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How to Stay Productive While Working from Home

by Holly Kemp

It’s fairly safe to say that 2020 is not going to go the way we intended. Now that we’re into the second half of the year, we still face a lot of uncertainty. Our routines continue to shift as we try to take as much advantage of the summer as possible. Many of us are still struggling with the effects of the economic shutdown. And several others continue to work from home as we adapt to the new normal.

However even in a remote work environment, we face distractions from others in the household, our pets, our kids, our significant others, roommates, and just the day to day needs that crop up around our home. Balancing all these plus work proves to be extremely difficult. 

Read on for six ideas on how to best stay productive while working from home and managing all you need to do.

 

Have A Designated Workspace

Just like you have a desk, cubicle, or office at work, you should have a designated place at home where you go each day to get your work done. That should be your home base, your central location, your 0,0 on a graph. Working in the same location every day sets your brain to know when it’s time to work. Working in different locations can be distracting and hard for your brain to focus on the task at hand. When you’re in your designated workspace your brain knows that it’s work time and will help you better focus on your to-do list.

 

Put Away Clutter

Don’t let your surroundings remind you of household chores and other items on your to-do list. This goes hand in hand with having a designated workspace. Make sure that place is clean and organized. If you have clutter from the house and other tasks you do outside of work, that only harms your mentality. It’s important to stay organized in order to keep your focus on work. All these items that clutter up your workspace can take your focus elsewhere. Of course you can have things that actually help your work, or pictures that bring back fun memories and make you happy. That can only improve your mood and productivity levels. But avoid the overstimulation. 

 

Keep a Schedule

Working from home goes the smoothest with set routines. Including the workspace, and the time you spend working. This also helps your mentality that from 9-5, it’s work time. Of course you’ll have distractions and time away from your desk both at home and in the office. But having a set schedule can help you get more done during the day, and then log off at the end of it.

I realize this may be more difficult for some, especially if you have young kids in the family. You may need to take some time to put the baby down for a nap or go run an errand in the afternoon. But where possible, having those set hours can help make a big difference to your mental well-being while working from home. But if you do have these outside needs, that’s ok! Make sure your employer is aware and provides some flexibility.

On the other hand, if you’re an employer with workers who have children at home, recognize some flexibility might be in order. You’ll get more output from your employees if you’re flexible and understanding of their needs. 

 

Get Outside for a Time

Perks of being at home is a little more flexibility in your environment. The problem with most office buildings, there’s not much green space. There’s not a chance to get out and enjoy the outside. Many studies have shown the benefits of getting outside for just a few minutes each day to improve your mood and mental well-being. When working from home, take full advantage of that and try to get outside for a few minutes each day. Of course this depends on your location and the time of year. But it can be amazingly therapeutic to take a quick break in the middle of your day.

 

Stay in Touch

No matter how much of an introvert you are, some human interaction is helpful during your workday. Even if you’re isolated from your coworkers and teammates you used to spend each day with, keep in contact! Many teams have created virtual water cooler times allowing them to just socialize as coworkers and friends again. Not everyone likes webcam meetings, but if people are comfortable, hold meetings on camera! It can do wonders for productivity to actually see the people you’re taking with instead of just hearing their voices. Connect with those in your home. Connect with your coworkers. Connect with your neighbors. Staying connected can improve your productivity. 

 

Actually Log off at the End of the Day

At the end of the day, just log off. Don’t come back later and check your email or replying to questions and texts. It’s important to set boundaries in your work environment, especially when working from home. Most employers don’t expect you to come back to the office to do something at 10pm at night. Just because you have the ability to log in at that point doesn’t mean you should. Set those boundaries with your family, with your employer, with your coworkers, and with those you come in contact with to have the most productive day both during working hours and outside of them.

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