It can be difficult to be productive while working from home, but it is possible with a little trial and error. Here’s how I get it done.
Comparing the job I had out of college to the job(s) I have now is like comparing night and day. The first was a field sales job; I would travel from store to store everyday, had to be at work by 6am on most days, and was doing physical labor. Now, I work out of my house, glued to my laptop (with the occasional fitness class).
Needless to say, this was quite the transition.
I struggled with it at first. Just like when I was in college and had to force myself to go to the library because my bed was just a little too tempting while I was trying to study.
But over the last year, I’ve learned what works for me when it comes to being productive while being a remote employee. It’s taken a bit to form a routine for myself, but I thought I would share the different parts of my routine that keep me on track.
Okay, this sounds weird. But you’d be surprised what getting dressed does. Not getting dressed as in changing from pajamas to sweatpants. Getting dressed as in changing into clothes that you would wear out. Maybe putting a little makeup on. Some of you may be thinking “if I worked at home I wouldn’t wear pants all day and my hair would be in a bun”. Yes, I do have those days. And when I let that happen, I end up feeling way more blah than on days that I get dressed. I swear it’s got to be scientifically proven to make you feel more motivated and prepared. It gets you into more of a routine.
Start your day earlier.
Letting yourself sleep in is not a good idea. It’s much more difficult to start your day and your mind right if you’re sleeping in and lackadaisically getting into your work groove. Besides the fact that, even though your company might have you as a remote employee, chances are the rest of the company operates on a normal 9-5 schedule. It’s much easier and more efficient to get yourself on a sleep schedule, waking up at the same time everyday and establishing a routine.
Break your day into designated sections.
Are you better at writing in the morning? Best at answering e-mails in the afternoon? Good with numbers in the late afternoon? Breaking your day into designated sections, according to your strengths, will allow you to maintain focus and give your attention to one area at a time.
Use random household tasks as mini-deadlines.
I’ve found that giving myself a fictitious deadline helps me focus and get my work done, in an attempt to adhere to my own deadline. At home, I like to set little deadlines for myself based on household tasks. Sometimes I’ll put my laundry in the washer and try and get something done while my clothes are washing. Put the dishes in the dishwasher and focus on one project until they are finished. This way, not only are you getting household tasks done, you are putting a bit of pressure on yourself to be focused and accomplish objectives.
Take a break.
Working from home can really blur the lines of work…and…home. It’s easy to keep working while watching tv, eating breakfast, walking the dog, etc. But it’s important to take sharp breaks from work during the day. Take 45 minutes to eat lunch and clear your mind. You’ll come back to your work more productive and ready to finish off strong.
Figure out a start and end time.
I like to follow a schedule just like I would if I worked in an office. I don’t always stick to it, but for the most part, I’ve got a routine. Whatever works for your productivity, stick to it. Whether it’s 8-5, 7-4, or 9-6. Just make sure it’s consistent.
Get out of the house.
This seems a little counter-intuitive, but sometimes it helps productivity to get out for a bit. Go work at a coffee shop and set a deadline for yourself to get x done before you leave the shop. If you’ve got a big project deadline, get out of the house and get it done before you head back home. This also allows you to interact with human life.
Join the conversation:
What are some rituals you have for being productive at home?
Do you have a favorite coffee shop you go to to get ish done?