you more energy!
One of the best things you can do to improve your productivity is to find what works for you. Not everything I’ve listed above will work for you, but it may give you some idea on how you can improve your productivity when working from home.